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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Monday, June 21, 2010

Naked in the stream

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli The wilds of Isle Royale come to life in Naked in the Stream
Naked in the Stream: Isle Royale Stories
By Vic Foerster
Arbutus Press
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
If you liked Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods,” you’re going to love “Naked in the Stream: Isle Royale Stories” by Vic Foerster.
Forester’s tales of almost 30 years camping and canoeing and hiking on Isle Royale and surrounding islands is not only a captivating read, but instructive, throat-catching, and deeply knowing, the way good outdoor books should be.
In beautifully clear prose, he writes about the vagaries of weather so far north, as well as about people he’s met along the way. There are stories of encounters with animals and stories about himself—what he’s learned and how Isle Royale has made him the man he’s become.
Monday, June 14, 2010

Beach reads

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli What to Read? Summer’s Best Beach Books
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Yes, another list of books to read while on vacation, sitting on a
quiet beach, in a summer house, in a garden—any place you dream of
being and don’t often get to.
Monday, June 14, 2010

An Ernest Endeavor

Books Glen D. Young An Ernest Endeavor: Picturing Young Hemingway in Northern Michigan
Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan
Wayne State University Press
216 pages, 269 illustrations
By Glen Young
It would be easy to believe that there’s nothing new to say about
Ernest Hemingway. Writers as well as relatives have detailed the
history of Michigan’s most iconic writer in every manner of
Monday, June 14, 2010

An Ernest Endeavor

Books Glen D. Young An Ernest Endeavor: Picturing Young Hemingway in Northern Michigan
Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan
Wayne State University Press
216 pages, 269 illustrations
By Glen Young
It would be easy to believe that there’s nothing new to say about
Ernest Hemingway. Writers as well as relatives have detailed the
history of Michigan’s most iconic writer in every manner of
Monday, May 31, 2010

Soul Searching

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli 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.”
Monday, May 24, 2010

Strange Days

Books Erin Crowell Strange Days: A Dead Sleeping Shaman meets her own end of the world
“Dead Sleeping Shaman”
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Midnight Ink $14.95
By Erin Crowell
There’s something eerie going on in Northern Michigan, people are coming up dead and they’re doing it in strange places – at least is the case in the Emily Kincaid murder/mystery book series.
In “Dead Sleeping Shaman”—the follow-up to “Dead Dancing Women” and “Dead Floating Lovers”—local author (and Northern Express book reviewer) Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli returns readers to the world of writer Emily Kincaid, who is busy working on a Northern Michigan ghost town story when she happens to stumble across an old woman lying motionless against a tree near a remote walking trail.
Monday, May 3, 2010

The Books for Walls Project

Books Erin Crowell The Books for Walls Project
By Erin Crowell
This story is about fathers and daughters, mothers and husbands. It’s about the sharing of ideas – a story about stories, inspired by a poem.
The Books for Walls Project is a virtual dinner table, surrounded by conversation. The topic is primordial, the medium – modern.
Enter www.BooksForWallsProject.org and discuss your favorite book, your newest book and books you have yet to read. Listen. Others are reading too.
Books for Walls was a family project, set in motion by a mother who wanted to share her family’s conversation about books, hoping to inspire others to join in the discussion – an open seat, if you will, around the dinner table.
Monday, May 3, 2010

A traveler finds meaning in unexpected places

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli A traveler finds meaning in unexpected places: An American Map:
Essays by Anne-Marie Oomen
Wayne State University Press, $18.95
Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
“Why do you think we have so many good writers here in the North?” a doctor recently asked me.
Maybe he didn’t add the ‘good.’ That might be my own addition because that’s how I feel, and that’s what makes me proud of where I live: these good writers who circle us with golden words and take our lives deeper, make them brighter.
“An American Map: Essays by Anne-Marie Oomen,” is a fine book by a northern writer cutting a sometimes microscopic and sometimes a deep and wide swath into our hearts and minds.
Oomen, a writing instructor at Interlochen Arts Academy, uses moments from her life to facet experience, finding small and large truths in unusual places. Moving from Empire, Michigan, across the United States, to Puerto Rico, and back to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Oomen unrolls a different kind of landscape, a deeper travelogue, pulling unexpected meaning from unexpected places.
“Stone Wounds” honors the sacred. In Mount Cardigan, New Hampshire, Oomen is mountain climbing when she comes to rest against a slab of granite running with veins of quartz. “ …long lines crossing and crisscrossing this rock like a child’s script, teasing some words or a story just to the edge of recognition—a mystery, almost a meaning. I hear in the abrupt wind some question I do not understand. Then I remember,” she writes.
Monday, April 26, 2010

