About “Don’t Take Me The Long Way”

Preview Don’t Take Me The Long Way [PDF]

Marsbookcover2“A cab’s eye view of the city by the bay. Gritty stories couched in beautiful, and surprisingly heartfelt, language. Mars’ vignettes and anecdotes of life inside the nomadic, circumscribed culture of the cabbie offers up gems of street philosophy and brief encounters with the urban sublime.” —City Lights book store (“recommended read”)

“Turns faster than a rigged meter…” —Maxim

“Bling-bling lyricism and deep insight…The mutha fu$$#%$ dope shhh…” —XXL Magazine

“This author has an amazing knack for timing and language: his words crackle off the page like little fireworks of energy…” —Writer’s Digest

What are the readers saying?

I was in your cab last week, Common was playing and I told you that the first time I listened to him was when I was studying in St. Petersburg. And then you threw me a curve ball and said you really liked Brothers Karamazov, especially the translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky. I just assume no one reads great literature anymore. Some people will read the news, biographies maybe, but they usually don’t think fiction or poetry holds any value. It always makes me happy to find other people who also love and respect the written word.

I just finished reading your book. I finished it in one day because I couldn’t put it down, but that’s not to say it was an “easy-read.” Personally, I despise that term, and have never understood why people use it to positively describe what they’ve just read. Anyways, I know I’m just another reader to you, but I wanted to say how much I liked your composition. I could tell how you had consciously woven these stories together, and I thought it worked beautifully. It was as if the entire book had a structure that was mirrored within the individual stories, not sticking to the chronological order, or strict narrative structure, but instead leading the reader through the stories like they exist in your mind, a compilation of memories, triggering other stories, leaving some incomplete, others to be returned to later.

Perhaps this is strange for you, to hear reactions from readers. You know, I write too. It’s what makes me happiest. But I sometimes feel weird about other people reacting to my writing, or telling me what they take from it. My mother is a painter, she’s the same way, she absolutely hates when people analyze her abstract paintings for her. Usually because they don’t get it. Anyways, I’m usually reading books by people who have died long ago, and definitely don’t have an email address, so I thought I’d take advantage of this chance to write to you, as the author, and thank you for your work.

It really touched me. I feel like I connected to you very strongly as I read, although our lives are very different in some ways. It was honest, and wise, and beautifully crafted, and it was a gift to me as your reader. Most of all, it was inspiring to hear the story of a writer, and hold your work in my hands, and realize that it isn’t crazy to love something so much, that you’ll keep pursuing it for the rest of your life, because it is the only thing that makes you feel free.

I often think about the quote by Marianne Williamson, to let your own light shine, so that you give others permission to do the same. And I think about this when I look to my future, and think about who I want to be. And one thing I want to be sure of, is that I pursue the things I love without abandon, so that I can give permission to others to do the same. This is what you’ve done. By having the courage to identify as a writer, as a poet, as an artist, and put your work out there into the world, you’ve given me a little more permission for me to take my stories out of my journals, and put them into the world.

Thank you for this gift, I will do my best to pass it on to the next stranger I meet. —Margo


This is Gary. You drove me home in a cab from Trader Sam’s the other night. I am a bouncer, and I bought one of your books. Just wanted to say thanks. It’s a good read, and worth the $15 I spent on it. The stories are pretty amazing. I was an English major, as I told you, and have read quite a bit. You’re good. Keep going. It reeks of San Francisco, and your words are well chosen and move the stories along. I am only half way through it.

I am reading through the second half today. I got to the point where you’re HIV+, it kinda blew me away, but added tenderness to the character that had been a hard ass in so many moments. Hope you’re health is going well, you’re a great writer with unique stories, and I love the way you’ve woven the tales. Dropping little hints here and there is a postmodern tapestry, then the text being able to read on many levels, as short stories, philosophies, or as a biography as you read through the book as a whole, encompassing all the short stories. I think you’ve chosen the right format, or vehicle for your story. Vehicle being funny because it’s cab stories…ha ha…

Keep your spirit up, keep writing. We’re lucky to still have you on the planet.

