Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Love - Toni Morrison Style
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Love - Toni Morrison Style

Nancy Sundstrom - November 13th, 2003
A new release by Toni Morrison is usually hailed as nothing less than an event, which is why this eighth release in her impressive oeuvre has been eagerly awaited.
Her latest, a slim volume entitled “Love,“ has big shoes to step into, given that it follows the likes of “Paradise,“ “Song of Solomon,“ “Beloved,“ “Jazz“ and “The Bluest Eye,“ to name a few from Pulitzer Prize-winner Morrison, a professor of humanities at Princeton University. Big shoes, indeed.
She‘s such a remarkable writer and a near force-of-nature in terms of the literary world that as I‘m writing this, this critic is wincing. I‘m doing so because it‘s my humble, but honest opinion (and that‘s why they pay me those big Express bucks) that while mediocre Morrison is usually superior to the best work by many others, it‘s something else when she falls somewhat short of her own glorious talents.
“Love“ is by no means Morrison‚s strongest effort to date, and readers have the right to expect it to be, since she‘s that rare sort of writer with the potential to continue to top themselves with each successive work. Still, it has considerable merit and the things that Morrison does well - and there are many of them - resonate with elegance and grace, as opposed to the power and fire she can conjure.
On the first page of the novel, we meet narrator Sandler Gibbons, who quietly sets the stage for bringing together a cast of characters who live in the once-popular, ocean-side resort community of Up Beach:

“The day she walked the streets of Silk, a chafing wind kept the temperature low and the sun was helpless to move outdoor thermometers more than a few degrees above freezing. Tiles of ice had formed at the shoreline and, inland, the thrown-together houses on Monarch Street whined like puppies. Ice slick gleamed, then disappeared in the early evening shadow, causing the sidewalks she marched along to undermine even an agile tread, let alone one with a faint limp. She should have bent her head and closed her eyes to slits in that weather, but being a stranger, she stared wide-eyed at each house, searching for the address that matched the one in the advertisement: One Monarch Street. Finally she turned into a driveway where Sandler Gibbons stood in his garage door ripping the seam from a sack of Ice-Off. He remembers the crack of her heels on concrete as she approached; the angle of her hip as she stood there, the melon sun behind her, the garage light in her face. He remembers the pleasure of her voice when she asked for directions to the house of women he has known all his life.
“You sure?“ he asked when she told him the address.
She took a square of paper from a jacket pocket, held it with ungloved fingers while she checked, then nodded.
Sandler Gibbons scanned her legs and reckoned her knees and thighs were stinging from the cold her tiny skirt exposed them to. Then he marveled at the height of her bootheels, the cut of her short leather jacket. At first he‘d thought she wore a hat, something big and fluffy to keep her ears and neck warm. Then he realized that it was hair-blown forward by the wind, distracting him from her face. She looked to him like a sweet child, fine-boned, gently raised but lost.
“Cosey women,“ he said. “That‘s their place you looking for. It ain‘t been number one for a long time now, but you can‘t tell them that. Can‘t tell them nothing. It 1410 or 1401, probably.“
Now it was her turn to question his certainty.
“I‘m telling you,“ he said, suddenly irritable-the wind, he thought, tearing his eyes. “Go on up thataway. You can‘t miss it ‘less you try to. Big as a church.“
She thanked him but did not turn around when he hollered at her back, “Or a jailhouse.““

The protagonist of “Love“ is Bill Cosey, the late, great owner of Cosey‘s Hotel and Resort, once “the best and best-known vacation spot for colored folk on the East Coast.“ As the novel begins, we learn that the resort has long been closed, but now houses two feuding women - his widow Heed and his granddaughter Christine. They are part of an extended group of women who are completely obsessed with Cosey, including May, Junior, Vida and L. Each one of them had a very special bond with Cosey, and he played an irreplaceable role in their lives, as well, as being a lover, parent, spouse, guardian, employer or friend.
While love is at the center of each relationship Cosey had with the women, there is a dark side to each of their tales, and certainly to Cosey himself. Secret forces are at work everywhere, spinning webs of deceit that serve to link everyone more tightly to each other, and creating layers of complication and suspicion. In this universe, love is an all-consuming appetite that keeps the past alive and the future at bay.
The conflict between Heed and Christine is pivotal to all the action. When Junior Viviane, fresh out of “Reform, then Prison,“ becomes Heed‘s companion and secretary, it serves as the catalyst for unresolved emotions and tensions from the past to collide with the delicate balance Heed and Christine are fighting to maintain in their snake-house existence. There aren‘t six degrees of separation here, but actually four, and Morrison casually, but deliberately goes about the business of uncovering the past in a series of lyrical flashbacks. Violence and brutality coexists with moments of great tenderness and passion, and through it all, the author‘s incredible manipulation of words and ideas serves to present a canvas against which the supporting characters come steadily into focus while leading man Cosey remains as elusive as a shadow.
One can ultimately argue that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, but the work is still distinctly Morrison‘s. If there‘s anyone shoes she‚s forced to fill it‘s her own, and the double-edged sword - the irony and the greatness here - is that they can‘t be occupied by anyone else.

 
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