Books are projected to be in print by August 1, 2015!

In this inspiring and funny memoir, the author shows us what it was like to grow up in Michigan’s magnificent land of lakes, rivers, and iron ore. Laughing Waters takes us through joys and tragedies such as one family’s loss of their father in a mining cave-in. At the same time, it reminds us of the strength in sharing family values, recipes for good food, and laughter…always laughter!

This is the author’s third book of memories of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and follows The Wishing Years and A Tree Grows in Trout Creek.

Books are projected to be in print by August 1, 2015!
(You may order now, if you wish. Books will be shipped as soon as available.)

Payment Options:
1) Pay with PayPal here: http://wildwoodpress.org/order-books/

2) Or send personal check or U.S. Postal Service Money Order for $15.00 + $4.50 for media shipping to: Coralie Johnson, 1112 S. Durand, Jackson, MI 49203.

(Make checks payable to: Coralie Johnson.)

New Book—LAUGHING WATERS—Coming Soon!

Life, Love, and Laughter
Along the Great Waters of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

Laughing Waters, by Coralie Cederna Johnson, is the author’s third memoir of growing up in the magnificent Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The new book is due out at the end of July 2015 and follows The Wishing Years and A Tree Grows in Trout Creek.

In this inspiring and funny memoir, the author shows us what it was like to grow up in Michigan’s magnificent land of lakes, rivers, and iron ore. Laughing Waters takes us through joys and tragedies such as one family’s loss of their father in a mining cave-in. At the same time it reminds us of the strength in sharing family values, recipes for good food, and laughter…always laughter!

Bear Facts “Gail’s grandpa gave us each a small piece of hot bear on a toothpick. And then we chewed and chewed…but it tasted like an old rubber inner tube. And it stunk!”

Walking from Camp Batawagama to the Ojibwa Burial Grounds at Chicaugon Lake, we observed the rule: “The forest belongs to the animals. Leave it untouched, as you have found it.”

Laughing Whitefish Salmon, long, fat, and joyful, swimming secretly in a hidden stream. And they appeared to be …laughing! The great Ojibwa spirit, Gitchi Manitou, had smiled upon us.

$15.00 + $4.50 Shipping

Discounts available for multiple book orders.
Email the author for quote: cjohnson@umich.edu

New Memoir by Coralie Cederna Johnson

New Memoir by Coralie Cederna Johnson

Little Bonnie Lass – Celebration of a Life

BonniejpgThough we know the end of her life is near, we share our love with her every single day. She has good days and bad days, but she is always the little trooper with an attitude who came to live with us fourteen years ago when she was just two years old.

Her hearing is gone, but she has adapted well to hand signals. She is my constant companion throughout each day. And, in the evening when my husband is at home, she is his devoted sidekick. She shares her affection equally between us, though secretly she loves him just a little bit better than she does me. But that’s okay, because she is who she is and came to us with attachments already formed with her former owners, an elderly couple who loved her, but couldn’t keep her.

Norm and Millie…I remember the day we met them and the little tyrant who would become part of our family.

“I named her Bonnie Lass…you know, like My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,” Norm said. He was smiling from ear-to-ear, while the little pooch barked wildly and circled the room as fast as she could.

“Our neighbors won’t even talk to us anymore, because of all the barking.” Millie, his wife was not laughing.

“She’s a good girl,” Norm insisted. “But this cancer is getting the best of me and we have to find a good home for her.”

“We’ll give her a good home.” I said, against my better judgment…but she was so darned cute…the tiniest sable and white sheltie I’d ever seen. I couldn’t seem to stop myself, even though it was clear the little kid was going to be a handful.

“Does she sleep in a crate?” I asked.

“Oh. sure…sure…” Norm answered. And though I wanted to believe him, I was pretty sure he was fibbing. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to question him further.

I probably should have. The first night home, as expected, little Bonnie Lass whined in her crate. Everything was new to her, so we forgave her.

But, after two weeks with no change and the other two shelties were walking around the house with long faces and droopy eyes, I began to think I’d made a huge mistake. I was exhausted. And when my easy-going husband, began to sound like a man on the brink of exasperation, I knew what I had to do.

I called my friend Carol who’d just lost her fourteen-year-old dog and told her my dilemma…did she want Bonnie? No. But she had a friend, Mary, who already had a sheltie and might be interested.

So Mary, bless her sheltie-loving heart, came to our home, took one look, and smiled. Bonnie was on her way to her new home in minutes.

“What a relief!” Jim said, and I knew I’d done the right thing.

But two days later I called Mary to see how she and Bonnie were getting along.

“She’s a doll!” Mary said.

“What about nighttimes?” I asked.

“Oh, she sleeps like a log.”

“In a crate?”

“Oh no, on my bed…I think that’s what she’s been used to.”

