Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Michigan Notable Book Author in South Lyon

Doreen Hannon and Donna Olson
South Lyon, Michigan recently hosted a
Josie Kearns and Joe Matuzak
Pulitzer Prize-winning author for a talk and book signing. David Maraniss' newest book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story is one of 20 Michigan Notable Books for 2016. Chosen by the Library of Michigan each year, this year's authors are visiting 50 libraries throughout Michigan during April, May, June.

I was in The Lyon Theatre, listening. How did this extraordinary event happen? A notable book author in South Lyon?

Dedicated people made this happen.

South Lyon has a 3-year-old Cultural Arts Commission and the commissioners are working to bring more arts and humanities to South Lyon. Pictured lower left is Josie Kearns, South Lyon Cultural Arts Commission.

Ten months ago Donna Olson joined staff as Adult Services Department Head. SSLDL became a Michigan Center for the Book (Library of Michigan) affiliate. You can meet Donna at SSLDL. Her enthusiasm is catchy and her smile is instantly recognizable (see pic top right.) Doreen Hannon, SSLDL Director (pictured top left) brought Donna to our library from Howell Carnegie District Library.

The Michigan Humanities Council has used surveys in the past after cultural events. In connection with SL CAC, Joe Matuzak, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (pic bottom right) volunteered to help design a survey for before events. Not how did you enjoy what you just experienced, but what experiences would you like to create?

And David Maraniss came to the South Lyon Theatre for a free presentation. Thanks to all the entities mentioned in the Hometown Life news article. These encounters, free to the public, are brought to you by the Library of Michigan, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Humanities Council, the Library of Michigan Foundation, Meijer and the Michigan Center for the Book. Kudos, all!

I have, and will continue to, personally thank Doreen Hannon, Josie Kearns, Donna Olson and Joe Matuzak. You can too, whenever you see these energetic and involved people in South Lyon.

Our library is a living member of the community. Arts and art events make it breathe, and the heart of our town, dedicated to bringing more memorable cultural events to South Lyon, is a marvelous working engine.

You can be involved in this endeavor, this cultural renaissance. What would South Lyon residents like to see more of in town? You can share your thoughts here through the end of June. You can participate in events scheduled as as each occurs by checking the South Lyon Cultural Arts Commission website, the City of South Lyon website, and the Salem South Lyon District Library site. I just created a South Lyon folder on my bookmark toolbar. I'm so proud of us!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How I Am A Patriarchy Enabler

A guy brought a flamethrower to the garden. Already that sounds bizarre. He began his stated intention to use it on the entire 60 feet of his section of community farm, but his nozzle broke. I smelled the burn before I saw it. Shocked, I brought another man over to take a look at it. Was this an accident? Nope. Looks like he used weed killer and then started to burn the poisoned field. The guy I asked sounded impressed, called it a controlled burn. The farmer across the way told me about the failed nozzle. He was okay with it. I went to city hall to ask about flamethrowers in public gardens, and got more of the same from the fire chief. To be clear, there is no burning allowed within city limits. But all the men were fine with it. Including my father's home health worker. Doesn't see what the problem is. And my father was okay with telling me that his HHW was okay with it. I'm tangled up in this flaming stuff. Who even thinks of flamethrowing a garden? Guys. I looked at a site that sells these things, and the video shows the outfitted flamer setting fire to couches, a car with paint cans on top. What's it good for in the text? Clearing land. Getting rid of pesky insects.

Herein lies the enabling piece: the guy who knew that no one would object to him torching the ground. The fire chief who knew he could get rid of the woman at the desk who approached him to ask the question (and he tried to shoo away). The me standing there in my dirty coveralls insisting he deal with this. That ended in him handing over his card, and dismissing me with "call me, ma'am, if you have any other questions." Scram, li'l lady.

We did this. I've done it. By not speaking up. By playing along to get along. By not reporting that boss who threatened me with my job if I didn't sleep with him on a business trip. By raising children who are entitled, and dismissive of those who question that privilege. By not teaching and insisting that people in our lives abide in community with all others.

My dad pitches in with any household duty only when he knows I'm pissed. Then there's a perfunctory and short-lived effort. He sits at the table waiting for dinner to appear in front of him, and watches me cook. Then I put dinner on the table in front of him. And I stew. This is how he was taught to operate in the world. Women are taught to put the dinner on the table. And not stew. Patriarchy isn't good for any gender. Men go to war because that's how supremacy and colonialism works. Guns are an epidemic in America because of patriarchy.

And gardeners are fine with flame-throwing a garden plot. I wasn't going to pursue this. I was going to swallow it, and tamp down the corresponding flame in my belly. Why? Because I am afraid of retaliation. Because that's another thing patriarchy encourages. Women understand early in life the consequences of speaking up and out. Patriarchy counts on that mightily. When we don't speak, when we are silent and afraid, we are enabling the flamethrowers of the realm to run our world.