Monday, July 28, 2014

Michigander Monday: Bethany Neal

I'm pleased to welcome Bethany Neal to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Bethany, please tell us a little about yourself.

Bethany:  Well, I was born and raised in Saginaw, MI and now I live in Ann Arbor. It took me awhile to figure out I was a writer. I graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in interior design and I've also worked as a photographer and teacher's aid. Now that I'm writing, though, I can't get enough!

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book.

Bethany:  Of course! My Last Kiss is about a girl named Cassidy Haines who wakes up the morning after her seventeenth birthday party...dead. Worst birthday present ever, right?! Everyone assumes she committed suicide because of a note she was holding when she died, but the more she observes from her friends and slowly starts to remember about that fateful night, the more she is convinced someone she trusted is responsible for her death. It's a mystery/thriller/love story, and I hope you all love it!

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Bethany:  Always. I have so many crazy ideas that I don't have enough time to write them all. My agent just submitted a new project, so hopefully I'll be able to tell everyone more about that soon. All I can say is that it's creepy and deadly! I'm also working on a brand spankin' new book, so there are things all over the place in various stages.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Bethany:  I will be at my hometown Barnes & Noble in Saginaw, MI on August 2nd for an event they're hosting called Get Pop Cultured, but before that I'll be at Literati Bookstore on Monday, July 28th to discuss My Last Kiss with their inaugural Teen Book Club. I'm super psyched about this one because I helped nudge Literati into hosting a teen version of their regular book club. I'm also very honored that they chose my book to be their first. It should be a blast!

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Bethany:  I was just at McLean and Eakin up in Petoskey for a signing & writing workshop and it was phenomenal! The staff their are so knowledgeable and total book people. Plus there's a store dog named Edith. What more could you ask for? I don't think I could choose a favorite library. Too many to pick from!

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Bethany:  I love going to Bronner's in Frankenmuth. Does that count?

Debbie:  Absolutely.  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Bethany:  I love going to the Renaissance Festival in Holly, but I always end up being accosted by a random performer, which makes my introvert alarm sound. It's a love/hate relationship with me and the Renaissance Fest.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Bethany:  Well, living in Ann Arbor, the new buzz is that Madonna's daughter Lourdes is going to be a freshman at U of M this coming fall. Not sure that counts for anything, but it's happening.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Bethany:  We're the nation's high five. (Get it, 'cause of the mitten?)

Debbie:  Love it!  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?

Bethany:  Oh, I'm a gander all the way!

Debbie:  Bethany, we'll add you to the Michigander column!  And thank you for joining us for Michigander Monday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Michigander Monday: Carrie Booth Walling

I'm pleased to welcome Carrie Booth Walling to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Carrie, please tell us a little about yourself.

Carrie:  I was born and raised in Bay City Michigan and am a Spartan through and through – a proud graduate of Michigan State University. After spending several years living out of the state – in Aberystwyth Wales, Washington, DC and Minneapolis Minnesota – my husband and I moved back to Michigan in 2006.  Our home is in Flint, Michigan where my husband, Dayne Walling, is Mayor.  We have two amazing sons – Bennett and Emery – and we are thrilled to be raising them in Flint where their father was born and raised. As a mom of two avid soccer players, I spend much of my free time on the sidelines watching soccer matches.  This summer we couldn’t get enough of cheering for Team USA in the World Cup. 

I am a political science professor at Albion College where I teach a variety of courses in international relations and human rights.  I research how international organizations like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court respond to mass atrocity crimes; and I write about the impact that human rights norms have on the conduct of international affairs.  

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book.

Carrie:  My book, All Necessary Measures: The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) considers how the United Nations Security Council began to entertain questions about human rights when previously such discussions were considered inappropriate.  I then show how principled arguments for human rights led to the practice of humanitarian intervention – the use of military force to rescue populations at risk of mass killing. The book examines Security Council decision-making in 8 conflicts characterized by mass atrocity crimes between 1991 and 2011: Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, the Darfur region of Sudan and Libya.  The purpose is two-fold: 1) to help explain why humanitarian intervention happens in some places and not others; and 2) to show how human rights norms are changing the meaning of state sovereignty and the legitimate purpose of military force at the United Nations.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Carrie:  I have not yet started my next book but I am exploring the possibility of writing a book on the research and advocacy practices of Human Rights Watch, an independent international organization that works to advance the cause of human rights world-wide.  I am working on a series of journal articles including an article comparing Security Council policy in Libya and Syria, an article on justice and accountability for Syrian civilians, and an article on the relationship between the Security Council and the International Criminal Court.  In a couple of months Human Rights Quarterly will publish an article I’ve coauthored with Susan Waltz (Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan) about a new human rights website that we’ve developed.  If your readers are interested in learning more about human rights they can visit our website, Human Rights Advocacy and The History of the International Human Rights Standards, which we liken to an open access online textbook at

