Author brings Ludington into his stories

February 4, 2013

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Will be featured at Redolencia.
Story and Photo by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — A person can leave home, but rarely does home leave the person. This is true for Ray Nargis, who moved away from Ludington shortly after graduating high school in 1970.

Ray is an author, poet, broadcaster and a storyteller. Much of his work includes characters and events from Ludington’s past. They are stories that were told by his grandfathers, one a bootlegger turned bar owner and another a Chicago railroad man who owned a cottage on Hamlin Lake.

His stories also come from people of Ludington. One of his most recent characters is based on his father, a Ludington police officer turned C&O Railroad detective.

Ray will currently living back in Ludington and will present his work at Redolencia Coffee House in downtown Ludington on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m.

“I’m going to be telling stories from memory and excerpts from one or both of my new novels,” he says.

His latest works involve characters from Ludington.

“Railroad Earth” is a story about the historic Pullman railroad porter strike that occurred on the east coast of the U.S. Ray decided to place the strike in his fictional novel in Ludington.

“It’s a love story, it’s a hate story,” he says. “One of the characters is a really nice version of my father, though my father. The protagonist of the story is a union organizer from New York who meets a woman from the area and falls in love with her.”

Another new novel is “Into the Great Sea of the Air,” a story about a man who worked for the office of navel intelligence early in the Vietnam war. “He is based on a real person I knew from Ludington who basically worked for the CIA and interrogated people.”

Chad Rushing of Redolencia said the coffee house is trying to get more cultural activities downtown.

“We want to be Ludington’s living room,” Rushing said. “We think it’s important to bring in a variety of original art.”

In addition to graduating from Ludington High School, Ray graduated from West Shore Community College and Central Michigan University, majoring in journalism. He received his master’s degree in creative writing from Michigan State University.

He taught at various schools in Michigan before moving to Ely, Minn., where he lived until recently moving to San Francisco.

While in Minnesota, Ray hosted the radio show “The Pathways Program.” He has published several fiction and poetry books.

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