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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.

  • On an early spring morning, my husband and I are paddling the Manistee River. The water is high this time of year and the air cold, but the sun feels warm on my back.
  • A while ago, I met a young reporter at Interlochen Public Radio and we became friends. At lunch one day, I asked about her plans for the future. I assumed she was on her way to a bigger station in a bigger city.
  • The calendar says April so I’m ready to trade in this winter coat for my spring jacket. My mother is not ready. “It’s only thirty degrees,” she says. “Wait a few weeks until it warms up”
  • Standing in the checkout line at the craft store, I am flooded with a sense of pleasure and anticipation—but it’s not about purchasing this bottle of glue. It’s about the display of new coloring books.
  • It’s my turn at the checkout counter and the clerk rings up my items. She’s courteous but not friendly and I don’t mind. It’s been a long day and I’m not especially friendly either.
  • A while ago, I called L.L. Bean to place an order and had to wait for the “next available representative.” Expecting to hear promotions, I heard this message instead, “There will be silence while you hold.”
  • Years ago, a friend gave me some good advice about eating on the road: “Order the special.” Those simple everyday restaurants offer a “Special” because it’s what they do best—and you’re wise to take their word for it.
  • I feel some pain in the ring finger of my right hand and wonder why. I haven’t hurt it lately but I notice a slight irregularity in the middle joint. Then I remember.
  • My grandmother had a set of china dishes that were all different colors. Blue dinner plates and yellow salad plates and green cups and pink saucers.
  • About a year ago, some friends gave me a lovely plant called an “Anthurium.” I’d never had one before and learned that the red, heart-shaped blossoms aren’t really blossoms but another kind of leaf. I also learned that they need indirect light.