ANN ARBOR, MI, September 5, 2020 – Modern History Press is glad to announce the publication of Raymond Luczak’s latest book Compassion, Michigan. The short fiction book is a collection of stories reflecting LGBT themes.
Raymond Luczak is a fairly known author in the contemporary American LGBT literature with over 20 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction to his credit with various publishers. Compassion, Michigan is his first publication with the Michigan-based Modern History Press. The 16 short stories in the book explore the LGBT experiences, mainly of women characters, in the small Michigan town of Ironwood. The stories depict the social realities influencing different life choices, many of them challenging and life-transforming, of the characters in Ironwood. The book brings its reader to the question: could we still have compassion for others who don’t share our views?
“Filled with grief and hope, bitterness and tenderness, Raymond’s collection of short stories exudes compassion for its characters and their environs,” says author Chris Stark about Compassion, Michigan.
Luczak has more to share about the content of his book and the real life experiences and observations that inspired the compassionate mode unifying these stories. The book, he says, started with the story “Stella, Gone” that was finished in late March 2017, and its inspiration goes all the way back to his childhood memory of the lovable taste of orange sherbet at an ice cream parlor across the street from Carlson’s Supermarket in Ironwood.
“The experience of growing up Deaf in a large hearing family is definitely there in the book’s first and last stories, and there is a story somewhat inspired by an aunt who had a child born out of wedlock,” says Luczak. He goes on to share that the story “The Ways of Men” was directly inspired by reading in a memoir somewhere a very brief description of a trans man who regularly rode the streetcar in Ironwood during the 1920s.
Compassion, Michigan notably features women/female lead characters. As Luczak explains, this focus of the book on the female gender happens to be an act of authorial balancing. Since his previous collection The Kinda Fella I Am had focused solely on the disabled gay male experience, he thought it was time to try something else, something different.
At the same time, though, he relates the growing experiences of women in a male-dominated society to his own experience of growing up with hearing impairment among people with normal hearing.
“Women have always fascinated me in the sense of their unfortunate second-class citizenship in our male-dominated society because as a Deaf person, I too have been treated very much like a second-class citizen by hearing people.”
Modern History Press Founder and Publisher Victor R. Volkman tells that his press has featured books by other LGBT writers (#ownvoices) which address both fiction and memoir including the Lambda Literary Award Finalist Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation by Chris Stark and Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir by Sherry Quan Lee. Luczak’s stories too have previously appeared in U.P. Reader #4 (2020) and other volumes published by the press.
“Since our inception we have kept our focus on allowing marginalized voices to be heard,” says Volkman.
About the Author
Raymond Luczak grew up in Ironwood and Houghton, Michigan. He is the author and editor of 24 books, including Flannelwood (Red Hen Press), The Kinda Fella I Am (Reclamation Press), and the award-winning Men with Their Hands (Queer Mojo). His next title will be Once Upon a Twin (Gallaudet University Press). A ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee and an inaugural Zoeglossia Fellow, he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit his website https://www.raymondluczak.com/ to learn more about his work.