neighbor Ann asked me to post her letter:

Dear Editor,

Hot button political squabbles and maneuvering are more earnest and enduring than local community, neighborly caring, love of the land, and connections to local historical values.

I’ve noticed a lot of letters in The Citizen with multitudes of negative reasons for not having industrial wind turbines or for placing stringent requirements on them. Our house straddles the border of Greenwood and Bethel so we get to make vital consequential decisions on these important issues in both towns. But! when in the bedroom closet (a corner of which is in Greenwood), do I think one way? And when I’m in the living room, (Bethel) do I think another way? Absolutely not. I’m adamantly faithful in my ideological hubris no matter where I stand.

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fiction: rural town community roles

After leaving Ohio we moved a dozen times and finally got a home of our own in Maine. We need a self-cleaning house, because the down side is maintenance and cleaning. The upside is everything else. Or, we could hire a domestic.  Yes they work here in rural Maine. But they need to earn a living so that’s out for us.

oral history transcribed

How do you create a cast of characters? Start with societal roles and extrapolate with details related and unrelated to these roles. For instance, a writer has in mind a role of doctor in the community. Or shop-keeper, volunteer, lumberman, domestic, deputy, journalist, pastor, server, selectman, club-woman, and other roles, all helpful in developing characters. These roles or jobs are archetypal, starting writers on the road to peopling their novels. If you start with these in earnest, the muse may suggest quirks and morals, humors and tastes, suitable for these roles…or even carrying them off in new directions. You can also add in tiny bits you know from personal experience. So you’ll be an artisanal character quilter, taking tiny patches of incidents from life and using in mosaic to make these characters’ lives.

There are reasons for choosing roles aside from sub-creation of character. One of these is thematic.  A major theme of THE GOD’S CYCLE is small rural towns in transition.

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the old stone face of Hawthorne…

image & descriptor from wiki: The Old Man of the Mountain on April 26, 2003, seven days before the collapse. A late spring snow fell the night before.

As indicated to me by the editor, this was “in the pipeline” to be published in Books & Culture. So I was disappointed when the magazine was unexpectedly withdrawn from Christianity Today’s line late last summer. Also, I did not want B&C to go away! Ever. This entry below is part of the original essay.

A Maine writer–summering here as a youth and attending Bowdoin College–Nathaniel Hawthorne has a claim on the state. Or, maybe it’s the reverse.

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visiting the eastern uplands

image-cover-mm-visting

double-click to enlarge and read the fine print!

 

The embarrassing admission:

The editor in charge of cover text asked for a back-of-the-book description to surmount its blurb by Jake Meador.  I chose part of something from the book I particularly liked—heavily influenced by Annie Dillard. By JRR Tolkien. In the way of metaphoric memoir, the description was written in first person.  The editor’s reply? It must be third-person description. Being low energy, I gave them what you see in this cover image. And …I just wanted that passage! Here is the original unedited from inside the book:

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B. Pond

treasuries chambers

the view from swan’s ledge

 

Yes, am continuing to re-read We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich. It’s still propped up on the kitchen table. I’m not sure I want the book to end… just yet anyway. I’d like to quote her on her experience with “B Pond,” because it shows that facet of this book which I may not have well expressed in the earlier post. I’ve never seen B. Pond. I’d like to–ever since first seeing that name on the map. Rich experiences enchanted days, her reward for persisting in this enchanted visit to B Pond, year after year. She loves this pond. And I can identify with that in my own Maine experience.

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Canada, Maine

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 8.59.24 AM

It’s late and silent, up here above the little village in our town. The parade, with its historical legacy of our town’s founding, passed by many hours ago in bright morning. Our neighbors have all gone, the few houses of my little neighborhood are empty and dark down below. Everyone’s gone to a fireworks display in the next town, and Boots—the old dog—and I are winding up Deer Hill Road. On the flat up there in the dark I, too, might see the fireworks.

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Easter Sunday going home on the Gore Road

By the pond

By the pond

 

Now the road is sinking down toward a glacially carved valley, mute and somber collection of browns, overarched with blue. The long descent is daunting. I hesitate inwardly while keeping my legs in a forward motion downward. Descent, in this tired stiff body, on sore tendons, is little to complain of. It’s the return up steep hills I resist.

Then I remember the esker. Thinking now that I might write about this Easter trek, I decide that I want that esker in my experience.

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