My first grandson, John Michael Oskey was born 3/30/16.

That same week I lost a dear friend, Jo Doran, poet and Professor at NMU and Michigan writer Jim Harrison.  Coincidentally, I was reading Jim on the day before and the day of his death.

J.M. and Me

Two Hearted

My mother hated water, she said.

The leaks in the roof, the water seeping into the basement where she was nearly electrocuted once as, one foot in the water, she reached a hand out to the washing machine and found herself stuck there with current going up and down one side of her body, lucky she was, they said — since it would have been the end of her — to throw herself backward without reaching out that other hand to pry herself off.

She hated the leaks under the sink.  That dripping.

She wasn’t fond of storms and she was terrified of Grand Traverse Bay, she having never learned to swim.

She got seasick standing on the dock.

She loved good dry land and the sun.

My father whose grandfather was a steamboat captain, loved water, all forms.

I love rivers, how they seem to beckon, the hidden recesses of them that seem to match those in your mind.  I love their mystery, their movement, the deadfall, the holes you must shuffle to avoid.

I love how they change.

I love rivers.




Short and Sweet

Just a note:  We are in the process of combining lekimball.com into this wordpress site which should happen in the next week or two.  We’re excited about the changes.

I apologize for not blogging.  I spent much of the winter in Florida caring for my father who has Parkinson’s and some heart issues as well.  But he’s doing much better and spring brings optimism.  And my first grandchild, John Michael Oskey was born March 30th, and I loved being part of that experience.

My latest book Seasonal Roads was just released by Wayne State Press and I am finalizing my event schedule.  Some of it is already posted and much will be forthcoming shortly.

We are back at camp–Josh and Maggie and me– on the Little Two Hearted.  The river is up, grouse are hanging in close to the woodpile and coyotes howl in so close it raises the hair on my head–all life in the U.P. of Michigan.

All is right with the world.  I hope all is right with yours–



So, ok, I haven’t been blogging.  At all.  Nata.  And this post will be not much more than notice of my “intention to blog” which I know might not amount to much in the grand scheme of things.  But I think if I can get myself blogging, it might get myself writing and even more importantly,  allow me to engage with the day, connect it to ME.  You know the drill.

Today is one of those crisp fall U.P. days, clear, CLEAN — you can hardly believe the world could be polluted anywhere when you look out my window and see my field of wild flowers to the north.  To the east and south, I have a “sort of” scraggly lawn — sparce and interspersed with pine cones and dog excrement — that leads down the hill to The Little Two Hearted River (above), which is admittedly low this time of year.  (Things are still green.)   And as I make my way to my garden, it smells ozoney and fresh from yesterday’s rain.  It’s harvest time, time to sow what we’ve reaped, and I love the fall with it’s exquisite sadness that seems to be both an ending and a beginning.  (School started in the fall).

I dig about ten pounds of potatoes, then pluck three cucumbers and half dozen tomatoes off the vine, knowing we’re winding down on it all.

I don’t have anything really profound to say about any of that, either, other than I’m still here….

Subjects to come:  bees (wow); grandchildren (wow), bear and grouse hunting (wow), dogs (wow), friends (wow)…

Virgin post

Ok, so I’m old.  I have no idea how to blog and no idea how to publish this to my site or a friggin thing about this, but here goes.  I must also admit that blogging (like diaries) scares me because I’m afraid of two things.  One is that since I’m a writer, people will expect my brain doodles to be fabulous and at the very least grammatical– I’m a professor after all, (but please remember I’m a revisionist); and two that I’ll somehow use up all my creative juices on something trivial that doesn’t matter (though I know intellectually that it may instead get those ideas flowing).  But the older you get, the more you fret that there is a finite supply of brilliance and that you may, in fact, be nearing your quota due to shrinking gray matter.  Referring back to fear number one, my childhood diaries consisted of five sentence entries on the order of :  “Jim walked right past me on the way to my locker today and never even looked up, though he did sit behind me in Mrs. Lee’s class.”  (Or was it that other English teacher that tried to make me read my Hemingway piece in front of him that time which caused me to leave the room.)  But you get the idea.  Never anything inspired, especially since I had that five year diary (not a one year) and limited space, although I do now have a permanent record of what I did every day for those five years.

Oh, I take that back.  The diary started in 1969 and I made it only part way into 1973.  Entry March 6, 1972:  “Went to Randy’s.  Talked to Glen a whole lot… Randy asked me to go with him but didn’t.”  Then on March 13th (my birthday) this entry:  “Went to drive-in with Glen.  He gave me ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’  I love him, unfortunately.”  So nearly every entry consists of the logistics of my life with whatever boy called me that day amidst very confusing subtext about how I must have felt about them all.  And why.

This all to preface the fact that I have no idea how to blog.   And I refuse to impose lyrical standards upon myself that will then make this as demanding as writing is.   So will start in spirit of five-year diary:  It was 93 degrees today here on my spot off the grid.  I live 18 miles northwest of Newberry, Michigan on 35 acres and a blue ribbon trout stream.  Hot or not, it doesn’t get much better than that.  I will no longer have as many boyfriends to report on, but I do have my 30 year old son Josh (who has Down Syndrome) and he hangs with me daily.

Good to have a new perspective.

Enough for today.  Except to say that Northern Michigan University’s enrollment is down  and I lost my class for the Fall.  This is the university where I am (was) an Assistant Contingent Professor.  This will give me the time I need to write (and fish, by God).  (I’m presently working on a woodfire cookbook and memoir, something I’m thinking of calling The Woodfire Diaries:  Essays on Food and Similar Fallacies. Not quite it yet, but something like that)…

It will also give me time to work with Wayne State University on the production of my second novel-in-stories called Seasonal Roads to be released in April or May 2016.

I’m not certain, either, if I should address you personally as some kind of imaginary reader or just babble on.  It seems poor manners not to acknowledge your existence, so I’ll end by wishing you a glorious day.  No such thing as a bad day according to The Fat Man, one of our local D.J.’s.  Am inclined to agree.