maine trade wars

Dirigo!

The Maine Trade Commission has enacted tariffs, initiating trade wars with countries around the world. Seventy nationstates have declared an embargo on coffee in wake of Maine’s recent high tariffs on State of Maine drinks-of-choice — coffee and coffee brandy. These countries have all unfairly colluded with one another to force an unacceptable deal on Maine’s most profitable mining industry.

 

 

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free ebook web coupon for UPLANDS

Friends, here’s an opportunity for us both, ongoing till the end of May.  Wipf & Stock is offering a free ebook at their site for the latest in our Maine Metaphor series, Visiting the Eastern Uplands. Visiting Aroostook. To grab the ebook–the page is HERE. At the shopping cart checkout, paste in the code word UPLANDS . Make certain you are clicking on the ebook button, not that of the hardcopy. They both have the same price (sans coupon).

free ebook with coupon, code word UPLANDS

 What is it about that word? Aroostook. “The County,” we call it in Maine. When you think of the State of Maine, maybe the quaint or upscale coastline comes to mind, ragged glacier-carved cliffs, peninsulas and islands in the Gulf of Maine. Lobsters, fisheries, boats.

Or maybe it’s mountains, the Western Mountains where we live and snowshoe. Where skiing, hunting, fishing, hiking and getting lost in the woods all come to mind. The terminus of the Appalachian Trail is at the top of our Greatest Mountain, Katahdin.

What we don’t think of is farmland, homegrown nourishment, Canadian borderlands, and …the Amish. Also, we don’t think of Ohio.

I recall my astonishment the first time I saw an Amishman in Maine. He was standing on the mezzanine in L.L. Bean’s, famous outfitter of outdoorsmen and women.  This anomaly, wearing signature Amishman’s hat and beard, stood quietly observing. Everything. Everything in the hustle of shoppers shopping. I stopped shopping, gazing at him in his survey. The difference in our gazes? Mine, I’m sure, was one of astonishment.  His was not.

A word is a tiny thing, a written word.

What mystery is housed in the word forest?  Evergreen boughs upturned in mist, crowned with cones. And breathing leaves. Try the word Story itself.

 

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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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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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Maine. Recommended Reading

The House that Jacob Built (New York: William Morrow, 1947). Maine, as everywhere, is in transition but this gives a solid reading experience of the Maine way.

Some books I’ve enjoyed, not in order of preference:

The Walk Down Main Street; and also The Spoonhandle, by Ruth Moore.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo. I disagree completely with this Maine play on the Columbine shootings.  Schools in each situation are not comparable, nor does he get the socio-economic level right in regards to the shooter. I do not think it would happen so in Maine, even today (18-21 years later). But other than that he gets much right and this, as HBO production, is good, I think. I’m fairly sure I read the book, too, but the show images are much stronger in my memory. Take care in these kind of media passes.

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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. So I’ve some trenchant thoughts to share at the special town meeting upcoming.

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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