Tag Archives: Michigan

Clip: Chapel-Turned-Brewery Hopping

2 Aug

 

Burnside Writers Collective published my latest Church Hopping column.  In this edition of my ongoing column, I visit Brewery Vivant in Michigan. What’s now a trendy Grand Rapids beer hall used to be the Metcalf Funeral Chapel.  Writers Kim Gottschild and Larry Shallenberger join me.

You can read the full article here.

 

For the last time Burnside went Church Hopping during the Festival of Faith & Writing, check out: Calvin College Chapel with Fellow Burnside Writers.

For the time Burnside Writers Susan Isaacs and Donald Miller went Church Hopping in New York, check out: Calvary-St. George’s.

For another repurposed church, check out: Don Justo’s “Trash” Cathedral.

Michigan Writers

19 Apr

Do you think writers are defined by where they were born?  Where they live?  By whether or not they’ve moved?  By how much they’ve traveled?

Yesterday, I wrote about how at the Faith & Writing Festival Circle we’ll be discussing is the idea of how where you write can actually affect your writing.  Today, I’m bringing you another little preview.  This time on writers from Michigan.

I’ve only been to Michigan the one other time I was at the Festival of Faith & Writing, and from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty unique.  It’s a rather large and diverse state.  Michigan is definitely Midwest — so different from where I grew up on the East Coast.  Yet each city and town seems to have its own culture and identity.  I think if two people from Michigan meet they’d probably judge each other based on where they live.

Yet, Michigan seems integral to America’s history as a whole because of the car industry in Detroit and the way cars began to define a certain type of American identity.

Below is a list of Michigan writers.

 

Books Set in Michigan or Written by Michigan Authors

  • Mitch Albom, born in New Jersey and now lives in Detroit, is the author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
  • John Malcolm Brinnin, raised in Detroit, is the poet credited with bringing Dylan Thomas to the US.
  • Bruce Campbell, born in Royal Oak (MI), wrote a New York Times bestselling autobiography; he also has written a novel and writes about the film industry and politics.
  • Jeffrey Eugenides, born in Detroit, is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Middlesex.  His most recent book is The Marriage Plot.
  • M. F. K. Fisher, born in Albion (MI), is a preeminent food writer.
  • Robert Frost, moved to Ann Arbor for a teaching fellowship at the University of Michigan, and his home can be viewed at The Henry Ford museum near Detroit.
  • Nancy Hull is a Calvin College professor and children’s book author.
  • Jerry B. Jenkins, born in Kalamazoo (MI), is the co-author of the Left Behind series.
  • Ring Lardner, born in Niles (MI), is best known as the author of the baseball novel You Know Me Al; he was also a friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s.
  • Elmore Leonard, raised in Detroit, is the author of Get Shorty.
  • Philip Levine, born in Detroit, is the 2011 – 2012 Poet Laureate for the US; the Pulitzer Prize winner is known for writing poems about Detroit’s working class.
  • Joyce Carol Oates, born in New York and lived in Detroit for a decade, is a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and the winner of a National Book Award for Them.
  • Theodore Roethke, born in Saginaw (MI), is the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet of The Waking and the National Book Award for Poetry winner for Words for the Wind and The Far Field.  His immigrant father owned a greenhouse, and Roethke went on to use natural imagery in his work.
  • Gary D. Schmidt is a Calvin College professor and children’s book author.
  • Freshwater Boys, by Michigan author Adam Schuitema, is a collection of short stories about Michigan.

Who are your favorite Michigan-based authors?

Places to Write, Drink Coffee, and Buy Books in Grand Rapids

18 Apr

As most of you know, at the Festival of Faith & Writing I’ll be leading a Festival Circle called Holy Grounds: The Role of Place in Your Spiritual and Literary Life.  One of the things we’ll be discussing is the idea of how where you write can actually affect your writing.

We’ll be talking about writing in such places as quiet home offices, caffeine-fueled coffeehouses, musty old libraries, in the serene beauty of nature, awe-inspiring churches, on the subway, in prison, and while you’re traveling.  Where do you like to write?

I’ll be providing those who registered for the Holy Grounds Festival Circle with a list of literary(-ish) places near Calvin College in Grand Rapids.  Places to relax, get inspiration, study Midwestern scenery and characters, and write.  A lot of us are traveling from out of state so I thought this list would be helpful.  There are plenty of places on campus to write and grab a cup of coffee, and the Festival will probably keep everyone busy enough that they won’t need this list, but sometimes it’s nice to break free from the bubble and see something outside the Festival grounds.  This list may also be helpful to writers who live in the area and are looking for a change of scenery from where they normally write.  I haven’t actually been to any of these places, so tread carefully!  Haha.  If you’re a Michigan writer, tell us your recommended writing places, coffee shops, bookstores, and literary havens.

Literary(-ish) places in Grand Rapids:

Ladies Literary Club (now a performing arts center)

61 Sheldon Blvd SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 459-6322

 

Bookstores in Grand Rapids

Argos Book Shop – Grand Rapids’ Oldest and Largest Used Book Shop!