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Carrie:  As a professor and author of an academic text, most of my book talks take place at colleges and universities during the academic year.  Last year, I enjoyed sharing the book with students at Albion College, the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Flint campuses) and Wayne State University.  This month, I’m presenting the findings at a workshop at The Hague Institute for Global Justice in the Netherlands.  I can’t wait to see where I’ll go next. 

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Carrie:  I have a great fondness for the old Bay City Public Library.  I remember riding my bike there on Saturday afternoons in the summer with a quarter in my pocket to call my parents on the payphone after I got there.  I’ve spent so much of my life and professional career in libraries and find that I love them all – from searching the stacks at the big research libraries at U of M and MSU, to writing book chapters in the Michigan historical section of the Flint Public library, and grabbing a drink with students in the café at Albion’s college library.  For me, libraries are magical places where ideas are born and get tested. 

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Carrie:  I have always loved Sleeping Bear Sand dunes.  I remember climbing to the top in my bare feet and running back down again as a little girl.  Now I get to chase my own kids through the sand and try to keep up.  One of the best ways to enjoy the dunes is to camp at the Platte River Campground.  It’s nice to slow down the pace and really take time to enjoy one of our great national parks right here in Michigan.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Carrie:  Perhaps your readers will find this surprising, but I love to be in downtown Flint, Michigan on any Saturday in August.  It’s hard to choose just one event.  The revitalized downtown hosts thousands and thousands of people from all across the state at several annual festivals that are fun for everyone.  August 8-10 we host the CANUSA games – North America’s largest and longest running international friendship games between Hamilton, Ontario and Flint Michigan.  Over 1400 youth athletes compete in 16 events to win the CANUSA cup.  August 12-16 we host the annual Back to the Bricks car show and cruise, considered one of the country’s best auto events.  It’s free to come down and walk the bricks lined with the classic cars and there is plenty of live music and entertainment.  Flint is also home to the Crim Festival of Races which features a competitive 10 mile run that draws elite world-class runners, wheelers, and locals.  For those of us with less endurance there are other fun and competitive races including a teddy bear trot for young kids and 1 mile, 5K and 8k races.  In 2013, the Crim boasted 15,000 racers and 60,000 spectators to cheer them on.  Much of the Flint community comes out to cheer on the runners and supply them with water or beer along the route.  This year’s race weekend is August 22-23.  And if you like to eat, we have plenty of offerings at locally owned and operated restaurants and bars.

The newest hotspot in Flint though is the Flint Farmers' Market in downtown.  Thousands of people from all over the area have been flocking to the new public market that boasts over 50 indoor vendors and another 25 outside.  You can buy everything from fresh farm produce and flowers to gourmet wines and chocolates.  The market has an art gallery, café, Middle Eastern and Mexican groceries and even a mini hardware. Market days feature live music on the lawn outside and often cooking demonstrations.  The kids will enjoy donuts, popcorn and the mini farm play land hosted by the Flint Children’s Museum.  I love to buy my groceries there because I can meet the farmers and small business owners who have lovingly made the products that I buy and the festival-like atmosphere feels good.  It’s like shopping among friends. 

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Carrie:  Christopher Paul Curtis is an award winning author who grew up in Michigan.  His book, Bud, Not Buddy, was the first to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King author award.  His book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, was recently made into a Hallmark Channel original movie.  Curtis really knows how to connect to young people and especially elementary and middle school aged kids.  I remember taking a family road trip with our kids listening to his book, Bucking the Sarge, on audio and the kids just rolling with laughter in the backseat – what an enjoyable car ride that was.  Curtis has really mastered the art of upper elementary school boy humor and his books feature Michigan cities, Michigan families and address important cultural and historical periods in US history.  I love to read them too and they make me laugh but not as much as the two boys in the backseat.  

