Nimrod author releases third book; will speak in Perham Feb. 7
In the woods south of Nimrod, Minn., the Crow Wing River wraps around Jerry Mevissen’s 50-acre homestead, a tranquil base for penning tales about life in small town Minnesota.
“This place is so inspirational,” the 81-year-old author said last Friday afternoon, amid a crackling fire, as he gazed out his tall windows toward the river. “I’ll never tire of that.”
His dog, Princess Sofia, keeps him company, along with his many friends. His Haflinger horses, Mocha and Cino, and some Scottish Highland cattle, help keep him busy.
“I’m an outdoors guy,” Mevissen said.
There’s no television. Instead, he spends much of his time writing – at least one short story each month.
Mevissen will be in Perham to talk about his latest book, “Good Shepherd,” on Friday, Feb. 7 from 5-7 p.m. at the History Museum. The book is a collection of 12 short stories, each involving a different resident of the fictional Good Shepherd Assisted Living Center in Browns Prairie, Minn.
A child of the Great Depression, Mevissen lived throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin during his youth. He started working at Honeywell before getting his degree from the University of Minnesota. Spending most of his career in marketing, he retired in 1987 after more than 36 years with the company.
His transformation into an author coincided with his move to the Nimrod area about 14 years ago. Around that time, he enrolled in a creative writing class at Normandale Community College.
“I took that class and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, and in one semester I wrote three two-inch notebooks full,” he said. “I still have them.”
One short story was good enough to win a contest. It’s included in one of his previously published books, “Broken Hart,” released in 2007.
Mevissen’s Normandale instructor told him that he should keep writing and suggested he take classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. He took the advice.
About that same time, he turned a personal tragedy into another avenue for his art. After a good friend died suddenly while ice-fishing, Mevissen wrote a short story in his honor. Unable to muster the composure to read it at the prayer service, he asked Tim Bloomquist, editor of the Sebeka Review-Messenger, to print it.
Bloomquist liked it so much, he offered Mevissen a job. Thus began “The Nimrod Chronicles,” a column which ran in the paper for three years. Later, those columns were parlayed into a book of the same name, published in 2005.
Mevissen said “Good Shepherd” demonstrates his increasing maturity as a writer, with a stronger flow than his previous works.
“It’s a quantum leap,” he said.
He credits the improvement to his editors and peer review from his fellow authors. He meets monthly as a member of the Jack Pine Writers’ Bloc group, in Park Rapids.
“Good Shepherd” is available at the museum gift shop, as well as at An Open Book in Wadena, the Nimrod Bar and Grill, the Sebeka Review-Messenger and Book World in Park Rapids and Baxter. All three of his books may be purchased online at jerrymevissen.com.
Bryce Haugen, Forum News Service