April 18, 2012
It’s a cold, rainy morning in Houghton, Michigan. I’m looking out a fifth floor motel window at the canal that divides Houghton from Hancock and at the Ranger III, which will start taking visitors to Isle Royale National Park soon. Across the canal there are some old red brick buildings that make me think of copper mining and ore boats, and a steep rocky hillside behind them.
I love this view and could sit here all day, but soon we’ll be off to practical things like taking our truck to get serviced. In the meantime, I’m sipping a latte from Cyberia Cafe and feeling content to be in one of my favorite towns anywhere.
I wonder what it is about places that makes us love them. In Houghton I’m in love with the rocky hills, the old brick buildings and narrow brick streets downtown, the canal and its boats, the history that seems to lie around everywhere like chunks of rock on the ground. It’s the kind of place that makes me want to write a story.
I felt the same way giving a book talk on the second floor of Peter White Public Library in Marquette last night. Outside the windows, Lake Superior stretched out forever under the evening sun. Inside, a crowd of readers treated me with warmth and kindness. I felt lucky, and happy. I felt like trying to express the inexpressible: how much I love the U.P. and its people. I want to thank everyone who came for making my first appearance this year feel like a big family reunion. I also want to thank the Michigan Notable Book program for choosing SOUTH OF SUPERIOR as a Michigan Notable Book this year. I’m honored, and thrilled.