I wrote an article for the Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago” issue on how the Chicago accent developed, and why it’s disappearing. I’ll be talking about it at 2:05 p.m. on June 25, on WGN’s John Williams Show.
Happy Anyway: A Flint Anthology is Flint at its funniest, its weirdest, and its saddest. A collection of essays and personal narratives, the book, edited by Flint writer and Belt contributor Scott Atkinson, captures an almost impossible-to-capture city. Flint is far more than the common narrative of an industrial town picking itself up after the big company that fed it left, or the victim of a horrendous public health crisis.
Happy Anyway delves into the lives and stories within the city—what it’s like growing up on the eastside or witnessing your first murder; why a certain strange hot dog could bring an entire city so much pride; what it means to finally leave a city that you love—and what it means to stay, even when bikes or jewelry or love keep disappearing.
Including work from Gordon Young, Jan Worth-Nelson, Connor Coyne, Layla Meillier, Andrew Morton, and yours truly. You can pre-order the book here.
I helped my father write this Washington Post op-ed on how decades of hostility toward Michigan’s cities led Flint to insolvency: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/02/01/rick-snyder-isnt-the-only-michigan-leader-who-abandoned-flint/
My story on Moose and Suzie Fitch, and their struggle to give away their house in Flint, will appear in The Flint Anthology, coming out this year from Belt Publishing. Here’s the announcement: http://beltmag.com/flint-call-for-submissions/.
About Moose and Suzie
Moose and Suzie now live in New Mexico, where Suzie works at Hobby Lobby, and Moose is trying to find a job in something other than construction. Moose is glad to be out of Michigan, especially now that it’s been confirmed that Flint’s drinking water has been poisoned with lead, but he worries about the young family who took the house.
The Pittsburgh toilet. Squeaky cheese. City chicken. Shampoo Banana. Chevy in the Hole. These are all phrases that are familiar to Midwesterners, but foreign to anyone living outside the region. Find out what they mean in author Edward McClelland’s upcoming book on Midwestern speech and sayings. McClelland will not only explain what Midwesterners say, but how and why they say it. His book will examine the causes of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, one of the most significant changes in English pronunciation in a thousand years. It will explain why the accents in Fargo miss the nasality that’s a hallmark of Minnesota speech. And why Chicagoans talk more like people from Buffalo than their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin. For outsiders, McClelland will include helpful chapters such as “How to Talk Through Your Nose,” “How to Hold a Conversation Without Using a Complete Sentence,” and “‘Well, That’s Different’: How to Passive-Aggressively Criticize People, Places and Things.” If you’re from the Midwest, you’ll have a better understanding of why you talk the way you do. If you’re not, well, you’ll know exactly what to say the next time someone ends a sentence with “eh?”