playing off “Jackson’s Dilemma”

This embedded link entry’s title, “Jackman’s Dilemma” plays off the title Jackson’s Dilemma, a mid-1990s novel by Englishwoman Iris Murdoch.

The novel is set in both London and the rural estate surroundings of the Village of Lipcott. The nearby River Lip runs through these estates near the eponymous village. Lipcott is shown interested in family doings, much like any rural community — invested in the interest and entertainment of its attentive gossip and surmise. Much like the Upper Midwestern American town, Sinclair Lewis’s Gopher Prairie, and other rural communities like Jackman Maine, and my town-fiction, Gottheim.

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powerline letter to the editor

Below is a letter to the editor in oblique reference to the angry callout of raised fees on power in the wake of severe outages this fall and winter. I don’t think the anger would be so expressed maybe 30 years ago. But, as ever, we are in transition as a society and some voices are more strident and maybe more used to the good life than in the past. Those coming here now are more well off, many possessed of the fine second home. The image below is not that referred to in the letter. Actually it is maybe twenty years old, from the aftermath of the great ice storm of 1998. It does not show state-of-the-art equipment used to move power lines around today.

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view from the edge of elfland, part 2

Are we there yet? I appear, at least, to be dragging my verbal and metaphoric feet in working up this response to David Russell Mosley’s On the Edges of Elfland. Remember, it was a promise to try for a response. These qualifiers made a good hedge for me to hide behind.

I liked Alfred’s character. His underlying uncertainty combines with pathos in a subtle but felt sympathy. I feel with and for him. It would take another reading for me to distinguish the many characters (types) as they begin multiplying: dwarves, gnomes, elves, goblins, fairies, at least two dragons both of which Alfred slew, and hobgoblins, giants; perhaps strangest of all—humans. Continue reading

view from the edge of elfland

If I stick with a book often it becomes a friend, opening itself to me. In beginning On the Edges of Elfland: A Fairy-Tale for Grown Ups, by David Russell Mosley, I liked first the Lovely- English Inn and-Village setting by the Woodlands. This was followed with affectionate characters and story-book suggestiveness through pub tales of what went before in the village. One does not want to see this village destroyed, or even changed. To change it would perhaps destroy it. I’m not as receptive to other tropes owing to readerly familiarity, so these must be handled in a manner refreshing to my years. Parts of young Alfred Perkins’ adventures in Elfland secure my reception, other parts do not.

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Jackman’s Dilemma

Here’s a bit of small talk on small towns. Small-town America. Iconic phrase, conjuring rural state of Maine population centers. I’ve been rereading Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street about a young woman interested in remaking a small rural town in Minnesota in the early 20th century. Carol’s focus is cultural. She’s a former St. Paul librarian, initially hopeful of elevating the quality of social and cultural life by encouraging artistic and intellectual pursuits in some small town. Her own hopeful is a medical man in the town of Gopher Prairie and she is the glamour he’s hungry for, encouraging her to marry and come home with him to work the town into something wonderful through her inspiration.

“Come on. Come to Gopher Prairie. Show us. Make the town — well — make it artistic. It’s mighty pretty, but I’ll admit we aren’t any too darn artistic. Probably the lumber-yard isn’t as sumptuous as all these Greek temples. But go to it! Make us change!”

Sinclair Lewis is careful early to show Carol’s waxing, waning, waxing interest in town transformation.

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hidden life

The tree stands among a tall grove of white pine above a white lake. Resting lightly in winter, the pine reports once like a gunshot in the deep settled cold. Then, quiet is here, snow-filled silence. But next, from far upslope near the road, the distant buzz of the chipper drifts down through snowy woodland. Passing through trees comes the jingling of winch chains and great chain-dressed wheels, mixed with the gunning of a skidder. Jingling on this twitch trail cut by loggers late last week, the big skidder rumbles right down to the pine. Halting, wafting blue smoke and fumes, the skidder looses a logger.

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fellowship and fairydust

A bit of off-topic horn-tooting to let you know about FELLOWSHIP AND FAIRYDUST. They publish fan fiction and essays about the fantastic.

Finrod Finds Men is from the opening of  THE UNION OF ELVES AND MEN.

The beautiful image by Elena Kukanova depicts Finrod Felegund teaching Men through song in the elvish discovery of Eru’s other children. I wrote the first draft of the four volume book over 25 years ago.

Johnny’s Bridge receives new history

johnny’s bridge has new origins

For an example of town column news content, here’s something on “Johnny’s Bridge,” mentioned elsewhere among pages I’ve written on Maine. This is a change not in the name itself but of the history of Johnny’s Bridge. Thankfully the name remains! Newcomers have sometimes changed place names in some of our communities, made now historic transitions from, for example, Mud Pond to Starlight Pond. And some newcomers would rather have their family name, say on a road, or have some other quirky designation in place of an old settler’s name. While Bean’s Corner is still locally known as such, those “from away” may not realize this and may use the Atlas name: East Be. East Be is in fact a hamlet, so no harm done.

Johnny’s Bridge, on the other hand, has itself been replaced, rebuilt a few times, most recently last year. And still, the name remains.

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the town column

main street

The Town Column is an intimate news item found in local weeklies, historically, across the nation. Relevant, in print, it’s fortunate to have town columns continue in the age of digitization. Rural community is greatly supported by the continuing institution of the local weekly. It informs us, but also defends all other communal institutions through reportage of everything from schools, town management, churches, clubs and societies, businesses, and local entertainment. But the town columns referred to in this Green and Blue House entry are, additionally, the cozy-news source, the one that makes the reader especially welcome and participating as an individual.

In our local are many columns, each representing rural town-news, towns associated in our territorial school district.

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Thanks to the Sun Journal

Bissonnette Plumbing works unfreezing pipes

It’s said Old Age is meant to dissolve “earthly desires.” Here’s a short list of things not numbered among these desires: food, raiment (remember that word?), shelter, warmth. Kindness. Generosity. Friendship. Peace. Puppies. All these are not earthly desires, but eternal qualities, heaven’s grant.

Lately the Sun Journal’s daily issues include front-page stories about the mundane mishaps of Extreme Cold. Currently we experience in Maine nightly temps below 0°F.

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The Green and Blue House

entering the Maine metaphor

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words and images from the past

3921 kilohertz

dedicated to the better principles of ham radio

Fellowship & Fairydust

Inspiring Faith and Creativity and Exploring the Arts through a Spiritual Lens.

Rough fish in the river

Appreciating all the river has to offer

Planet Pailly

Where Science Meets Fiction

Prairie Yesteryear

Heritage Notes from the Prairie States

Andrea Lundgren

Book Coaching, Reviews, and Writing Tips

New England Nomad

All Things New England

Off the Shelf

Blog of the Marion E. Wade Center

Book Geeks Anonymous

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Letters from the Edge of Elfland

entering the Maine metaphor

Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings

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the traveller's path

The blog of L.A. Smith, writer

The Fellowship of The King

Literary Expressions of Catholic Homeschoolers and Homeschool Graduates

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