The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Elizabeth Berg visits Morenci 6.24.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

There were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd when author Elizabeth Berg visited Stair Public Library Saturday afternoon.book.sign.berg.jpg

But the appeal of the nationally-known novelist went far beyond Morenci. Every city in Lenawee County was represented, plus a few from Fulton County to the south. Albion to the west, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Saline to the north. Sylvania, Lambertville, Erie and Toledo to the east. Even as far away Auburn Hills, Royal Oak and Pinckney.

Nearly 150 people came to hear Berg read from a book and answer questions, and many of them stood in line afterward to have her autograph a book.

Berg read from her latest book, “Home Safe,” about a girl who grows up to become a prolific writer, while putting up with her meddling mother.

“Now I had to do a lot of research to find out how mothers behave in that way,” Berg joked.

Of course she never acted that way with her own daughters, she said.

Berg described “Home Safe” as her most autobiographical book. It started off as a difficult story to produce because for the first time she was really having trouble writing.

“It was driving me crazy,” she said. “It was like I had lost my best friend.”

Eventually the story broke through and like all of her stories, she said, it contains a dose of pathos along with humor.

Berg was asked when she first started writing and she traces that back to a poem she submitted to “American Girl” magazine.

“It was rejected and it should have been rejected.”

And she became dejected because at the time she thought it was a wonderful poem. She didn’t write again for 25 years, long after she was involved in a career in nursing.

She sees the medical profession as great preparation for writing—an excellent way to get to know and understand people.

An audience member asked Berg how she organizes her thoughts in the writing process. Once she gets the germ of an idea, the book tends to write itself, she said.

She typically writes the first 20 or 30 pages, reads it over and notices that it appears somewhat “wobbly” at first. Before long, however, the story starts to flow and she feels like a secretary writing it all down.

She thinks her first book, “Durable Goods,” is still her best and it took the least amount of time to write—just a few months.

She urged writers in the audience to “honor the intent” of their story and take as much time as necessary to finish and finally let it go.

But overwriting, she cautioned, can take the life out of a story.

She once wrote an entire book and in the end, didn’t like it. She put it aside but eventually returned to it and reworked it. The story was “Open House,” the novel that became an Oprah Book Club selection.

How did the Oprah choice change her life? She went from living in a small condo to buying a big house.

It validates your work in a way, she said, but it’s a mistake to think that every subsequent book will sell. Many readers won’t remember your name, Berg said. It’s only the Oprah selection that drives readers to the store.

Berg admitted, sadly, that she doesn’t write for herself anymore. No journals, few letters—everything is directed to her fiction.

An audience member wondered if writers retire or if they simply run out of ideas. Berg believes the ideas always keep flowing.

“You’re a writer because you have a different way of looking at the world,” she said.

Writers continue to be observers. Once a writer, always a writer, she said.

What did Katie Nash grow up to be? someone asked.

Nash was the focus of Berg’s first book and made a later appearance in “Joy School” and then again in “True to Form.” Berg thought she directed readers to the girl’s future in “True to Form,” but it wasn’t clear to that audience member.

“That second book came after someone asked for another book to follow up on Katie,” Berg said. “Well, maybe I’ll have to write another book.…”

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