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Carrie:  We have a beautiful state and it’s a great place to vacation and explore nature but it’s the people that live here that make our state so special.

Debbie:  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?

Carrie:  My husband uses the phrase “people from Michigan” but I grew up a Michigander.

Debbie:  Carrie, we'll add you to the Michigander column!  Thank you very much for being here today for Michigander Monday!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Michigander Monday: Julie Jaffee Nagel

I'm pleased to welcome Dr. Julie Jaffee Nagel to Michigander Monday:

Debbie:  Julie, please tell us a little about yourself.

Julie:  I am a hybrid.  Since I was a very small child, I wanted to be a concert pianist and I pursued that goal for many years.  I attended The Juilliard School in New York City and graduated with both my Bachelor of Music and Master of Science Degrees in Piano.  After being in the music field performing and teaching for about 15 years, I returned to school at The University of Michigan where I earned my Masters Degree in Social Work, my Master’s Degree in Psychology and my Ph.D. in both Psychology and Social Work.  I was fascinated by stage fright and career choice in music, both of which were a part of my life. After receiving my doctorate I worked as a therapist and taught some courses at University of Michigan, but gradually I decided to deepen my understanding of myself and the people I treated in my consulting room.  I trained to become a psychoanalyst at The Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. I am in private practice in Ann Arbor where I see people (not just musicians) who experience stage fright as well as depression, anxiety issues, career concerns, relationship problems, and other mental health issues. I love to help people grow emotionally and feel good about themselves.  I give presentations to organizations of all kinds, publish articles in peer reviewed journals, and have recently had my  first book published - Melodies of the Mind which combines my work in music and mental health. I write regular blogs and you can find them on my website:  At my web site, readers are invited to subscribe to my blog to receive it automatically.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book.

Julie:  Melodies of the Mind takes an in-depth look about how music is a direct pathway to our emotions – even before we can find words to describe how we feel.  My work is original in that I use music itself as my formal “data” and show how music and psychological ideas are very compatible with each other.  For example, I examine the concepts of conflict and tension we all experience and how we can (or don’t) deal with these feelings.  To do this, I analyzed music from West Side Story  - and particularly the songs “Gee, Officer Krupke” and “The Tonight Ensemble.”  You don’t have to know how music “works” to be moved by it, but I show how it does work and why it evokes feelings.  Other chapters offer other specific musical compositions to illustrate psychological themes such as love, envy, hate, jealousy, psychological development.  One of my important goals is to illustrate how both music and psychology are relevant in everyday life, and need to be used “outside their formal boxes” of the concert hall and consulting room.  Music and psychological ideas are relevant to the fields of education, the humanities, and in social or even political settings. You don’t need to be a musician or a psychologist to know that music affects you deeply.  I try to show how and why this happens.  I love blending my “two” passions.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Julie:  I am in the process of writing another book on Performance Anxiety – as a manual for music teachers. I have a publisher for this book.  I also hope to find a different trade publisher for a book on Stage Fright, written as a narrative,  that will be interesting  and helpful to the general public.  Stage Fright is something that all kinds of people struggle with –musicians, actors, writers, academics, executives, lawyers, physicians, athletes, public speakers, students – and people with social anxiety…..the list is endless.  Stage fright is part of being human but it can be channeled and not interfere with professional and personal fulfillment or be overwhelming.

I was also invited to write a regular column for Clavier Companion and another article on musicians’ psychological health and “wellness” for The American Music Teacher.  These are ways I enjoy blending my background in music and mental health while interacting with music teachers and others.  It’s important to realize that mental attitudes are as important as aptitudes in performing – whether it is music, public speaking, test taking, writing, social interactions and other ways we live in the world.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Julie:  Just gave a TED-style talk on Stage Fright at the American Psychoanalytic Association Meetings in Chicago (June 2014).  This was a fascinating experience - unlike any presentation I’ve done in the past.  I’d love to give a “real” TED talk on this topic - the audience really liked it.

