Life In The Rust Belt: Author Eliese Colette Goldbach To Visit The Library

At 29-years-old, Eliese Colette Goldbach never expected to be wearing a hard hat, operating a crane, or driving a forklift. In fact, working at the ArcelorMittal Cleveland mill was never part of the plan. As a high school graduate, she was destined for the convent and life in a religious order.

Her youthful faith took a blow when she was sexually assaulted in college and soon after diagnosed with bipolar disorder. With a dose of the rust belt resolve that runs deeply in Cleveland, Goldbach looked for a new career path. The promise of a high-earning paycheck brought her to the unlikely vocation as a steel worker.

Like most Cleveland natives, she had passed by the orange flame of the steelyard for years without a second thought. It wasn’t until she was inside the belly of the mill that she that realized the world it represented. What outsiders saw as a sign of pollution symbolized a booming business and a healthy economy to those inside the mill walls.

With the contentious 2016 election as a backdrop, her memoir reflects on her life inside and outside of the mill. As a young liberal female in a male-dominated industry, her ideology was vastly different from her blue-collar conservative counterparts. But according to Goldbach, “There was no division so great that it could eclipse the unity that had been forged in the light of the mill’s orange flame.”

Goldbach is a graduate of Saint Augustine Academy, the current site of Lakewood Catholic Academy. After graduating from John Carroll University, she received an M.F.A. in nonfiction from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Western Humanities Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Best American Essays 2017. She received the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Award and a Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant from the Ohioana Library Association, which is given to a young Ohio writer of promise. She now works at John Carroll University and lives in Cleveland.

Goldbach will discuss her debut book, Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium. Books will be available for sale and signing.

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Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 10:32 AM, 03.04.2020