She came from a dying Rust Belt town in southeast Ohio, and I came from a famously dying Rust Belt town an hour north of Detroit. We were both oldest children, with the same letter leading our first and last name. Our birthdays were one day apart. And, we both loved Fleetwood Mac.
Why were these guys alive and my dad dead? My dad’s long game wasn’t good.
By now I should understand that when every choice starts to feel like a miscalculation, a mistake, I’m up against forces bigger than myself. Yet I was secretly, irrationally angry at them for succumbing too willingly to death without any burning or raving or raging. If they’d just tried hard enough, I sometimes thought.
Experiencing Danielle Mužina’s paintings at MadKat beside the river and the train tracks in Elizabeth was one of the first times I felt women were the subject of the sentence.
Inside the factories zinc fumes flushed out of horizontal retorts, and spread through the factories as an eerie blue powder.
So, be you a Willie fan or not, when his 90th birthday tributes show up on television and radio this weekend, remember that he has in so many ways lived all of our lives and sung all of our songs in all our towns from Pittsburgh to Denver.
The idea that non-white immigrants are, generally speaking, new to the Midwest could not be further from the truth.
Like faculty and staff at other institutions, those at Eastern Illinois University face an administration that continues to operate as if austerity is the only way. Yet upon closer examination, the University finances reveal a different story.
What had I expected to find here, in this place named for another religion’s saint? This was a shrine to the mother of God - but not the mother of any of my gods.
Thriving creative communities can be found throughout the Rust Belt in other small- to mid-size industrial cities like Racine. Places like Sheboygan, Rockford, Peoria, Flint, South Bend, Dayton, Toledo, Canton—the list goes on.
It takes a lot of work to survive winter. It takes a lot of gear, a lot of preparations. Buying salt for the driveway, buying kitty litter for our trunks. Making sure there’s blankets and flashlights and bottled water in the car in case we’re stuck in a drift or the car won’t start when it’s below freezing.
Trent Reznor never mentioned the Johnstown Flood in his interviews on MTV, though he would’ve learned about it the same way any other Rust Belt boy does...He never mentioned that he was a rich boy surrounded by a world his ancestors got tricked into helping destroy.