Most of my lifetime, Michigan has been bleeding population, largely the result of the collapsing manufacturing sector as factory jobs were outsourced to other countries (this largely as the result of decisions made by millionaires who just weren’t satisfied with all they already had). We’ve been enjoying a slow but steady recovery over the past decade thanks to some savvy marketing and a few sane, practical politicians, adding jobs, revitalizing cities, reimagining derelict factories and warehouses as loft housing and small businesses and incubators. We’ve been attracting a lot of good press, a lot of tourism. Sure, we’ve had some spectacular failures — but the harder the winter the more glorious the spring.
Actor, playwright, and musician Jeff Daniels is just one native Michigander who knows the true value of living here. And PBS News Hour did a nice little segment on what he’s been up to in his small hometown of Chelsea (which they describe as being an hour west of Detroit, because everything in Michigan is described to outsiders in terms of its proximity to the Motor City; it’s also about an hour southeast of Lansing). Hope you enjoy it.
Recently my husband, author Zachary Bartels, and our good friend (and Zach’s indie publishing business partner) Ted Kluck realized that their micro press, Gut Check Press, was turning five years old. This seemed to call for some intensive reminiscing and, in true Zach fashion, a cheeky video retrospective created in PowerPoint.
The past five years of developing books and white papers (and the new podcast!), eating deep dish pizza and Chinese food, and smoking untold numbers of cigars have been some of the most fun and rewarding years of our lives as Ted, Kristin, Zach, and I grow closer as friends and share nights of the kind of laughter that makes your face hurt and your eyes tear up. And sometimes there’s even wheezing.
Here’s to the next five years of publishing milestones. 😉
Thanks so much to so many of you who downloaded free stories yesterday. What took me by surprise was that the overwhelming favorite of the day was “Beneath the Winter Weeds,” the story I wrote last January. I suppose I had thought that people would be more interested reading about summer during this second (or is it third?) cold snap.
Perhaps fiction isn’t truly an escape from reality so much as it is an exploration of reality.
In case you were curious about what Michigan has been like the past few days, here’s the Lake Michigan lakeshore:
Be sure to watch the whole thing so you can see how this photographer found shelter from the storm.
This morning it’s cold (-10 on the thermostat–that’s -23 celsius for my international friends) and sunny and definitely the sort of morning that Valerie Steele might head into the woods to make her discovery…
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