I’ll write more when I finish. Maybe tomorrow. I have a police exam in the am. Departmental interview for the SFPD. I’ll try to be a good cop if I make it in. —Gary L. Boring


Very nice ebb and flow, good descriptions of “the life” and “the job”. —Charles…Da driver


Hey M.C. — a note from Down Under to tell you how much we liked your book. (We’re the couple you picked up for a 5 a.m. run to SFO who had sold our house in S.F. and moved to Australia for political reasons.) We’re so happy you “just happened to have one copy with you.” Best $15 we spent on that trip!

It’s a damn good tale, mate. Carol and I are both well-read, and can separate the bullshit from the beefsteak. We consider you USDA Prime. You’ve got the vibe of Hunter S. Thompson, and the spirit of Joseph Campbell. We both devoured the book, and passed it on to my 18-year-old daughter when we headed to Washington, D.C. for my dad’s military funeral in Arlington. She’s a tattooed punk-rocker university freshman with a head for politics, who does things like picking up “Clockwork Orange” and reading it for fun. Your stories about the grit of San Francisco, and your account of surviving some wicked knockbacks, are now part of the mosaic of her worldview too.

Good luck with your driving, rapping, writing and most importantly, your health. I worked as a nurse on 8-West at St. Mary’s (never met you, but I’m glad you got treated well there) so I can empathise with what you’re dealing with. Stay strong! However bad it gets. at least you’re living through it in a great place like San Fran. Carol and I hope to live long enough to boomerang back there eventually. After the revolution… —Rick Buck, St. Kilda, Victoria


Also about your book, you absolutely nailed SF in the 80s and you do love SF the way we all do…there’s no other “woman” like her. And also, your book is laugh out loud funny. —Nadine C


I just read your book and I want to tell you that I really fucking enjoyed it. I drive a cab in SF and some of the shit you wrote was so on target and funny you had me rolling. Real inspirational shit. Thanks a lot. —Clint


I picked up “Don’t Take Me the Long Way” at Green Apple Books in the city not too long ago and I thought it was great – honest, entertaining, and really well-structured. It was spicy bus reading on my way to and from work for about a week. I am writing to ask if you would be interested in/available to do a reading at my friends’ bookstore in Berkeley. The Book Zoo has been open for about a year-and-a-half. It’s a tiny place and Erik and Nick, the owners, don’t really make any money off of it, so we couldn’t pay you for the reading, but we’re more than happy to ply you with booze, if you so desire. Tuesdays are “social nights,” and a pretty neat group of people congregate there to hang out and listen to authors speak when we can get them. I think you might really mesh with us. Let me know what you think. We would love to have you if you would be so kind. —Molly


I just finished reading your book and man…it was a great fucking rollercoaster ride! It was too short…I know you have more stories to tell. Lately, I’ve been inspired by local San Francisco writers and San Francisco stories. We’re coming up on the 100th year anniversary of the 1906 Great Quake and Fire and I’ve just been soaking up books and films and related events. Yeah,I know your book has nothing to do with that topic but its an integral story connected to San Francisco.

I picked up your book at Green Apple on Clement along with books on the Barbary Coast and other SF history. “Don’t take me the long way” is now part of my permanent library. My son and daughter will appreciate it in their high school and hopefully their college literary endeavors.

I wanted to mention or least talk about that dude Cecilio and his meth problem. What a loser! But that loser’s got game! I chuckled when I read that story, not cause I can relate to a meth addiction…but in my younger days I chased after SOBs like him stealing mail to fund a habit. Alot of them have slowed down and have either gone straight or are six feet under. I work in law enforcement but I’m not with SFPD. I’m a fed and I’m also Filipino-American and like you a Son of San Francisco—

Anyways, I thought I’d write you and congratulate you for writing a wonderful book about our City. You’re one of my many inspirations to write a book about my agency, its history, and its connection to San Francisco. I am deeply saddened to read about your encounter with HIV but I’m most hopeful that you’ll overcome that challenge. Technology in the medical field is moving fast to find a cure and a vaccine. I have faith in the good will of people…

I also have a deep respect for Cab Drivers or in my description: Mobile Transporation Ambassadors.

Mr. Mars…may you Write and Rock on… —Patrick R


Read your book.— It was incredibly funny—and wise. Ordering some for my staff attorneys to read. —”Super Lawyer” Joe Cotchett