Rockin’ the RIC Sunday, Aug 30 2009 

ricpupdogSince every picture tells a story, here are approximately 5000 words of text from the People’s Arts Festival this weekend at the Russell Industrial Center here in the D. [Photos: Rick Lieder.]redbeertreetrendy


What we learn and how we learn it Monday, Aug 24 2009 

I first learned of what happened to Alex Merrill from Lee Wind’s excellent post.  You can read more about the harassment Alex endured from two teachers in his school, and its outcome, here.

I wonder what the students of these teachers – all the students – will take away from this situation? I wonder how it will shape their attitudes toward life, toward the others they meet and work with, interact with, live beside?  I wonder how many drops of poison it takes to alter a young person’s mind so thoroughly that it may take years to wear the stain away?

I think with gratitude and relief of all the open-hearted teachers I know.  These two nauseate me.

Our word for today . . . Sunday, Aug 23 2009 tenacity. We needn’t make an inspirational poster out of this (though it seems to have made one out of me), but – wow.  Hang on, hang on, even through erosion and the elements, and you will be astonished by the view.

My secret vice Friday, Aug 14 2009 

OK, it’s not a secret anymore, and I guess it’s not really a “vice” per se, but I’m just loving the research (by which I mean long, elaborate Google searches of Victorian dress details, gathering and reading (and sometimes rereading) old nursery rhymes/epitaphs/graveyard lore etc.) that seems to float between Planchette and the Under the Poppy stage adaptation and … perhaps I’m just hooked on the past?  Whatever.  Handy Spandy Jack-a-Dandy here knows how to roll, baby. And you know he didn’t pay for that cookie himself.handyspandyjackadandy

On Brooklyn Street Sunday, Aug 9 2009 


1413 Brooklyn St., if you want to be exact, which we did so we could go to Ladels Children’s Book Boutique, in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit.  So we did (hi, Connie!).  And you should too – not only because it’s a destination bookshop, and you’d be supporting a fine indie in a cool city, but because it’s fun.  And because you love to read.  And because of the giraffe. (If you need still another reason, Mudgie’s is next door, to refresh the corporeal chamber of the inner you.)

Culling the “nerd”, or Oh god! My child is different! Friday, Aug 7 2009 

I don’t really look at parenting magazines anymore, and an article I found yesterday in one of them – no, we’re not going to give it any linkage – makes me glad I stopped.  It purports to advise worried Mr. and Mrs. Middle of the Road, who can remember the “kids who just didn’t fit in at high school,” and fear that their own child … might be … a nerd.  What to do? Force-feed the kid a soccer ball? Take away those awful eyeglasses? Or you could “encourage” your child to “blend in” – because who wants to be a lump in the deliciously bland gravy of Life, right?

What a load.  Parents, if your child’s “difference” makes you nervous for his/her well-being at school, why not confront the ones who are doling out the “harsh treatment” and “teasing”- and the adults who are turning a collective blind eye –  instead of trying to impose Camo Personality on little Brittany or Josh? And kids, all you smart, skewed, lovely different ones – you already know the secret, you just have to get out of the gulag. Please pass the isotopes. I’ll see you in the Big World Outside.


If the shirt fits … Sunday, Aug 2 2009 

OaklandT… and it does, in both a physical and metaphysical way: so voila! Thanks again, Linda Pavonetti and Jim Cipielewski, for having me in your class at Oakland University. And the student evaluations you shared were a great pleasure –

“Kathe Koja is the most challenging young adult author I have read to date.”

“Koja forced me to ‘reexamine that intense, bewildering, exhilarating age’ where friendships are made, and lost, and I suppose I did not really want to go there.”

“Kathe [Koja’s] novels spoke to me in a way that few novels have ever been able to do.”

“Thank you for challenging my thoughts and awakening my voice as a book selector.”

– so thank you, students, for your opinions and ideas, questions and impressions, memories, criticism and praise: thank you for reading the books I wrote. Writing is a solitary business, but with readers like you, it can never be a lonely one.