It turns out that the life of Alan MacLeese is even more compelling than his much-loved columns in The Flint Journal. Roger Van Noord, the former managing editor at the Journal, has captured MacLeese's peripatetic journey in a new book entitled Unleashed: A Storyteller's Odyssey:
An unforgettable storyteller, Al MacLeese delighted in recounting his escapades in the Navy and during journalism’s hard-drinking era, when bosses fired him with astonishing regularity. He counted 47 newsroom jobs in a 15-year stretch, drifting from Miami to San Francisco to Boston. In one forced migration after falling asleep drunk at a Golden Gate Bridge tollgate, he was jailed when he instigated confrontations on a bus and a fracas in the bus station. While being questioned by police, he blurted a confession to a triple ax murder. “Unleashed: A storyteller’s odyssey” tells the history of a man under the influence. MacLeese was awash in indiscretions until his fourth wife, Connie, stabilized his life. He became an award-winning columnist, merging funny with fearless, in writing about the good, the bad and the ugly of his life and the world around him. He introduced -- and jousted with -- a gadfly named Michael Moore, years before Moore reached stardom as a moviemaker. With Connie and his column, he experienced as many “driblets of happiness” as he felt he deserved before his career foundered after an editorial dust-up, nationally publicized by Moore. When his wife died, he found a new home and a new family of friends in Hallowell, Maine, while still captivating audiences with his stories, battling his demons and continuing to seek fulfillment, as a man and as a writer. In “Unleashed,” MacLeese’s distinctive writing voice tells much of his history through excerpts from his often earthy correspondence and his “MacLeese Unleashed” columns. An extension of a columnist’s career cut too short, his correspondence provides a window into his quirky persona and his life on the edge. In his emails from Hallowell, MacLeese combined the frankness of a letter to a friend with the quality of a column -- with his own flair, his self-deprecating humor and such delightful detail as his understated description of a meeting with the “Second Christ” and his frustration in waiting for a 106-year-old great aunt to die so he can collect an inheritance.Peter C. Cavanugh, Flint's own rock 'n roll impresario, gives the book his seal of approval: "“Unleashed” offers an extraordinary reading experience and abundant opportunity for comforting introspective reflection as one ponders the amazingly inspiring words of Alan MacLeese – gone from us now — but never to be forgotten."