Author has plenty to write home about - 02/09/05
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News from Royal Oak, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Madison Heights, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Hazel Park, Clawson

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Author has plenty to write home about

Royal Oak resident's new book is a collection of essays about the joys of everyday life.


L Ferle

Writing Home

Author: Cindy La Ferle

Cost: $16.95

Publisher: Hearth Stone Books

Where: Available for ordering through local bookstores, Partners Book Distributing, Inc., or at

Profits: Donated to homeless

shelters in Oakland County

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ROYAL OAK -- Helping people find "the sacred in the suburban" is a goal of Cindy La Ferle's new book.

"Writing Home," La Ferle's new book, is out in bookstores this week. It is a 300-page collection of 93 essays dealing with the joys and challenges of everyday life.

"My goal is to inspire others to be mindful of their lives at home," La Ferle said. "Everything that happens in our kitchens and living rooms has a ripple effect on the rest of our world. We need to discover the sacred in the suburban."

The book is drawn from some 500 essays La Ferle wrote for local and national publications from 1992 to 2004.

"Some of my essays from that time were one-shot deals," La Ferle, 50, said recently at the Vinsetta Grill. "The essays in this book are the pieces I want to live with, the ones people have told me they enjoyed."

One is "Thrift Shop Angel," a story recounting a stranger's generosity. La Ferle had been shopping in a thrift store bargains on designer clothes when she saw a shopper cautiously approach the cash register with an item. When the clerk told her that the item wasn't on sale, the shopper said she couldn't afford to buy it. That's when another shopper cheerfully stepped up to buy it for her.

"Sometimes we think, if I can't do something big, then I won't do it at all," La Ferle said. "But we have to stop worrying about the size of venue. It's a cliche, but I think it's true: Bloom where you are planted. You don't know who you touch by what you do."

La Ferle grew up in Clawson. After college, she married Doug La Ferle, and they moved to Royal Oak in 1983. For three years, she balanced motherhood with a career as a magazine editor. But when the magazine folded, she decided to stay home to care for their young son and write columns part time for local newspapers and national publications. Her first book, "Old Houses, Good Neighbors," was published in 1994.

With her new book, La Ferle is focusing not only on life at home, but also on those without a home. She is donating her book profits to homeless shelters in Oakland County. One of those is the South Oakland Shelter.

"We're very thankful that she thought of us," said Monica Duncan, executive director of SOS. "It's a very thoughtful and compassionate thing to do, especially with the high demand for our services right now."

"When I was putting this book together at Thanksgiving time, I just felt grateful," La Ferle said. "You never get rich publishing essay collections, but I realized a lot of people in our community are homeless and don't have what I have. And I wanted to give back. That's what matters to me about this book. It doesn't have to win a prize."

Cindy Hampel is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.

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