Moving Right Along

Moving Journal:
Friday, March 28, 2014

Five years ago, a handsome man showed up to help on moving day. Our first meeting was over a Subway sandwich I’d brought to thank him for the help.

The friendship born that day slowly over the course of the next year became something more. We worked on art projects together, made early morning newspaper deliveries on a route I had in Detroit, and enjoyed Halloween parties, sporting events, and multi-state road trips. We shared high times and low in the good old Motor City, through the worst of the early dismal yet hopeful times of our state’s Great Recession. We saw Detroit host an NCAA Basketball Final Four, NCAA Hockey Frozen Four, battle through political corruption and become subject of worldwide attention as the center of the post-industrial implosion. We kept talking and writing and drawing and photographing it all, and somewhere along the line, we fell in love.

It just may have been over some of his drawings. The man can draw, let me tell you. His talent is natural, instinctive, and stunning. From the moment I first saw his illustrations for Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Charles Dickens novels, I was a goner.

I left Detroit in 2011, headed for the lakeside town of Belleville. It was a short trip, just 25 miles west of the big city. The desire leading me back to a place I’d lived for a couple years in my 20s was to be closer to my hometown and family. I wanted to make a fresh start in a place with more natural wide-open spaces than just the interesting yet troubling empty, overgrown lots of my old neighborhood. These three years together have been some of the most fun and full that I’ve enjoyed in my grown-up times.

We’ve walked miles in the parks and grounds of this area, and stared at countless sunsets over Belleville Lake from downtown’s Horizon Park. We’ve made friends and enjoyed the area’s restaurants and bars, and made a friendly acquaintance of the downtown antique dealer. We’ve gathered places here where everybody knows our names (or at least our faces). The Lunch Box, the Belleville library, the downtown Methodist church where one Christmas-season night we found the Belleville Community Chorus, and a great way for me to reconnect with a musical past life. He has drawn, designed, and continued to build his portfolio as an artist, and constantly impresses me with his passion for beauty and quiet, observant way of looking at and interpreting the world around him. I’m lucky to call this smart cool creature first my friend, and then also, happily, my love.

And today, this handsome man is helping me move again. But this time, it’s to his house 10 miles away. These past five years, bookended by two moves, have been quite a journey. I’m really looking forward to seeing what kinds of fun and trouble we’ll find and share on this next part of our travels.

Love you, babe.

The moving truck is waiting. Time for another strong coffee and some rallying to get going on this cool, overcast March in Michigan day.

See you all on the other side (aka my next hometown).


George Michael

I’m inspired to start a new mini-project today. george

Here’s the plan:

When the mood strikes me, I’ll choose a singer who’s in my musical DNA, and write a post about them.

It could be someone I’ve listened/sang to, and generally known about for a long time. Or, it could be someone I’ve just recently discovered. The only rule is that it has to be someone who’s created music that inspires me both as a singer and avid listener. When I love someone’s work, I really get lost in it and I want to explore and honor that process.

Today’s (inaugural) entry —

Ladies and Gentlemen,

George Michael.

In honor of listening from the Wham! days, his ’90s start at a solo career, and the recent release of his latest, long-overdue album, Symphonica. Here’s one of my favorite of his classic tracks, on this new recording.

“Cowboys and Angels” – Symphonica (2014)


Waking Up On Top of the World

I need practice with this one. A good reading for today.

Quote: “So if you’re going to be delusional, you might as well make your delusions extremely empowering.”

How to Wake up Every Morning on Top of The World


A Gentleman and a Scholar

Or, a lady and a journalist?

To wit – an excerpt from my side of a good professional conversation, in progress.

Maybe, just maybe someday – I’ll really figure out what I want to be when I grow up.



Okay, another thought from earlier today. I am glad to read that you work towards a balance between traditional and more “poppy” work, and I’m interested to read about how you’re pursuing that balance. I thought about that quite a bit while I was working on my dissertation, and especially considering American Studies as a field. Interdisciplinarity … woo, boy. There’s a whole additional topic for discussion. I had much interest in both so-called traditional scholarship, and more sexy approaches to academic work – and did well and had a lot of success at both.

Before finishing the project, and making the big leap into the post-grad world, I finally concurred that I was really was just a good old-fashioned journalist at heart. I was certain about this before and since my first newspaper job at 19, magazine work, and even going into grad studies. Ha, another tricky field for the 21st century, right? No amount of academic joy was going to beat that out of me, so instead of pressing on, I gave in and admitted that my interests were much broader and less “scholarly” than a full-time academic career would allow.

So I think of this now, because often my work/thoughts fall somewhere in between – a happy place where former (more formal?) and recent/current (looser?) ideas about culture and history can mingle. When I hear the snootier of academics moaning about the Gagas of the world, I think .. “Yeah, well .. there’s that .. but there’s this too ..” As a writer, I see so many aspects of life as represented in the arts as interconnected, in terms of creative expression, communication, and so on. I’ve never really quite understood the strict boundaries some fields and practitioners want to construct around clearly defined fields.

Okay, back to the last push of the grading blitz – no more procrastination – I can do it!

Enjoy your evening.

And She Was

And_She_WasFeeling a little Talking Heads today.

“And She Was” – Little Creatures (1985)
Talking Heads – David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison.

And she was lying in the grass
And she could hear the highway breathing
And she could see a nearby factory
She’s making sure she is not dreaming

See the lights of a neighbor’s house
Now she’s starting to rise
Take a minute to concentrate
And she opens up her eyes
The world was moving and she was right there with it (and she was)
The world was moving she was floating above it (and she was) and she was
And she was drifting through the backyard
And she was taking off her dress
And she was moving very slowly
Rising up above the earth
Moving into the universe
Drifting this way and that
Not touching ground at all
Up above the yard
She was glad about it… no doubt about it
She isn’t sure where she’s gone
No time to think about what to tell them
No time to think about what she’s done
And she was
And she was looking at herself
And things were looking like a movie
She had a pleasant elevation
She’s moving out in all directions
Joining the world of missing persons (and she was)
Missing enough to feel alright (and she was)
1985 VIDEO – “And She Was” –

“The life that my writing has changed more than any other is my own.”

From Leo Babauta:

“What I’ve Learned as a Writer”

What I’ve Learned as a Writer