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Essay: Creating Chaos

Apr 27, 2018

Years ago I worked with a woman I’ll call Janet.  She often arrived late, full of apologies and excuses.  Her car wouldn’t start, the dog got away, her kids missed the bus.

We all sympathized at first, but when the behavior persisted and the excuses came round again, we just looked away.

Still, I enjoyed Janet’s company and occasionally we got together outside of work—where it was the same story.  I’d be waiting at the restaurant for a half hour before she rushed in, breathless and explaining.  She ran into a friend, she had to answer a call.

On the next edition of Michigan Writers on the Air Aaron Stander interviews Daniel Wolff, author of Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913.  And, Anne-Marie Oomen about her most recent publishing project, The Lake Michigan Mermaid.  At the end, Fleda Brown provides an audio essay on Michigan poet Patricia Clark.

Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness Group

Update 4/30: An interview between IPR's David Cassleman and Morgan Springer has been added to this post.

A legal dispute about religious discrimination at a Michigan summer resort is moving forward. Bay View Association near Petoskey only allows practicing Christians to buy property there, which the Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness group – group that's suing – says is illegal.

 


The Pere Marquette Township Board voted to sell the Pere Marquette cross memorial to a local private group for $800.
Todd and Brad Reed Photography

A private group will buy a 40-foot cross memorial near Ludington for $800.

Last night, the Pere Marquette Township Board of Trustees voted to sell the one-acre property containing the cross to the Pere Marquette Memorial Association, which plans to maintain the cross.

The cross memorial was built in 1955. It honors Pere Marquette, a Jesuit missionary who came to Michigan in the 17th century.

The Starry Crown after the Snow

Apr 24, 2018

Next week we’ll be halfway through Spring, and in the sky you’ll notice that the constellations of the bull and the giant are setting, while the golden crown and the lyre are rising. And if you want to make your way through the lingering snow on the ground this late in April, then consider this tale from the Brother’s Grimm.

 

The tale is “Mother Holle” and it’s got the usual set up of stepmother-dislikes-beautiful-stepdaughter-and-prefers-her-own. 

Essay: Black Coffee

Apr 20, 2018

In my family, dinner ended with the children being excused to go play while the parents and grandparents stayed at the table to drink coffee and talk. At first, I was eager to leave but as I got older, I yearned to stay and listen.

When I was finally invited to join the adults (somewhere in adolescence) I discovered the price of admission. If I drank half my milk, I could fill the glass with coffee. What a privilege! And what an awful taste!

The April New Moon occurred Sunday, April 15, which means that night sky advocates around the world are celebrating International Dark Sky Week, with the intent to create greater awareness around light pollution and what it costs us in energy use, in habitat stewardship, and in our own health and well being.

 

Essay: Being Safe

Apr 13, 2018

In my mid-twenties, I moved to Chicago to live with some college friends.  Our apartment was on Dearborn Street, an interesting old neighborhood a few blocks north of the Rush Street jazz clubs.

I had never lived in a big city before and although it seemed full of glamor and possibility, it also seemed full of danger.  I was on constant high-alert, imagining a mugger down every alley.

National Writers Series: An evening with Anna Quindlen

Apr 11, 2018

Anna Quindlen is a New York Times columnist and a prolific author of novels and nonfiction books. Her book “One True Thing” was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. Quindlen’s latest novel is “Alternate Side,” about a New York City family whose idyllic life is shaken by a violent act on their quiet cul-de-sac. She talks this hour with Cynthia Canty, host of the Michigan Radio program Stateside. To begin, Cynthia asked what Anna wanted to be before she decided to become a writer.

I loved you, so I drew these tides of

Men into my hands

And wrote my will across the

Sky in stars…

 

Essay: Asymmetry

Apr 9, 2018

A big silver maple lives a couple blocks from me, taller than any house on the street. Staring up, I notice how crooked the tree is, how unbalanced where its branches have been chopped off. Year after year, the city crews have trimmed it to make room for power lines.

As the giant constellation Orion sets in this season, the Earth tips perpendicular to the galactic plane, which means that for awhile, the Milky Way disappears from view. Historically, then, this is the season when sacred pilgrimages begin.

 

Essay: Lenten Breakfast

Mar 30, 2018

I get up earlier than usual on a school morning and my father is already shaving in the bathroom.  “Well, well,” he says, “Looks like my date is ready.”

“Aw, Dad, I’m still in my pajamas!”  But my outfit is laid out on the bed—my red plaid dress and patent leather shoes.  Today is the Father-Daughter Lenten Breakfast at our church.

This week the Earth is restored to the center again, when the Sun sets on Saturday, March 31st and the Vernal Full Moon rises about 20 minutes later.

