The intersection of travel, culture and death are at the heart of Lori Erickson’s new book, Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper.
Erickson joins host Charity Nebbe on Talk of Iowa to share her journey of confronting and contemplating death through travel. After her brother unexpectedly died and her mother moved into a memory-care facility, Erickson began exploring both her own ideas on mortality as well as ideas about death around the world.
She describes her experiences including attending the Dia De Los Muertos festival in Chicago, touring the ancient pyramids in Egypt, and meeting with the Māori people in New Zealand.
“I just kept having this overwhelming sense that there was something these people needed to teach me,” she says.
Erickson says one of the lessons she learned is that we shouldn’t hesitate to talk about the dead.
"It's a powerful way of healing our own grief and it's also a way to connect with other people because everyone has stories about losing their father or their brother or their best friend," Erickson says. "They carry those stories inside of them. When we share them there are all sorts of good things that happen. We also realize that we're not alone in this loss."
Erickson will read from her book “Near the Exit” at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.
Later on in the show, Stuttering Foundation President Jane Fraser comments on a breakthrough study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Health.
Anu Subramanian, a Clinical Associate Professor and the Director of Clinical Education in the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa, explains what the new research means for the stuttering community.
Subramanian also addresses the many common myths and stereotypes surrounding people who stutter. She emphasizes that stuttering does not stem from psychological causes and people who stutter are not any less intelligent, more nervous or introverted than anyone else.