Last week I posted about the production “Papermaker” (to be played on the Portland Stage). The native Maine playwright extrapolated from her interconnected book of short stories, but what inspired her to pursue the project was something largely neglected in that collection. Namely, the chief executive officer.  After writing the blog entry I recalled an early writing experience—exploring mythopoeic nonfiction in a Maine setting that would be permeated with all things Maine.

Mythopoeic nonfiction sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? The contradiction intrigued me (though there were other reasons for trying it). Something about it seems not quite possible, for I am a stickler about the term nonfiction. If, as CS Lewis once said to his friend Tolkien, myths are lies breathed through silver, shouldn’t something called nonfiction be factual, unrelated to myth? Nonfiction should be fact, factual. Tolkien addressed a poem to Lewis defending myth as truth.  Yet the challenge remains. Tell the truth (in this case without fiction), but infuse it with mythic qualities inherent in your worldview. And the truth is best told and received using structure and elements inherent in storytelling itself.

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Image from the bangor daily news


Playwright, actors tour Rumford mill for research to help them give their best performance. It would be nice to see this production, given that the setting is the town in which R. worked for 20 years. He did electrical and thermographic work in this papermill. We took the mill tour mentioned in this article on first moving here, and I’ve written about it in Maine Metaphor, and described it from a character’s point of view in Within Without of The God’s Cycle. The playwright, Monica Wood, was helpful to me during graduate studies, exchanging e-mails for one of my papers — off which I played in a couple blogging entries on living local fiction. It was very kind, as we had never met one another.  In the article she noted that simply touring the mill was an overwhelming experience for the actors, greatly informing their performances.

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what’s in a place name?

From wikipedia:

The history of the name of Maine began with James Sullivan’s 1795 “History of the District of Maine”. He made the unsubstantiated allegation that the Province of Maine was a compliment to the queen of Charles I, Henrietta Maria, who once “owned” the Province of Maine in France. 

There have been claims of equal weight given for a source of Maine’s name being its coast as distinguished from islands in the Gulf of Maine, or the coastal rise made in redounding from glacial wasting above the fishing grounds.  In other words, the Maineland.

maine place names sunjournal

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