Two more days went by and I just had to call again.

“How’s she doing?” I asked.

“Just great!” Mary said. “She’s a wonderful dog!”

Yes, I knew she was. But now she was gone. Jim and I were watching some silly episode of Dr. Phil when the tears started creeping out of my eyes. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop them.

“You’re not crying about this show, are you?” Jim asked.

“No, of course not!” I couldn’t talk about it right then.

But next day, I called Mary again.

“How’s she doing?”

“Coralie,” Mary said, “I think we both know what needs to happen here.

“I’m so sorry, Mary.” I felt like a traitor.

“It’s okay. I totally understand. I’ll bring her by tomorrow.”

Mary walked in, unhooked Bonnie’s leash, and she was off and running…right across the living room and into Jim’s lap. Mary just laughed. “I guess we know who she really belongs to, don’t we?”

I didn’t care who Bonnie thought she belonged to! She was mine and she was home!

It didn’t take her long at all to train us. No crate; no problem. Simple as that.

We’re going to miss her terribly, when the time comes, but for now, she just keeps on barking and circling and keeping our home in a joyful state of laughter and love.

The Red Dress Diaries Is Here!

RDD Book Cover Front

* The new book is now available for purchase! Go to http://wildwoodpress.org/order-books/ above to buy using Paypal.
… or
* To pay using a check or money order, please contact Coralie Johnson through email: cjohnson@umich.edu.

RDD Book Cover Back

A Revelation and Enlightening Journey

Sacrificial Offerings back cover Sacrificial Offerings was a revelation, and an enlightening journey through history featuring strong, independent, and faith driven women. For example there is Bridget Bishop, betrayed by her husband, she is hanged for witchcraft in 1692, Gladys Aylward, who interceded on behalf of the Chinese women and the archaic practice of binding the feet of female children in the 1930 s, or Kateri Tekakwitha who entered a convent to become a nun but even then was not fully allowed to participate in the sisterhood of God because of her Mohawk background. These women defied their families, their faith, even the threat of death to do what they believed was right.
Ms. Johnson introduces these women by giving us their essence in a play of monologues representing these strong characters; she also delves into the different religions and the place of women in each. From the Spiritual Heritage of the Lakotas to Witchcraft, Santeria, and early Christianity, she discusses the pure beliefs of its followers. And with all religion, it is in the truest form where the beauty exists not the corrupt interpretations of nonbelievers.
I enjoyed the journey that Ms. Johnson took me on, and especially learning of the faith of the women she highlighted. Her discussion on the stigma of original sin and its use to discredit women through history will put you in the discussion. What do you feel about a womans subservience to man? Is second place in society all a woman can hope for? Is it truly engrained in history, religion, and society?
Ms. Johnson will have you considering all these questions but the one thing that will make the biggest impact is the strength and perseverance of these women to overcome, transcend, and achieve. And I promise, this book will give pause, but truly inspire any reader, male, and female alike.
I highly recommend Sacrificial Offerings, and so will you.
By Yolanda Renee, Author & Reviewer
Author Photo Official MD

A Dramatic Gathering of Women

Coralie Cederna Johnsons Sacrificial Offerings is an honest and inspirational glimpse into one womans search for meaning. Cederna Johnson invites the reader on her personal journey, bringing to life various women throughout history who sought leadership in their religion or simply to practice their religious or spiritual beliefs. She provides these female figures voice, absent as they are from the pages of most history books. It is through this dramatic gathering of women, primarily of the Christian tradition, that Cederna Johnson ignites a feminist questioning of the patriarchal religious tradition that has relegated women to the private sphere and left them entirely out of preaching, teaching, and interpretation of religious tenets.

After revealing tales of female religious iconoclasts, pioneers, and martyrs through vignette in the play Sacrificial Offerings, in the second half of the book, Cederna Johnson then shares reflections on various religious traditions, revealing her personal questions in the areas of religious faith, spirituality, and spaces for women within both. She asks ontological and ethical questions and examines the nature of religious authority and the conception of the divine.

The book ends with the heart-breaking story, Healing the Heart, which, although inspired by a personal tragedy, Cederna Johnson ends the tale and her text with hope: that which can be found through spiritual faith.

Dr. Jennifer L. Martin, The University of Mount Union

Jennifer

 

New Book: SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS!

 

Sacrificial Offerings Front cover

Sacrificial Offerings tells the riveting stories of twenty-four remarkable women in history. As their monologues come to life through staged performances or silent reading, we learn how they changed the world through religious leadership, acts of courage, and martyrdom. We witness their boundless capacity for love, faith, and hope. And we encounter the profound strength and amazing spirit of women through time.

Visionaries who heard a higher calling and answered by pioneering pathways for other women to follow and choose religious freedom.

