michigan writers

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Throughout the week on Stateside, you've been hearing stories from writers in the Upper Peninsula. 

Today, we explore a story about a kayak adventure from Susan Rasch. 

Rash is a farmer and writer who lives in the Pte. Abbay peninsula, just east of the Keweenaw. 

The story is read by Sheila Bauer.

* Listen to the full story above.

User: Adam Wyles / Flickr

 

What goes through the mind of someone who is just worn out from battling a terrible debilitating disease? Someone who has decided the time has come to end her life?

Or the mind of a caring man who opened his home and his heart to a child in great need, only to have the court order that child to be returned to his mother when she gets out of prison?

And how do the lives of these two people intersect?

Those questions drive a new novel "Five Days Left" by Michigan author Julie Lawson Timmer.

krossbow / flickr

No matter the season, if you live in Michigan, water isn't far away.

The Great Lakes. One of Michigan's 11,000 inland lakes. A river, like the Manistee or Au Sable.

Traverse Magazine invited five Northern Michigan women writers to share their thoughts on water. Two of those writers join us today on Stateside from Interlochen Public Radio.

Anne-Marie Oomen grew up on a farm near Lake Michigan. She says that besides understanding from the very beginning the reliance of agriculture on water, she felt related to water in a spiritual way.

Fleda Brown recalls fond memories of summer times spent near Michigan lakes as a child. “Driving up from Arkansas … and getting closer and closer to the lake and the woods, the first glimpse of water I saw through the trees was like miracle,” she said.

* Listen to full interview above.

John H. Riggle / Kristina Riggle

It seems just about every week you can find a news report about a high school teacher being arrested and charged with having sex with a student.

You look at that teacher's mug shot and think to yourself — how does this happen?

Writer Kristina Riggle of Grand Rapids has tackled this very thorny scenario in her newest novel – her fifth. It's called "A Whole Golden World."

Listen to the full interview above.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

(Editor's note: This story was first aired on October 2nd, 2013)

Who among us has not had the experience of plunging into something that sure sounded good on paper, but then the reality turns out to be anything but?

So, when life hands you that proverbial lemon, you could make ‘lemonade.’ Or you could write a book.

That’s what Natalie Burg did.

Michigan writer Natalie Burg had a spectacularly bizarre experience living on a farm in Sweden, working as an au pair for a spectacularly bizarre family. She has turned all of that into a new book called “Swedish Lessons: A Memoir of sects, love and indentured servitude. Sort of.”

She joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan is home to five national parks and there are lots of open spaces where you can camp, hunt and enjoy nature. But, yesterday, an Oklahoma Senator recently said two Michigan landmarks are a prime example of wasteful federal spending. We found out what’s behind the senator’s reasoning and whether there is some truth to his concerns.

 Then, we took a look at a new proposal by a group of Democrats in the Michigan House that would require the state to determine the actual cost of educating a public school student in Michigan. That got us thinking, shouldn't we already know?  We also spoke with Michigan writer Donald Lystra about his new collection of short stories. And, Ann Arbor now has its own Death Café, organized by funeral home guide Merilynne Rush. She stopped by to tell us more about it. But, first on the show, ever since the government unveiled its healthcare.gov website, the headlines surrounding the Affordable Care Act have been about the problems with the way the site was designed and the extreme difficulty Americans have had in getting on the exchange. But what about the Americans that don't need healthcare.gov? The ones who already have plans? To those consumers, President Obama has been saying this since 2009:

“If you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance. No government takeover, nobody’s changing what you’ve got if you’re happy with it.”

So why, then, then are some 2 million Americans - about 140,000 in Michigan - getting cancelation letters from their insurers over the past couple of weeks?

Marianne Udow-Phillips directs the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, a non-profit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. She joined us today.

Short stories are in the spotlight in the literary world after Canadian writer Alice Munro recently won the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature. She's widely considered to be the "master of the short story."

The Michigan writer Donald Lystra is just out with his collection of short stories called "Something That Feels Like Truth."

Donald Lystra is an engineer who turned to writing later in life. His debut novel "Season of Water and Ice" won the Midwest Book Award and the Michigan Notable Book Award.

Donald Lystra joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Some thirty years after the County Jail Overcrowding Act was passed, Michigan is still dealing with overcrowding emergencies in jails across the state. On today's show: How do we fix the problem of jails filled to the brim? Do we reduce bonds? Increase rates of early release?

And, when it comes to scrap metal theft, anything goes, from manhole covers to copper Jesus statues. What can Michigan lawmakers do to crack down on these thefts?

Also, Michigan writer Natalie Burg joined us to talk about her new book. It's a memoir of her experience living on a Swedish farm.

First on the show, it’s day two of the government shutdown.

Democratic Congressman Gary Peters joined us today. He represents Michigan's 14th Congressional district. 

And former Congressman Joe Schwarz joined us to give us his perspective on the issue as well.

Let's cross our fingers and hope that spring is here to stay. As the grass gets greener and flowers begin blooming, why not welcome the warmer weather with some light spring reading?

Keith Taylor, a poet and writer, as well as a professor at the University of Michigan, has given us a few suggestions for our spring reading lists.

Don't worry, they're short.

"We should be getting outside, and working in the garden...we don't want to start reading Anna Karenina outside right now," Taylor said.

The Meijer Foundation is giving $500,000 to support the Made in Michigan writers’ series. Wayne State University Press started the series in 2006.

Senior Acquisitions Editor Annie Martin says it’s the biggest grant the organization has ever gotten. She says it's not every day a donor with deep pockets wants to invest in a small-scale university press.

“You can imagine we were dancing in our office,” Martin chuckled.

The annual budget for the Made in Michigan series is $75,000. Martin says the grant will help offset the costs of producing the books. They could publish more books each year, or do more marketing, “I have a million ideas,” she said.

The University Press will get the grant over five years. Martin says the bulk will go into an endowment fund so that it lasts for years.

For our series Before Technology, we asked Michigan writers to share their thoughts on life before smart phones, the internet and social media.

Keith Taylor is a Michigan poet and writer. He describes the benefits of technology when we’re far away from home.

Technology surrounds us. It seems we’re always connected to something…the internet, cell phones and social media. It can be difficult to unplug sometimes.

As part of our series Before Tech, Michigan writers share stories about their relationship to technology.

Today, writer Natalie Bakopoulos tells us about her college days, before the phenomena of social media.

She is an English professor at the University of Michigan.