|1996 was the first year for the Northern Michigan Journal. Like most first years of anything, '96 was fraught with obstacles and mistakes: We started out calling it Northern Michigan Magazine, but were soon informed by Traverse: Northern Michigan's Magazine (which we had believed was just "Traverse: The Magazine") that this was unacceptable. Ever try to think of a new name for something you have already named? "Billy, we're going to have to start calling you Fritz..." Anyway, we made it through that one and others as well.
The year also held moments of joy. Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis not only allowed us to run a piece from It's Raining Frogs & Fishes, but further honored us by allowing the excerpt of a full chapter of their new book, The Bird in the Waterfall, the first publication, on or offline!
We accomplished a lot in '96 and are ready to surpass ourselves in 1997, but before we move on, we want to give you this guide to the first year of NMJ...and tell you we hope to be doing the same in 20 years.
On Febuary 11th of 1996, Editor (and publisher and web monkey) Andrew McFarlane wrote:
"Welcome to the inaugural issue of Northern Michigan Magazine, a magazine that will be unlike any other. As I've read through the pieces in this issue, they have become a part of the way I look at winter. When I shovel and the wind howls, I hear Duncan Sprattmoran's thoughts on this battle between man and nature...On our evening walks, when our footsteps squeak and the sled with our daughter Kenyon is a little harder to pull, I know from Jerry Dennis and Glenn Wolff's piece on snowflakes and crystals the reason for this. And finally, at the end of a very long week full of deadlines and rushing about, I feel the satisfaction of labor completed and wish that Steven Schwarz was cooking in my kitchen instead of his own and that the Boyne River Brewing Company--and a draught pint of their Lake Trout Stout--was just a little bit closer.
On March 15th came our second issue and first as the Northern Michigan Journal:
Cabin Fever was the theme, and we attempted to offer some solutions to and some observations of this chronic northern Michigan ailment. Walking around has always worked best for me, while listening to music works for others
Caleb Duncan, a high school junior, did the cover artwork.
With our Rivers issue, Jim Rink sort of set the tone for the editorial philosophy of NMJ with A Condo Runs Through It. We can't deny we're promoting Northern Michigan, but we like to think it's more than that: We're promoting a vision of the region. Someone asked me recently what the "theme" of NMJ is. Rather than duck the question, I thought and replied: "It's about a place we love and keeping it that way." The issue also marked our first Northern Michigan Artist Profile.
The cover photo is of Otter Creek, site of the vanished town of Aral.
Islands are a daily presence for many in the region. An archipeligo of islands stretches from the Manitou Islands at the south up through the Fox Islands and Beaver Island and its many smaller brethren. The Leelanau Conservancy joined our contributors with a piece on Northern Michigan's most hapless island: Gull Island and aerial photographer Jim Anderson offered some views of the region from above.
The cover comes from a dream pillow by Annie Danziger of Aurora Borealis
With our Trails issue we hoped to accomplish a few things. Our live webcast of the Sleeping Bear Classic fell victim to a shortage of sponsors. Trail Trouble, an attempt to try to bring some common ground to a divisive issue (the Leelanau Trail) met with more success. We hope that 1997 brings more like this one. The Alpena News sent the first of their pieces, Hiking Northeast Michigan, bringing a view from the other side of Northern Michigan.
The cover is a rather (in retrospect) amusing story: At about 30 minutes to publication, the cover photo was found to be missing! A quick trip with the video cam to Indiana Woods in Leland provided the cover.
On July 19th, Editor Andrew McFarlane wrote:
"Summer in northern Michigan and the only thing thicker than the mosquitos are the artists, the joke goes..."
There are a lot of artists in the region, in every town and every medium. We interviewed Glenn Wolff and introduced music reviews, poetry and original fiction as well.
On the cover is a watercolor by NMJ writer, poet and painter Duncan Sprattmoran.
Our wind issue blew in at the end of August, and contained a divergent mix of features loosely based on the wind theme, from the serious applications to the downright silly. We rode the wind with the schoolship Inland Seas, read of wind in a full chapter of The Bird in the Waterfall, heard from the area's favorite maritime band Song of the Lakes, and took a speculative trip back in history in search of the treasure of the Westmoreland.
On the cover is a photo of Traverse City Light and Power's wind turbine.
There's nothing like a good ghost story, and this issue had a few of them:
The Piano by Jim Rink
Is the Traverse City Opera House haunted? Jim checks it out.
Two Tales from Mystic Michigan by Mark Jager
One of our most popular features -- explore Michigan's myth and mystery.
Captain Jay and the East Wind by Molly Grosvenor
A South Manitou Island ghost story -- loosly based on fact.
Trick or Treat by Andrew L. McFarlane
A webmaster's experience on a Halloween night in the future.
NMJ Book Review: The Echoes of L Arbre Croche
Learn about the Indian Drum, one of the region's best ghost stories.
The cover was produced by firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cover is a photo of Leland,
Michigan on Christmas Eve 1995.
Our last issue of 1996, gifts of the season looked like this:
Too Big For Boxes
Molly Grosvenor writes of a gift that everyone can open...
Flight of the Reindeer
A review of Time-Life's seasonal hit featuring northern Michigan artist Glenn Wolff
Mike Modrzynski of the Alpena News with a northern Michigan Folk Art legend.
The House at the End of the Road
A different kind of Christmas Story.
Seasonal thoughts from Jim Rink
NMJ Poetry by James Mitchell
Holiday Music Picks
What we'll be putting under the tree this year
Gwen Foor writes of her grandmother's most priceless gift.
Trials and Tribulations of an Online Shopper.
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