About Me

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My hometown of Benson—with about 3,500 mostly-Scandinavian souls—sprouted up along the Great Northern railway line. It’s a western Minnesota prairie town, but just a few miles to the north a glacial moraine shapes rolling terrain. My fascination with landscapes—in literature, in art, and as a traveler—began in that place.

In 1967, I left the prairie to attend Augsburg College on the West Bank of the Mississippi, in Minneapolis. Then I met my husband-to-be, Dick Cain, in 1974. We resided with his three children in White Bear Lake, a suburb of St. Paul.

We moved to Minnesota’s Northwoods, near Grand Rapids, in 1978. We slept in tents and cooked in an 8’x 8’ shack while we built our small log home. Dick and I lived there for almost thirty years, hauling water and heating with wood. We left for one year, in 1988-89, because we wanted to live (not just travel) abroad. So we got jobs teaching English in Madrid, Spain. Then we set out to explore areas of France, Denmark, Norway, and Ireland.

Ten years after our return from Europe, the first signs of Dick’s memory loss began to appear. In 2007, we moved to Grand Rapids. In 2013, I had to move him to an assisted living facility. He died on October 30, 2015.

Thirteenth Street in Benson, Minnesota. My mother grew up on this street—and so did I during the first eight years of my childhood. 

I’ve been a laundry maid, a candle factory worker, a billing clerk, an editorial assistant, and a secretary. In my work as a freelance writer and college English instructor, my BA in American Studies and my MA in English have served me well.

In 2014, I began writing a series of essays. I wanted to explore interior landscapes—of the mind and of the heart—as dementia made its way into our lives. I received a Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) grant to initiate Love in the Time of Dementia: A Memoir in Essays. I was awarded a second MSAB grant in 2017, which enabled me to work with an editor/mentor, Patricia W. Francisco. I also received two Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Fellowships, in 2015 and 2018.

I have participated in intensive writing workshops with the essayists Scott R. Sanders and Carol Bly. An essay of mine, “Listening for the Esker’s Song,” was published in a University of Minnesota Press anthology, North Writers II.

I’ve walked many varied landscapes in my literal and literary travels. I’m an avid but haphazard reader. My quiet life is filled with reading, writing, walking, gardening, cooking, listening to music, singing in the Itasca Community Chorus, and serving on the Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission.

Anne-Marie Erickson

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