Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa

i’m a lucky woman to find a first edition of WP Kinsella’s collection SHOELESS JOE JACKSON COMES TO IOWA in the bin at Fair’s Fair Books, a lucky woman.

here’s an excerpt:

My father said he saw him years later playing in a tenth-rate commercial league in a textile town in Carolina, wearing shoes and an assumed name.

“He’d put on 50 pounds and the spring was gone from his step in the outfield, but he could still hit.  Oh, how that man could hit.  No-one has been able to hit like Shoeless Joe.”

Two years ago at dusk on a spring evening, when the sky was a robin’s-egg blue and the wind as soft as a day-old chick, as I was sitting on the verandah of my farm home in eastern Iowa, a voice very clearly said to me, “If you build it, he will come.”

The voice was that of a ballpark announcer.  As he spoke, I instantly envisioned the finished product I knew I was being asked to conceive.  I could see the dark, squarish speakers, like ancient sailor’s hats, attached to aluminum-painted light standards that glowed down into a baseball field, my present position being directly behind home plate.

In reality, all that anyone else could see out there in front of me was a tattered lawn of mostly dandelions and quack grass that petered out at the edge of a cornfield perhaps 50 yards from the house.  (p. 38-39)

i think i’m building a novel.  maybe.  what are you building?