1405 Robinson Rd SE; Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1722
616-454-0111

argos@argosbooks.com

Business Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm; Sunday: Noon to 3:00 pm


Family Christian Bookstores

3343 Alpine Ave. NW, #A; Grand Rapids, MI

 616-784-7179

 

Literary Life Bookstore & More

758 Wealthy Street SE (the southwest corner of Wealthy and Eastern); Grand Rapids, MI

Business Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10am to 8pm; Sunday closed

 

Schuler Books & MusicCelebrating 30 years as your local, independent bookstore!
2660 28th Street SE; Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-942-2561
info@schulerbooks.com
bookgroupsgr@schulerbooks.com
Manager: Tim@schulerbooks.com

Business Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9am to 10pm; Sunday: 10am to 7pm

 

Schuler Books & Music
40 Fountain N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: 616-459-7750
Promotions: Emily@schulerbooks.com
Manager: Neil@schulerbooks.com

Business Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 9am to 6pm; Thursday and Friday: 9am to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday: 11am to 5pm

 

Coffeehouses in Grand Rapids

76 Coffee

1507 Wealthy St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

616-301-2226

 

Ferris Coffee & Nut

227 Winter Avenue NW; Grand Rapids, MI 49504

616-459-6257

 

Rowster New American Coffee

632 Wealthy Street, SE; Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 780-7777

info@newamericancoffee.com
Business Hours: Monday to Friday: 7am – 7pm; Saturday: 9am – 5pm; Sunday: 11am – 3pm.


West Coast Coffee

55 Monroe Center NW; Grand Rapids MI 49503

Business Hours: Monday to Friday: 6:30am – 5:00pm; Saturday: 9am to 5pm; Sundays: closed

  

Church Hopping at the Festival of Faith & Writing: Calvin College Chapel

17 Apr

I’m getting excited for the Festival of Faith & Writing!!  I’m so looking forward to catching up with all my friends from the Burnside Writers Collective, some of whom I haven’t seen in years and others whom I’ve never met before.  We’ll have a booth so please do stop by and say hello!  I’m the visual arts editor for Burnside, and I’m always looking for new writers and cool artists whose work we can feature on the site.  If you’re interested, let’s chat at the Festival.

If you’re going — or just want to live vicariously through this blog — you might be interested in the Church Hopping column I wrote up after our last trip to the Festival.  Some of the panels and Q&As are held in the Pizza Hut Chapel, as Diane called it.

 

 

Burnside commentary:

Kim Gottschild:  “I liked the chapel’s architecture. What I found particularly interesting was the pergola type structure that lined the inside of the sanctuary like an overhang. Together with the beautiful view of the budding trees, it made me feel like I was sitting in a garden setting, the outside having been brought in. I also loved the light feel of the wooden interior. Overall, the interior atmosphere felt natural, light and airy, and I felt like I could breathe. And Mary Karr’s interview only enhanced that, as listening to her always gives me permission to be human.”

Penny Carothers: “I liked the chapel, too. I liked the inclusive feel, the feeling of being surrounded by others, not just staring at the dais. I also appreciated how the dais was almost in the center of the room. I liked how light it was.”

Cary Campbell Umhau:  “Well, I hate to be a naysayer but I found it cold. I wanted a cozy corner, not an exposed openness. I’m sure that says something antisocial and awful about me, but I wanted to flee!  I have to say I was swayed a little by Diane saying that it’s sometimes referred to as the Pizza Hut Chapel (Diane, am I misquoting you?).  Is it bizarre that I preferred the ‘Undercroft’ of cinderblock (and the bathrooms were nearby too; handy with all the coffee I was downing), and I loved hearing Lisa Samson down there.”

Diane Nienhuis:  “Cary, you quoted correctly!”

 

You can read the rest of Church Hopping: Calvin College Chapel here.

BWC Headed to FFW FTW (That’s an Inside Joke)

23 Jan

Burnside Writers Collective is headed back to the Festival of Faith and Writing!

Our lovely associate editor Kim Gottschild posted all about it on Burnside, highlighting why you should go:

  • Attend a writing workshop led by our very own Arts Editor, Stephanie Nikolopoulos!
  • Hear our very own Susan Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations with God, speak!
  • Meet our Deputy Editor, John Pattison, who will be there hosting a breakout session on book reviewing with ERB Editor-in-Chief, Chris Smith!
  • Hear plenary speaker, author Jonathan Safran Foer and watch BWC Editor-in-Chief Jordan Green become his best friend!  JK.
  • Meet other fantastic Burnsiders like Social Justice Editor Penny Carothers, Diane Nienhuis, Associate Editor Sara Sterley, Betsy Zabel, and me!
  • Pick up some swag, like a bookmark or something!

So sweet of her to mention me by name. Check back on this blog soon for more information on my workshop.

I truly love working with Burnside and getting to meet all the people I work with but don’t usually get to see.  I have the privilege of working with some of the most talented and funny and sincere people.  I had such a blast with them last time.

It’s also really fun meeting readers.  Hope you’ll consider joining us!  Drop me a line in the comments if you plan on being there and make sure to stop by our table to say hi!

As if meeting the Burnside staff isn’t enough, Ruben Martinez, Gary Schmidt, Marilynne Robinson, Kathryn Erskine, Shane Claiborne, and many more award-winning, high-profile authors will be there.