Victims who were unfairly charged with crimes such as witchcraft or persecuted for holding tenaciously to their strong religious beliefs.

Victors who defied physical danger, challenged patriarchal boundaries, and dedicated their lives to their powerful beliefs in personal missions.

Sacrificial Offerings back cover

 

The RED DRESS DIARIES Cast & Director!

The Red Dress Diaries Cast & Director!

The cast gathered on March 16, 2013 for the first performance of my new play THE RED DRESS DIARIES. Here they are warming up, under the direction of Carrie Jay Sayer.

Ojibwa Indian Burial Grounds in the Upper Peninsula

Ojibwa Burial Grounds in Upper Peninsula

A few days ago I received a postcard from my dear friend Jeanne whom I’ve known since Kindergarten. We shared the same homerooms throughout our years in grade and high school in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, attended the same church and were active Thespians throughout high school. We attended each others birthday parties when we were kids and corresponded through the years as adults.

The post card I received said to watch for a surprise in the mail and have a camera on hand to take photos. So that is what I did. And what a wonderful & exciting surprise it was to discover a beautiful original oil painting of the Pentoga Park Ojibwa Burial Grounds (located a few miles from where we grew up) by my friend Jeanne. Her note said, “There is only one place this could go…It isn’t the exact shot as the picture in your bookA Tree Grows in Trout Creekbut it’s the same spot.”

I was deeply touched and thrilled to be the recipient of this memorable oil painting by Jeanne. It’s lovely to see every day this wonderful tribute to the area in which we came of age. But more important, it is the friendship of the many years our lives have been entwined that I cherish.

 

You can find more cultural information about Ojibwa/Chippewa Indians in my books:The Wishing YearsandA Tree Grows in Trout Creek, both are collections of stories of growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Wishing in the Wilds

Everyone has their wishing yearsyears filled with the wonders of growing up, the trials and tribulations of being a kid in a grown-ups world, and the unquestionable certainty that coming of age is only a distant dream that will probably never ever really come true.

Mine were spent in Michigans wild, rugged, and somewhat isolated Upper Peninsula, in a small iron mining community called Dober Location just down the hill from the rusty shafts of the Hiawatha Mine where Dad worked.

Our areas claim to famebesides iron ore productionwas the hundreds of clear blue lakes and streams teaming with trout, bass, and bluegills; the pine forests thick with deer, bear, and partridge; and the remains of abandoned Ojibway villages and burial grounds where it was rumored Indian spirits still stomped around in the woods. But, believe me, while this wonderful world of wildlife was a Paul Bunyan paradise for the male portion of the population, a girl could easily feel lost in the maze of woods, water, and world history.

Spread-eagled in a patch of sweet purple clover surrounding our potato field near a steep gravel pit, I would stare, for hours, upward into space. Wishing. The sky was the limit. I could go anywhere, do anything, be anyone I wanted. I wished I were a gorgeous, silver screen, movie queen like Lana Turner. I wished I could assume a new identity and call myself by my dreamy, made-up name, Lynette Swan. I wished I knew how to drive. I wished I were old enough to get a job scooping ice cream at Lennys Soda Bar or taking tickets at the Perfect Theater in Stambaugh. I wished I were a bird and could fly away.

Rolling over with the stealth of a spy, I would flatten myself like a snake, slither silently to the sunburned grass on the edge of the pit and watch bug-eyed grasshoppers flex their lanky green legs, then jump and spit. I wished I could live with such abandon. I wished I could take off and go rabbit hunting like Dad and my brother John whenever I felt the urge and not have to be faced with a future of fussy female things like ironing ruffled blouses, shaving legs, and plucking eyebrows into perfectly shaped arches.

Yet, prowling the aisles of Newberrys Five and Dime in Iron River with Mom, I hunted not for rabbits but for any hint of glamour that would take me away from the pines, the birchbark, and the fungi of the northwoods. Standing in fascination over the midnight blue, imitation velvet display of fake sapphires and diamonds, I became a woman of the world, a Bohemian artist, a concert pianist on world tour, not just a wide-eyed, curly-haired, broomstick-skirted girl born to the Great Lakes wilderness.

Wherever I was, I longed for adventure. I wished Mom and Dad would loosen up the apron strings. Sometimes, I wished I lived in Chicago with my grown up sister Corinne. Other times, I wished I could just be one of the guys and hang out with my brother John and his pals in their secret clubhouse hidden somewhere down by the iron ore piles, near Old Nicks, the hermits, shack.

I didnt exactly want my Guardian Angel to take a hike, but I wanted to experience danger, mystery, chance. I wished that, by some miracle, life in Dober Location, in Iron County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michiganpractically the middle of nowherecould somehow be exciting, daring, memorable. And, as it turned out, it was. Sometimes we laughed. Sometimes we cried . . .