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...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Inside the heads of Generation X
. . . .

Inside the heads of Generation X

Kelsey Lauer - August 10th, 2009
Inside the Heads of Generation X

By Kelsey Lauer 8/10/09

backpocket e-pistles
By Mike Darigan
Skellum Imaginations, Inc.
264 pages — $11

“It’s about getting off the track and onto something different, maybe not a road,” writes Josh Meritz, one of four young men in backpocket e-pistles.
And that is exactly what the four close friends — Mike Darigan, Josh Meritz, Cleveland Winfield and Perry Panzarella—proceed to do over the course of a year as they study at four different universities—step off the beaten path and onto one of their own making to escape the pressures of modern society and learn who they truly are.
Through a series of unedited e-mails, backpocket e-pistles tells the story of their adventures and misadventures with learning, love and life in general.
“It’s kind of a collection of useful dreaming and a desire to be an individual and to live life to the fullest, to look at life with a sense of humor and adherence to being creative,” says author Mike Darigan. “Carpe diem would be a two-word summation of the general theme of the book.”
Darigan currently lives in Suttons Bay, where he is working on a book tentatively called La Femme and is starting an organic farm in Northport.

At Emerson College, Mike Darigan is in the final year of a winding, six-year-long college career that began in 1990. Recently returned from studying abroad for a year as an associate student at Oxford University, Darigan discovers the joy of e-mail in 1995 and begins to correspond with three friends, one of whom he met while in England, one of whom he grew up with and another in his first year of university.
Also recently returned from Oxford University, Josh Meritz details his experiences of trying to fit back into a typical American university after his year abroad, which has transformed his expectations of life and given him the ability to question the norm.
Cleveland Winfield, who has known Darigan since the age of six, is a senior political student at the University of Rhode Island and brings a good deal of life experience to the table, thanks to having studied in Wisconsin, served in the army as a tank driver and spent two years in Nevada “slanging dope and getting married.”
Reading for a master’s degree at Whitefriars College, Oxford University, Peregrine “Perry” Panzarella has recently graduated from Providence College, where he and Darigan lived three doors down from each other; Darigan credits Panzarella with his introduction to writing.

In places, backpocket e-pistles fits neatly into the coming-of-age genre personified so well by authors such as Jack Kerouac in On the Road. The concept of coming-of-age spans every generation, for no one really knows who they are until they have lived long enough to make mistakes and fall off—even briefly—the path that they planned to be traveling.
Like some of Kerouac’s works, backpocket e-pistles offers an unedited thought-stream that allows for a deeply personal glimpse inside a character’s life. But it differs from Kerouac’s works in that it details the lives of several students in the first generation to reach adulthood just as technology, such as the Internet, became more prevalent.
E-mail allowed each person writing to attain a spontaneity and realness that can be hard to find in a traditionally-written literary work, even one that is autobiographical; informal writing with at-times entirely lowercase letters means that the language is occasionally hard to follow, but adds to the entirely-true authenticity of each man’s correspondence.
Nearly every page inspires laughter due to one outlandish experience or another or, alternatively, delves deep into a thought-provoking examination of one of life’s many aspects, which Darigan says is exactly what he intended.
“It’s an entertaining book about some funny stories and outlandish acts in terms of the partying,” he says. “It’s a blend of humorous anecdotes mixed with thought-provoking passages. You’re either going to laugh or think about your life a little bit.”

At a time in life when college students or any other 15 to 25-year-old is struggling to discover who they are and where they are meant to fit in the world, backpocket e-pistles serves as a useful map through some of the rougher patches of life.
It’s no self-help book—and wasn’t meant to be, according to Darigan—but the amusing anecdotes can put a smile onto even the most serious face and teach you a little about life in the process, the main lesson being “...for people to have confidence to adhere to the prompting of their own hearts within the matrix that we all live in that is constantly and subtly exacting pressure to conform,” Darigan says.

Backpocket e-pistles is available locally at Horizon Books and Borders in Traverse City and at Brilliant Books in Suttons Bay and online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5