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Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is a writer who lives and works in Traverse City, Michigan. She was a columnist for the Traverse City Record-Eagle for 30 years and published two collections.

Since 2005, she has contributed weekly essays to Interlochen Public Radio. An illustrated collection of her essays was published in 2017, “Gradual Clearing: Weather Reports from the Heart.”

Karen has a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan and is retired from Northwestern Michigan College where she was director of marketing and public relations. She enjoys camping, canoeing, reading, writing, listening, learning.

  • When I was 15 years old, I went to visit my cousin who lived about 200 miles away. She was older than I and going steady with someone named Steve. I yearned to go steady but hadn’t found anyone to share my yearning.
  • Years ago, a friend asked me, “What did you wish you had for the journey that you didn’t have?” She meant the journey of life and it’s hard to know what you’ll need when you start out.
  • Many years ago, my first husband and I had just moved into a house in the woods. It was early May and we stood on the deck, admiring the tiny new leaves on all the trees—like a pale green cloud hanging in the branches.
  • “That sheet makes you feel safe, doesn’t it?” I said.“It protects me from dragons under the bed,” she said, laughing. We both laughed, remembering when we used to check for dragons every night.“Have you checked?” I asked. “Maybe they’re gone for good now.”
  • We look for a bunch of cars out front but discover that the regulars are parked in back. The bartender looks about fifteen but knows her way around the drinks and the drinkers.
  • Our Russian literature professor told us on the first day of class to start War and Peace. Despite the good advice, I didn't even open the 1,400 page book until the last week of the semester.
  • I live in an old house, and there are some nice things about old houses. Nooks and crannies, history and character. There are also other things, many of which appear on a list called “Improvements.”
  • Three china ducks sit on my desk. They’re supposed to be mallards but the markings aren’t very accurate. And besides, they’re chipped and worn. You might wonder why I keep them and I wonder that myself.
  • Before dawn on election day last November, my husband opened the door to get the paper and our cat ran outside. Now, Rosie is mostly an indoor cat and only goes out on a leash. Suddenly she was totally free and we were terrified.
  • A young friend told me recently that she was questioning her faith and it made her very uncomfortable. “It’s good to examine what you believe,” I said, “whether it’s your faith or anything else.”