Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Love Blooms Anew/Liesel Lizenburger

Glen Young - May 10th, 2007
Writer Liesel Litzenburger is enjoying a success little witnessed in her business.
Litzenburger, a newly-40 blonde who grew up in Harbor Springs and now calls the Grand Rapids area home, can credit some of her good fortune to nine-year-old Annie Child.
Annie, the diminutive heroine of Litzenburger’s new collection of linked stories Now You Love Me, has been rediscovered. First published in 2001 by Carnegie Mellon University Press, Now You Love Me has become not only Litzenburger’s first book but also her second, thanks to its recent re-publication by new publisher Shaye Areheart.
And while the unusual nature of the twice-issued book’s past sets it apart, what distinguishes the stories is Litzenburger’s convincing prose.
Set in fictional Point Harbor, a rough approximation of Harbor Springs, Now You Love Me begins soon after Annie’s father abandons his family. Annie and younger brother Gus cling to the notion that their father “was on a trip and that he would be gone for a while.” Annie, who navigates the space between her mother, Paige’s detachment and her brother’s naivety, decides to go “on pretending to believe about the trip because it was easier.”

Annie’s combination of childish optimism and burgeoning awareness is a credit to Litzenburger’s lucid understanding of what often keeps families together; more hope than hard work, more fantasy than fact, as well as how children perceive the world in fits and starts.
Litzenburger believes that “Annie is learning about how the adult works, and how love can be fleeting or conditional, but how there’s always some constant in it.”
In between the dual publications of Now You Love Me, Litzenburger scored another prize with the summer 2006 publication of The Widower. Also set in the fictional precincts of Northern Michigan, The Widower tells the braided tale of hard working characters damaged by a collision of events beyond their control. Among her credible creations is an orchard owner broken by a tragic car accident and a hurting ex-convict struggling to reconstruct his family.
Litzenburger says it is a constant balancing act to produce such convincing fiction. “On one hand you want to appeal to your readers, whoever they are,” she acknowledges. “But on the other hand, you have to block that out,” she says of the need she feels to keep writing what works for her. “Some people will like what you write, some people will dislike what you write, and some will fall in between.” In the end, she believes the most important lesson is not to “second guess yourself.”
Litzenburger, who likes to write in the mornings when she believes her “defenses might be down a bit,” admits the success of both books, including the Pushcart Prize she earned when Now You Love Me was first published, provides her satisfaction, though it has not allowed her to let down her guard. “It gives you confidence, publishing a book,” she says. “But there are also more things to worry about,” she continues. “When you have an imaginary audience its one thing, but when people are reading your work it’s something else,” she says of the need to reconcile both what she wants and what her readers are coming to expect.

Having spent much of her youth in Harbor Springs, Litzenburger suggest the setting of Now You Love Me is purposeful and reflects the memories of her youth. “I don’t set out to write about a certain place, but it’s so much a part of who I am, and who my characters are,” she says.
Though the setting might spring from the author’s background, she says the storyline is strictly fiction. “Nothing in any of my novels literally happened.” Nonetheless, she hopes “emotionally you can identify with the characters.
Eventually Annie Child understands her father is not coming home. She instead turns to hopes for her mother and Shepherd Nash, the piano playing electrician intent on romancing Paige Child.
And though Paige isn’t sure she can let herself be swayed, Annie is completely ready. Dancing with Shepherd on a frosty night, Annie thinks of “something perfect…the way a piece of a dream comes flying back like a bird.” She has lost her father, but she is rediscovering the necessity of family.
That a precocious nine-year-old can recognize the power of rediscovery is reason enough to discover the prose of
Liesel Litzenburger.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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