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Alumna headlines Wellspring Literary Series


CMU Alumna Melissa Grunow reads her memoir for the Wellspring Literary Series March 20 at Art Reach. 

One week after inclement weather cancelled her scheduled trip to Mount Pleasant, Melissa Grunow embraced the nice weather and community members in attendance.

Inclement weather on March 13 forced Grunow to remain in Detroit, which postponed the author's scheduled reading as part of the Wellspring Literary Series. With no snowfall or bad roads on Monday, Grunow was able to read her work at Art Reach of Mid Michigan, 111 E. Broadway Street.

The Wellspring Literary Series is run by Robert Fanning, an associate professor of English at Central Michigan University. The events bring poets and writers to Art Reach, a nonprofit organization focused on enrichening the community by supporting artists with creative opportunities.

Grunow, a CMU alumna, is the author of the 2016 memoir, “Realizing River City.” She works a normal day job writing owner’s manuals, which does not require her to take any work home, she said.

“My evenings and my weekends are my own,” Grunow said. “I do what I love, which is reading and writing. That is how I spend my free time.”

Grunow said while growing up there was not technology available that is present today and her family did not have cable. She read books as entertainment, and that became her outlet.

After a series of failed relationships, Grunow turned to the pen and paper to express her thoughts.

“I knew that until I got in touch with what I was looking for, and what I wanted that I was never going to be happy,” she said. “I just wanted to write a book about relationships.”

Grunow was the founding editor of "The Central Review" from 2001-02 and was on the editorial staff at Central Michigan Life from 1998-2002.

A musical performance started the evening before graduate student Karli Henning read some of her recently completed poems to open. Henning holds a bachelor’s degree from Alma College and will graduate from CMU in May.

Henning said Monday’s event was her first time performing in Mount Pleasant and she spends her time trying to balance being a student, writer and student aide.

“I love what I am doing. It has taught me time management but I just take it day by day,” she said.

Henning said a lot of the inspiration for her poems comes from dealing with her mental health problems.

“I think that there is huge power in being vulnerable,” she said. “When I got to college I was in creative writing when I realized that (other writers/audience members) see being vulnerable as a strength.”

After Henning graduates, she said she is thinking of obtaining another degree, this time in teaching, because she loves working with students.

“The role I play being a student aide is like a mentor-counselor role which I enjoy,” Henning said. “Most of my students are freshmen and I enjoy having a positive impact on them.”