 

The center is usually described as a point in space, and in terms of our planetary system, we regard the Sun as standing at the center.

 

Essay: Anticipation

Mar 23, 2018

I grew up with a father who had some kind of proverb or platitude for every occasion.  One of his favorites was, “Anticipation is always greater than realization.”  Since I was just a kid, I assumed he was right.

He was warning me to not get my hopes up, to be prepared for disappointment.  Maybe he thought this would protect me from getting hurt.  But it’s a rather bleak invitation to the future.

Isn’t being young all about dreaming big and aiming high?  When I told a friend about my father’s advice, she said, ‘You might as well kill yourself.”

Aaron Selbig

The leader of Michigan’s only International Dark Sky Park has resigned. Mary Stewart Adams served as program director at the Emmet County-owned park for nine years.

Adams says a “difference in philosophy” with county leaders led to her resignation Monday.

“It’s unfortunate that it had to come to this,” says Adams. “My understanding was that we would stay in conversation with one another, and that while I needed to hear from them what I could be doing better, they also needed to hear that from me. But it felt very much like a one-sided conversation.”

The moment of seasonal balance is upon us when the Sun reaches its Equinox moment at 12:15 pm on Tuesday, March 20th.  And this begs a question: Does observing Equinox bring balance into our ay of being? And if it does, can we identify what needs to take place to bring balance into our lives and into the world?

 

Essay: Solutions

Mar 16, 2018

I stood in the doorway of Art’s office, asking for help.  Art Maha was my boss—a corporate sales star who’d been promoted to advertising manager for the whole company.  It was a big manufacturing company—and he wanted to make us look as good as we were.          

I was in my mid-twenties with a master’s degree in English and no advertising experience.  But Art had hired me as a writer—to help his engineers describe our products in ordinary language.  Which meant I had to learn about those products—high-precision components of materials handling equipment.

Essay: Spider Rescue

Mar 12, 2018

It’s early winter and spiders are making nests in the corners of my ceilings.  They hide themselves so well, they’re hard to spot—but when I do, I’m not happy.

Now I know that all life is sacred, including spider life.  And while I respect their right to be, I prefer them to be outdoors.  So I fetch the step-stool and reach up to capture them in a kleenex,  and gently release them onto the back porch.  My husband scoffs at this ritual.

“They’ll die anyway,” he says.

“But I’m giving them a chance,” I say.

MSA

Venus has recently returned to the evening sky, and this week on Friday, the goddess of love and beauty moves across the celestial equator and is restored to the northern celestial hemisphere, just in time for all the spring festivals of renewal.

 

 

 


Essay: Recipes

Mar 2, 2018

I pull out a file folder called “Recipes” and paw through the wrinkled, stained papers to find Sharon’s “White Bean & Barley Soup.”  She has translated the quantities for a crock pot and I follow her pencil marks sideways up the page.

Later, when the soup is bubbling in the pot, I reflect that it is seasoned not only with oregano and thyme but our long friendship.  Sharon and I have been trading recipes since our daughters were toddlers, crawling around at our feet.  Today we are both grandmothers, still sharing menus and cups of tea.

The forecast for high winds this week means that when March begins on Thursday, it may stay true to its reputation and come in like a lion, and go out like a lamb. But in case you think that reference is to the windy weather that marks the beginning of this month, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually a reference to the stars.

 

Essay: Rain Changing to Snow

Feb 23, 2018

Rain changing to snow in the forecast. Two doors down, a young man hauls a roll of carpet out of the house. Virginia’s house, I think, but not anymore. She died last summer at age 88 and a young couple has bought it. Their first house.

A slim woman staggers out onto the porch under another roll of carpet and hands it up to the young man who has backed a pick-up truck into the yard. He covers the carpet with a blue tarp and pulls up the hood of his jacket.

American cross-country skier Jessie Diggins (left) won Team USA's first-ever Olympic gold medal in South Korea on Wednesday.
Noah Hoffman

For the first time ever, the United States cross-country ski team has won an Olympic gold medal. 

Eli Brown, a ski technician from Traverse City, did his part to help make it happen.


National Writers Series: An evening with Peter Heller

Feb 22, 2018

Author Peter Heller has had a lot of real-life adventures, but he says the biggest adventure of all came when he started imagining Hig, the protagonist of his first novel. “The Dog Stars” is about a man who survives a flu pandemic that killed most of humanity. Before “The Dog Stars,” Heller wrote non-fiction books that document adventurous expeditions. He’s been a long-time contributor to Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. Heller’s latest novel is called “Celine.” Heller talks this hour with Ron Jolly, author and radio host for WTCM NewsTalk 580.

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