One rainy October day, about a decade ago while visiting Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City, Tim Mulherin surrendered to his nagging curiosity about Harrison’s work and purchased “The Woman Lit by Fireflies,” one of his novella collections. That evening, he began reading the first novella, “Brown Dog.” It only took a few pages for him to become a fan of BD, the protagonist who would appear repeatedly in novellas to come as one of Harrison’s central characters. The middle-aged half Finn/half Michigan Chippewa Indian lives by impulse, finds utter joy in trout fishing and six packs of cheap beer, is easily entranced by the opposite sex, and has a nonnegotiable moral compass. For this former warhorse of the white-collar workplace, who would occasionally daydream from his desk of casting for trout in a crystalline northern Michigan river, Brown Dog’s exploits gave him vital comic relief.
Eaters of corn we are in this August golden heat. Lined up at picnic tables, our teeth move horizontally, carving a path across long corn ears—like a prolific typewriter always moving the paper right to left as the keys punch out letters, words, subliminal messages.
Many years ago, on a freezing February night, I walked outside my childhood home on Indian Hill Road—nestled in the middle of nowhere, between Empire and Honor—and was taken aback by the sight of a deep, dark red moon, writes Christina Steele. Confused by the color, I tipped my head up to gaze at what I anticipated would be a starlit sky. Expecting to see Orion and Polaris, I instead let out a gasp as I saw ribbons of red light moving above me. The ribbons, curtains, and strobes of red light danced in the sky and across the moon and came to a single point directly above me. I ran back inside, hollered for my mother and my three little sisters, and grabbed as many blankets as I could hold. My family and I sat bundled together in the cold, gazing at our first Northern Lights (aurora borealis) display.
The Glen Arbor Arts Center’s Coffee With the Authors is a live, conversational interview with local and regional authors about the writing craft and process. This series continues Sunday, July 30, at 1 p.m. with poet Holly Wren Spaulding in a conversation about keeping and banning words. Spaulding, a northern Michigan native now living in southern Maine, published her third book of poems, Familiars, in 2020, as a response to the 2015 deletion of words by the Oxford Junior Dictionary (OJD). The OJD’s deleted words list includes names of flora and fauna, in order to make room for newer words from the world of technology, such as “chatroom” and “bullet point.” Familiars is full of poems about “trees, flowers, magic, touch, memory, erasure, power, and [Spaulding’s] grief over the changing climate.” In her July 30 conversation, Spaulding will talk about the power of words, choosing them with care, and the ways in which she works to keep language vital through her writing. The Glen Arbor Sun interviewed Spaulding prior to her upcoming coffee date at the Arts Center.
For more than 10 years, Wildsam has published books about great American places. The series delves into big cities, small towns, iconic American regions and cozier places better known to locals. Wildsam also hopes their field guides light up culture and history in ways that ring true in the places they cover. The series aims to celebrate landscapes that might surprise a few people with their cultural vitality and depth of heritage. Northern Michigan is Wildsam’s newest field guide. Contributors to this book include Glen Arbor Sun editor Jacob Wheeler and frequent writers, Anne-Marie Oomen and Mae Stier.
“Outside my window a crescent moon is slowly descending toward the snow-covered trees outlining the bend in the river. If my eyes aren’t deceiving me, the moon appears to become more orange the closer it gets to the earth,” writes Leelanau author Kathleen Stocking in this Christmas letter. “So much to know, so little time. We are all on the same path, just in different places, not only in the stages of one’s present existence—young, middle-aged, old—but in all the generations who have come before and might come later. This wild, unwieldy world. So much grief. The pandemic. The homeless under bridges. The Ukrainians, without bridges. The horrible wars.”
I Awaken In October: Poems of Folk Horror and Halloween is the debut speculative poetry collection from northern Michigan author Scott J. Couturier, published October 2022 by Jackanapes Press.
On a crisp morning close to the fall equinox, I joined a small group of family and friends for a private, guided walk at Houdek Dunes Natural Area north of Leland. What started out as a social gathering and light-hearted exploration of a local program called Mindfulness in Nature LLC (MIN) became a transformative experience peppered with ah-ha moments of our connection to the natural world and ourselves. MIN founder and director Gloria Garrett guided our group on the journey, introducing us to the practice of meditative walking.
Now is the time to cozy up by the fire and read a good book. Here’s our roundup of local books, or books written by local authors, that were published in late 2021 and 2022. Please find them at Leelanau County’s locally-owned, independent bookstores
The next event in local writer Anne-Marie Oomen’s prolific career of creating history plays, poems, essays, and creative nonfiction will be the launch of her new memoir As Long As I Know You, The Mom Book on Oct. 6 at Kirkbride Hall in Traverse City at Building 50 from 5:30-7:30 pm. It is also a fundraiser for Michigan Writers Scholarships, and “Everyone’s invited!” The book is dedicated “To my mother, Ruth Jean Oomen, April 28, 1921–November 16, 2020, and to all of those ‘in the homes’.”