Ohio State Music Teachers’ Conference, Oct. 2014 (Stage Fright)

Contemporary Freudian Society, New York City -  Nov. 2014 (A “conversation”  I wrote between Freud and Mozart  - they return from eternity to talk with each other)

American Psychoanalytic Association  - New York City – Jan. 2015 – (Stage Fright and Shame Dynamics)

Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida- winter 2014 (Stage Fright)

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Julie:  I wish we had more bookstores PERIOD – it’s so sad to see them disappearing. And it’s so good too hold a book in your hand.  I am not a fan of Kindle.

In Ann Arbor we only have 2 independent  books stores now – Nicola's which has long survived, and a new one Literati.

I can’t imagine a better library than the Graduate Library at the University of Michigan.  When I wrote my dissertation, I would go to the stacks (in the days before everything was on computer) and look for journals and books and then get fascinated by seeing something else not related to my topic (Career Choice in Music).  So I would sit down and read all kinds of things before I ever got what I needed for my own work.  That was wonderful.  I love computers, but you can’t browse the internet the way you can the stacks in a good library.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Julie:  I love Ann Arbor and happy to call it home for so many years.  When we first moved here in 1969 from New York, Ann Arbor was already a wonderful place but nothing like it has become –even  more cosmopolitan now but still with a small town feel.  At that time there was only one Chinese restaurant in the entire city -  that served  egg drop soup (with saltine crackers!!!) as their only soup choice. Now we have many international choices for dining and more and more creative cultural events all the time.

I love the UP and Northern Michigan – taught piano and performed for about 13 years at National Music Camp in Interlochen and fell in love with the area…..This was all before I changed careers to psychology.

I love the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market.

The magnificent River Walk in downtown Dexter is a wonderful place to walk in the middle of nature surrounded by water – I think it extends from Dexter to the Huron River – and there are the most beautiful plants and birds, and little waterfalls, and all kinds of nature along the way.   It is a very peaceful place  for a mental vacation. Whoever designed and built it are geniuses.

Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor is a gem – intimate setting and lovely surroundings.  Wonderful piano for performances.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Julie:  I enjoy the annual Art Fair in the summer in Ann Arbor – although it’s usually the hottest week of the summer.  The creativity of all the artists is amazing.  I love the concerts at Hill Auditorium.  I appreciate the change of seasons – although this past winter is not on that list.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Julie:  My husband, Louis – is one of the best pianists I've ever heard (personal bias aside) – he is at home on the stage and just gave a memorable concert at Steinway Hall in New York City in April…..he is on the piano faculty at Univ. Michigan School of Music. We met at Juilliard.

A special person to us is our veterinarian in Ann Arbor, Dr. Bill MacArthur.  He takes care of your pet like a member of your and his family.  Dr. Bill gave extra quality years and long life to our beloved cat, Cadenza. I am eternally grateful to him.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Julie:  Aside from last winter- this is a fabulous place to live.  We have everything in Michigan – culture, sports, education, good food, the lakes, and ever-changing weather.  And the people are pretty nice too!!

Debbie:  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?

Julie:  I am a Michigander –  We moved to Ann Arbor in 1969.  This is my home!

Debbie:  We'll add you to the Michigander column!  Thank you so much, Julie, for being here today for Michigander Monday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

I know they mine data. I know they waste time. But I'm powerless to resist those quizzes.

"Oh, Buzzfeed," I say.  "I don't need to take your silly 'Which Day of the Week Are You?' quiz.  I already know I'm a Tuesday."

"C'mon," says Buzzfeed.

"No!  Your quizzes are ridiculous.  Just because they pop up in my news feed doesn't mean I have to click.  I've sworn them off!"

"'Sworn them off' being a phrase here meaning that it's been almost 22 hours since your last quiz?"

"That's not nice," I say.  "You should take a 'What Kind of Meanie Are You?' quiz."

"No, I shouldn't.  That's silly.  I don't take quizzes.  I give them.  C'mon!  Take the quiz."

"No!  Your quizzes are ridiculous!"

"You're repeating yourself."

"Kinda like your questions.  Is it a law of the Buzzfeed kingdom that every quiz have a Beyoncé song question?"

"Does it make you feel inadequate when you don't recognize contemporary cultural references in the quizzes?"

“I don't know why you'd say that."

“Because I saw your 'Which historical time period are you?' quiz results.  It's OK.  I eventually stopped laughing."

"Glad to have been so entertaining."

