Saturday, February 25, 2017

Upcoming Reading

Two Local Writers Present New Books

In addition to being colleagues and friends for many years, Midlanders Jeff Vande Zande and Larry Levy are both writers with new books out.

Vande Zande has previously published collections of poetry and short stories, films, and novels. His novel American Poet won the Stuart and Vernice Gross Award for Excellence in Writing by a Michigan Author and a Michigan Notable Book Award from the Library of Michigan.  

His latest novel, Detroit Muscle, (Whistling Shade Press, 2016) tells the story of a recovering drug addict just out of rehab who has debts to pay and a pregnant girlfriend.  As he struggles to jump-start his life in the crumbling streets of Detroit and its suburbs, his grandfather invites him on a road trip to Northern Michigan.  Driving his grandfather's '68 Firebird, the young man begins to understand how his family's dysfunction spans generations. 

Levy's first poetry collection, I Would Stay Forever if I Could (Mayapple Press, 1999) was reissued in an expanded edition by Mayapple Press in 2007.  His poems have also appeared in Third Wednesday, The South Carolina Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Controlled Burn, the Driftwood Review, and other hard copy and online literary magazines.

His new collection, All the Dead are Holy (Atmosphere Press, 2017) contains 52 poems on various themes ("...his Jewish and Midwestern heritage, the strains and joys of teaching and of being a student, the resilience and vulnerability of childhood...the ever-presence of evil in the world, from the Holocaust to our own time...and the experience of aging..."--from a review by poet John Palen).

The evening will include selected readings from both new books as well as an opportunity to purchase copies signed by the authors.  

WHERE:  Creative 360, 1517 Bayliss Street, Midland, MI  (Phone: 989-837-1885)
WHEN:    7:00 - 8:30 PM, Sunday, March 19, 2017

Refreshments will be provided.  This event is free and open to the public.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Upcoming Event

On Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m. I will participate in a reading in Detroit:

The 26th Annual Bernie Firestone Labor Arts Program featuring

Fiction Writer Jeff Vande Zande (author of Detroit Muscle)
Working Class Detroit Poet Ken Meisel
Detroit Poet Dawn McDuffie
Blues Legend Rev. Robert B. Jones

sponsored by The Detroit Writers Guild, Hannan Foundation,
Wayne State's Employment Labor Relations Department, Wayne State's AFT/AAUP

FREE & Open To All


Hannan Cafe, 4750 Woodward Ave, Detroit

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Guest Post by Rose Lockinger

Emotional Pain Is A Challenge In Sobriety


One of the reasons why I drank and used drugs the way I did was so that I wouldn’t have to feel. I didn’t want to feel the emotional pain of my childhood, the dysfunction of my marriage, or the guilt that I felt over being an alcoholic. So I would drink and use drugs to blot all that out, and for a brief moment, I would be able to forget how I felt and settle into the cold dark numbness that was addiction.

The thing about emotions is that they can only be suppressed or neglected for so long and then they come streaming back in with a vengeance. After years of attempting to not feel, the drugs and alcohol stopped working, and all of the guilt, pain, shame, and discomfort that I had for so long neglected resurfaced and had to be dealt with.

This was not particularly easier and a majority of my early sobriety was about learning to deal with my emotional pain and how I could heal these unseen wounds. I also had to learn how to manage the guilt that I carried into sobriety as well.

After I found healing from the pain of my past, I found that the last year, for the most part, was free of the intense emotional pain that had followed me for so many years.  This is not to say that I got off scot free there were some serious growing pains going on, but nothing that brought me to my knees like the first early months in sobriety did. That was until about 6 months ago. 

The past 6 months have been a tremendous struggle to say the very least. It is sometimes incredibly overwhelming and I have been experiencing a lot of emotional pain. To be honest, sometimes I’m not really sure what to do with it. I want to run away from my feelings and hurt but I know that I can’t, and so I am learning to feel the pain and process it when it comes.

I guess I underestimated how much of a toll my move back to Virginia was going to take on me. I knew that it was going to be difficult being back around my old haunts, having to see my ex-husband on a regular basis, and try to mend my relationship with my children, but I didn’t know how much it was going to hurt at times.

Some days I just have to sit and cry for a while, even though I would rather not, and just be in the moment with the pain. For someone like myself who for so many years tried to manage and control their life in such a way as to avoid any and all pain, this has been a tall order. I am happy to report though that I am making it through and with each twist and turn that comes I learn more about myself and more about what it means to be sober.

Being sober doesn’t excuse me from the pains of living. It doesn’t mean that I get to avoid all of the hurt and suffering that can come with being a human being. At the expense of sounding overly dramatic, life at times can be tremendously painful. It is a confusing experience to just be alive and navigate the emotions and trials that come, and I am learning this first hand for better or worse.

Something that I think may be making this experience more difficult for me than it needs to be is my resistance to the pain. This is not an uncommon thing for a person to do because truthfully who wants to experience pain, but by resisting it and telling myself such things as I shouldn’t be feeling this way, or that things should be different I do nothing but just prolong my ability to accept my current circumstances. Acceptance of the pain may not make it go away but I know that it will at least make it easier to handle.

I have also discovered another truth about dealing with emotional pain in sobriety and that is, that sometimes there is no canned answer to your problems. In recovery, I have found that we are a solution-oriented people. If there is a problem, we want a solution and we want a solution now. For some of life’s problems, there is no easy solution and the only thing that you can do is go through it and wait till it passes. Winston Churchill once summed this up nicely when he said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

I want a solution to my emotion pain. I want to be free from it, like yesterday, but I know that this is not feasible, in this moment. In order for me to work through this pain, I must work through this pain and I cannot skirt it or get around it. And as much as I don’t want to be dealing with any of this right now, I know that one day I will look back on this time period and see how it helped shape me into a better woman.

I was told once that pain is the touchstone of all spiritual growth and if that is the case then I must be growing quite a bit spiritually. In a few months time I will hopefully be writing about how I made it through one of the most difficult times in my life and from that experience I will be able to help others, but until then I am going to continue to pray, continue to go to meetings, and continue to do the best I can on a daily basis.

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

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