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
"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
"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