Northern Muse

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Northern Muse ; Petoskey’s literary scene
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Ernest Hemingway came to Walloon Lake from Chicago and fell under the
spell of the North Country. He married his first wife, Hadley, in a
tiny northern church. His Nick Adams short stories became
classics—explorations of fishing and hunting and discovery in the
Upper Peninsula. Hemingway’s novella, “The Torrents of Spring” began
at the railroad station in Mancelona, his two men dead drunk and not
sure where they were. Except they were in Northern Michigan, which
seemed to be enough.
Monday, April 12, 2010

Essayist sets life‘s questions to music

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Essayist sets life’s questions to music
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Essays on Memory and Identity
By Fleda Brown
University of Nebraska Press

If the unexamined life, as Socrates said, isn’t worth living, then Fleda Brown’s is truly a valuable life. Her new book: Driving with Dvorak: Essays on Memory and Identity, could have been a memoir, except that it isn’t—exactly.
What it is are snapshots -- or maybe better -- X-rays from an ordinary life: father, mother, two sisters, three husbands, children, a retarded brother who dies young, a decaying summer cottage on Michigan’s Central Lake, other American places: east, west, Midwest. Scenes from a woman’s life, a poet’s life, that dive beneath the surface to return with reasons, discoveries, new understanding, new pain, new acceptance -- all the bits of life that make us human beings.
First there is the father, a prominent person in the book and in Brown’s life. In the title essay, he is old, he is angry, and she goads him as she did as a teen. Her sin? She used too much dish soap while washing dishes. She is 44, a grown woman, and doesn’t think she has to tolerate his fits of anger, his penuriousness, his inability to act in his own best interest, and even his self-loathing. She talks back only to have him yell, “By God, I’ll hit you.” Maybe this is where the book begins, with a need to know this man, this husband, this father. Then maybe to learn something valuable about herself.
What she can share with her father is music. Therefore Dvorak, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky. Not in an intellectual joust but in the silent ways music connects person to person, down in what Brown calls an ‘’inarticulate core.”
Monday, April 12, 2010

An evening with Mary Karr

Books Anne Stanton An Evening with Mary Karr? Author of The Liar’s Club talks about life,drinking, poetry, recovery and God
By Anne Stanton
I have a ritual when trying to find a book of cracking it open and
reading a random paragraph. If I find the writing amazing in at least
one of my openings, I check it out of the library. If the writing
soars on every random page, I buy it.
Monday, March 15, 2010

Michael Delp seeks answers though short stories

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Michael Delp Seeks Answers Through Short Stories
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
As If We Were Prey
By Michael Delp
Wayne State University Press
The magic thing about writers is that we get to watch the way they think. They leave a trail of pebbles behind them, a body of work that, with good writers, expands, then flattens into a wide vista of explored ideas.
Michael Delp, teacher of creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy and writer of many books of poetry and fiction, including: Over the Graves of Horses, Under the Influence of Water and more, is one of these good writers. With, As if We Were Prey, his new book of Michigan-based short stories from Wayne State University Press, he takes old and new themes and drives them and us to new places.
Monday, March 8, 2010

Getting to know da U.P.

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Getting to Know Da U.P. :Odd facts abound in new Almanac
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac
By Ron Jolly and Karl Bohnak
University of Michigan Press.
600 pages - $27.95

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of those empty places you go because you want to be alone. Or you want to hunt. Maybe you want to cross-country ski. There are lots of reasons to visit. For me it is waterfalls—making a list then finding every one of them. And it’s small lakes so blue-green and clear you think the lake must be shallow, but it isn’t. And it’s miles of Lake Superior shoreline, driving along and wondering about the gales of November and the men out on the freighters and if they are always watching the sky for storms. So many miles of forest and swamp with tiny villages and small towns, all far apart.
Monday, March 1, 2010

A Mennnonite memeoir

Books Erin Crowell A Mennonite Memoir
By Erin Crowell
On the heels of its first comedy festival, Northern Michigan will get
another dose of humor when the National Writers Series presents “An
Evening with Rhoda Janzen,” on March 5, at the City Opera House, in
downtown Traverse City.
Monday, February 8, 2010

Meet Amy Alkon‘s Better Half

Books Anne Stanton Meet Amy Alkon’s Better Half
By Anne Stanton
Thanks to Gregg Sutter, the Advice Goddess is coming to town on
February 11 to dish out her saucy advice on love at the City Opera
House, and to talk about her new book, I See Rude People.
Sutter is the researcher for Elmore Leonard, the reigning king of
crime writers.