“a modern-day Spoon River Anthology...with a soul twist”


“a slice of American pie”

ISBN: 0-595-39157-5
HC ISBN: 0-595-83544-9
PDF EISBN: 0-595-83543-0

My Pryor Year

A 333 Soul Anthology

Like Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology, My Pryor Year draws it's substance from the names, personalities, activities, and events of the Central Illinois region now known as the Heart of Illinois. Phil Doubet traveled the area in 2005 and spoke with a variety of people- many that currently live in the area, some that have moved on, and some just passing through. In the year of Richard Pryor's death, he listened to what people had to say about their lives, current events, family, religion, and listened as they recalled stories from prior years. From Willie Smith, who grew up on a Mississippi plantation, to Willie York who lives in the streets of Peoria...from Joe Hott, a mortician that works both sides of the street, to Joe Slyman, a sandwich-maker that won't treat you like just another turkey sandwich.


Includes the spoken words of Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Reagan, Richard Pryor Jr, Drew Hastings, Heywood Banks, Andrew Young, Arlo Guthrie, Marilyn Chambers, Ellen Johnson, Ken Jennings, Edgar Winter...and many, many more.

“My mother was having a birthday party at the house. My sister and I decided to go to Rodeo Drive…to buy her something. I had picked out a...a tray that had a layout of Marilyn Monroe. I tried to convince my sister that…that is what we should get for Mom, for her birthday. My sister thought that maybe it wasn’t a good idea, so we got something else. But, that day, I was in charge of the door. So, while I was opening the door, and people were coming to the party, the doorbell rang. I opened up the door…and I was looking at Marilyn Monroe.”

-Michael Reagan


“The truth hurts. People don’t want to know it. Like, when televangelists are exposed. Does that hurt their following? No. People don’t want to know the truth. They want to believe this. A lot of people know these things are baloney…but they don’t care.”

-Ellen Johnson

“In my life, and in everyone’s life…you know, there are never any accidents…we are always led. Whether we pay attention to the signs that are in front of us…we are always led.

-Barbra Espey

"I told the altar gal that we would need more wine up there, to put a bottle under the altar…but she apparently never got the message. So, I had about seventy people for communion that Sunday. By the time it got to Martin and Mike in the back, they got only about three or four drops each. So, I got up to do the post-communion blessing, and Martin turns to Mike and says real loud, echoing throughout the church, “He really gypped us on wine today, didn’t he?”

-Lane Knouse


“But, my mom…you know, we had to be in the field choppin’ cotton at 6 o’clock…not on your way there…we had to be there choppin’ at 6 o’clock. That means that my ma had gotten up and fixed us breakfast, and no matter how far you was away from the field, which was sometimes a half a mile, or a mile, you had to be back after you get off of lunch at 11 o’clock.”

-Willie Smith


“I remember sitting down and interviewing Rosa Parks when I was in Detroit…ten or twelve years ago. She was as normal as normal could be…and humble as humble could be.”

-Don Gonyea