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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Soul Searching

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - May 31st, 2010
Soul Searching: Three take top prize in Michigan Writers Chapbook Contest
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
As all writers eventually discover, writing is a lonely business. Not just the hours spent at a computer, but the aftermath — trying to sell the work that has kept the writer busy for months, or even years. As local writer John Mauk notes: “Authors can’t write and then fall into a hole… Authors have to carry their work into the world — even when it’s heavy.”
It’s because of this ‘carrying into the world’ that the Michigan Writers organization began a chapbook contest in 2005. Chapbooks tend to be small books issued by poets or essayists for an appreciative readership of like-minded souls.
The three winners of the 2010 Michigan Writers’ Chapbook contest are John Mauk, English rhetoric professor at NMC, for his short stories, “The Rest of Us”; Jennifer Sperry Steinorth for her poetry collection, “Forking the Swift”; and Sarah Baughman for her essays, “Growing in Seasons.”
What are their thoughts on the writing life?
“In a previous life, I was a dog,” Mauk says. “Whenever I like something, I want to howl back in kind. Years ago, after I finished my PhD in rhetoric, I decided that I was going to read fiction, get my head into something besides theory. Along the way I rediscovered the novel—what it does, how it pulls you forward and knocks you around. It’s taken me years of weird noises, awful guttural hacking, to make a sound worthy of the wind. In short, this is my first formal literary howl.”

Of being one of this year’s winners, essayist Sarah Baughman of Petoskey has this to say: “Writing is a fairly solitary act, but ultimately you hope that your words will ring true for others and in some way echo a common human experience.”
Baughman says her collection “tracks my pregnancy and my son’s birth within the framework of Northern Michigan’s four seasons. Working on this collection has reminded me of the surprises inherent in the writing process.”
Poet, Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy where she majored in dance, is a builder and designer for a small, green-building company in Traverse City. When asked why she writes, Jennifer says, “That’s a hard one to answer. We try and make sense. Sometimes the conversations we have are internal, but it’s easy to get lost in the mind. Wishing to put one’s work into the world publicly is like wishing to participate in a conversation that one has been listening to, rapt, knowing full well that one may sound very foolish.”
Of being chosen a winner in the Michigan Writers Chapbook contest, Steinorth adds, “We are rich to live in a place of such bounty: where exquisite food is produced both for body and the soul. I am humbled and grateful to those at Michigan Writers for providing this opportunity to add my fare to the cart, in hopes that someone may find some sustenance there.”
The three beautifully designed and published chapbooks are now out and available from Michigan Writers - www.michwriters.org - and in local bookstores.

Elizabeth Buzzelli’s new mystery, “Dead Sleeping Shaman” is now available at local bookstores.

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