Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Flint Profiles: Sarah Carson

I was happy to discover the poetry of Flint Expatriate Sarah Carson over the holidays. She has two chapbooks — Before OnStar and Twenty-Two — both available on Amazon.  

One of my favorites is In Buick City:
GG inherited the Buick when Mrs. Sacco died, though she hasn't driven it in years. The last time was the morning that little boy followed her home from the grocery store, acted like he had a gun in the lining of his jacket, and told her to hand over her pocketbook. Since then she's kept the car in the garage between the tool bench and the riding mower, climbing in every so often to turn on the radio or admire the chrome around the speedometer. There's a sticker inside the driver's side door says it was made downtown on Leith Street before OnStar, before the hundred thousand mile power train warranty. When Uncle Robert has nothing else to drive, he’ll come pick it up and use it to run his errands. He says he’s surprised how smooth the ride still is.  He thinks it’s cause the car gets so little use, doesn’t drive downtown on the cobblestones or around the potholes on the freeway. I think it’s just cause some things aren’t ever really as bad as they seem.
Although it's not always explicit, her experiences in Flint heavily influence her work."I was born in Flint, but raised in Flushing," she said. "Both my father and grandfather worked at General Motors, and seeing my father's experience with the factory had a huge impact on me. Many of my most vivid childhood memories revolve around the factory — whether it was waiting in traffic on 475 to pick up dad from work or visiting the factory on Take Your Daughter to Work Day or watching my dad deal with the loss of his friends who died or were seriously injured in accidents on the factory floor. After college, I moved back to Flint and lived on the South Side in the Cody School Neighborhood. I left in 2007 and moved to Chicago where I still live. My mother and I, though, are now fixing up a house in Carriage Town — Mayor Ray Brownell's old house across the street from Atwood Stadium!"

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Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.