"Well, but the thing is, you might NOT be a Tuesday."

"I’m sure I’m a Tuesday.  Some things you just know."

"You could be a Friday.  Gal like you!  Surely.  Maybe even a Saturday.  A Saturday!"

"You really think so?"

"Could be.  Consider the popular Beyoncé song, 'You Never Really Know If You’re a Tuesday Until You Take The Quiz.'"

"That’s not a Beyoncé lyric!" [pauses]  "Is it?"

"No.  It's a line of dialogue from a really popular TV show that you've never even heard of."  [coughs quietly – makes a noise that sounds sort of like 'Pleistocene']

"Have too heard of it!  Whatever it is.  It just comes on the wrong night.  That's all.  Otherwise I would known that."

"Here's what I know.  You're going to take this quiz.  And you're going to love the result."

"Well…  OK.  Maybe just this one.  My LAST one.  Really."

[takes quiz]

"Oh, Buzzfeed," I say.  "I'm a Tuesday!"

"Congratulations!  Great day of the week.  One of the top seven.  Now.  How about taking my 'Which flavor of Italian soda are you?' quiz?"

"Will there be any questions where none of the answers apply?"

"Pretty much all of them.  But there might be some cute cat photos tossed in!"

"Well…" [thinks it over; seconds elapse]  "OK.  Maybe just this one.  But it's my last one.  Really!"

Monday, July 7, 2014

Michigander Monday: Bob Linsenman

I'm pleased to welcome Bob Linsenman to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Bob, please tell us a little about yourself.

Bob:  I am a Michigan product through and through....a 1965 graduate of Oakland University, English major  Russian minor (I wanted to learn how to say "Don't shoot, comrade!" -- actually the Russians were ahead of the USA in the space race and I needed three years of a foreign language for a BA degree, so.....)

Our family lived in Oakland county but we vacationed and spent nearly every weekend in northern Michigan at our cabin near Loon Lake in Oscoda county.

After college I worked in the CBS Publishing Group for college text publisher Holt, Rinehart & Winston, later for a large computer firm, as a non-fiction literary agent, as a fly shop manager and fly fishing guide, and through all this I wrote many magazine articles on fly fishing and six books on fly angling.

Snowblood's Journal is my first fiction effort. The reviews have been wonderful and, honestly, I am quite proud of it.

Debbie:  Tell us more about your books.

Bob:  My non-fiction titles are: Trout Streams of Michigan, Great Lakes Steelhead, The Au Sable River, Michigan Blue-Ribbon Fly Fishing Guide, Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout, and Best Streams for Great Lakes Steelhead. All of these have been well received but the first one, Trout Streams of Michigan, has sold the most copies by far.

The novel, Snowblood's Journal, is about two cousins from northern Michigan who find themselves in the new scout dog program during the Vietnam war. The story presents the incredible bravery and pure heroism of these men and their wonderful dogs.

We have presentations and signings scheduled and this list will certainly grow, so it's best if people track them through the Facebook site for Snowblood's Journal by Bob Linsenman, or through my publisher, Arbutus Press. Right now we have July 12 at the Moore Library in Lexington, MI; August 21 at the West Branch Library; and September 11, at the Kalkaska Library.

The previous events have all been well attended, successful in my opinion.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Bob:  I like all bookstores, big and small. Horizon Books in Traverse City is one favorite.

All libraries are good for the public and private soul.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Bob:  Anywhere along the Au Sable River where I can dangle a foot or hand in the soothing current and let the river suck the poison from my soul.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Bob:  The northern lights and shooting stars rarely coincide, but when they do I watch the miracle unfold over Loon Lake or Island Lake. This is the best event by far.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Bob:  There are lots of great, funny, dedicated, selfless, heroic, generous folks in this fine state. We should all cherish our own private list.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Bob:  Michigan has the longest coastline of any state except Alaska.

Debbie:  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?

Bob:  I am and always will be a Michigander. A "Michiganian" is a member in an exclusive little club that only welcomes flatlanders and fudgies. A Michigander supports diversity and proudly includes Yoopers, Trolls, Bush Weasels, Swamp Angels, and Jack Pine Savages among its members. I am a Jack Pine Savage by the way.

Debbie:  Bob, we'll add you to the Michigander column!  Thank you very much for being here today for Michigander Monday.