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Classic Seuss book inspires writer who attends Kirkwood

By Talee Mabe
On April 27, 2012

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Dimitri Makedonsky, a glassblowing student at Kirkwood Community College, said he is not a total cynic. However, his farcical crack at Dr. Seuss optimism in his recent book, "Oh, The Places You Will See," might lead people to believe otherwise.

His sardonic jab at liberal arts graduates was published this year through "Oh, The Places You Will See" is illustrated in much the same whimsical manner as the Seuss book and the tone of the poetry retains some of that glee. However, the book is still "jaded and bitterly yours," according to a letter to the readers in the opening pages.

Makedonsky also has published poetry and participated in community theater, as both an actor and, more recently, a playwright. He is co-author of the play, "The Ten Rules of Internet Dating," which has been performed in California, Missouri and New York. It recently had a run in Fort Madison, where it was put on by the Old Fort Players Company.

Makedonsky came upon the idea for his book when he hit a creative roadblock writing "something much more serious." At the time, his oldest child was preparing to graduate from high school.  Makedonsky said he was walking around his house "looking for inspiration" when he picked up a copy of the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, The Places You'll Go," a seminal graduation gift.

Makedonsky spoke of Dr. Seuss with respect and said he regarded his work as genius." However, at that time he took "a more cynical view." "I thought that this was a real Pollyanna kind of version of life," said Makedonsky, "and that it doesn't truly go that way."

He said he also was going through a career transition. These factors collectively yielded the germ of an idea that brought about "Oh, The Places You'll See," he said.

Makedonsky recalled sitting down and "hammering out this kind of sing-songy prose"; he said he found the project comparatively "easy and fun."

Makedonsky did not yet expect that his cathartic, wry take on Dr. Seuss would take shape in the form of an illustrated book. He was able to contact and select an illustrator through, a website that enables connections between artists and those who need their services.

His connection with Italian illustrator Francesca Da Sacco was aided in part by his fiancée Colleen, who has extensively studied Italian feminist literature.

Makedonsky said he believes that venturing out to experience other cultures is vital to students, despite the beating that he gives to the "newly minted" liberal arts graduate optimism in his satirical book. He said he believes travel and service are invaluable in helping to broaden one's world view.

In keeping with that philosophy, a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of "Oh, The Places You'll See" is being diverted to the Poweshiek Animal League Shelter in Grinnell, he said.

Makedonsky, a resident of Grinnell and an operator of a wine bar in Ladora, has seen firsthand the renown that Iowa's artistic community has received.

He fondly mentioned that Iowa has been host to and produced writers known the world over, from Mildred Wirt Benson to Kurt Vonnegut. Makedonsky can now count himself among Iowa's published authors.

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