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Nonfiction Pieces

Memoir: In Michigan, We Go Up North

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This in-the-works manuscript describes the camping trips that saved me from my high school self. My path to deliverance started with an English class and a charismatic teacher, and then a canoe trip that attracted a group of vulnerable students seeking communion and meaning beyond what high school had to offer. A 1973 trip down Michigan’s Au Sable River led to a several-year odyssey of excursions, Michigan’s highways taking us far away to tents, cabins, rivers, lakes, the piney woods. Wherever Julia led, I followed her ever-quivering compass, loyal, blind, trusting it would read true.    

Memoir: Can You Get There from Here? High Hopes for Higher Education

This 100,000-word completed manuscript describes my last two years at Kalamazoo College written in a contemporary voice and supplemented with journal entries from the 1970s. During junior year I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. I returned to my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, a troubled non-romance with a young man who turned out to be gay, school successes, career choices, and a senior-year grand finale involving a night in jail.  Good thing grad school awaited.  

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Essays

I write about everything! My completed 60,000-word manuscript, Downriver from Detroit: A Collection of Essays, reflects major themes in my life:

Jobs, from convenience store clerk to PhD

Observations on everyday occurrences from a 61-year-old feminist perspective

Downriver, the industrial suburbs south of Detroit where I grew up

My elderly Dad and his dementia

Books, music, and film

Characters, human and not

The alternative existence I led in high school, camping with friends

College study abroad in Madrid and beyond

Two essays were published in the Ann Arbor Observer“Fungus Among Us” and  “An Ann Arbor Goldilocks Tale” (entitled “Couch Surfer). 

“Summer of ’77: Bug Stalking” (entitled “A Summer of Bugs”) in Kalamazoo College’s alumni magazine Lux Esto.

“Just Downriver from Detroit” was published April 19, 2019 in Belt Magazine.

“A Few PCBs” appears in Michigan State University Libraries Short Edition, May 2023. It starts with a hairdresser visit that brings to mind the place where I grew up. Downriver–the dirty, industrial suburbs south of Detroit—is part of me, no matter how far I go or how much I change.  It has given me the gift of resilience.