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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Green and Blue House

entering the Maine metaphor

vintageinkstand

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

I cannot live without books. - Thomas Jefferson

Letters from the Edge of Elfland

entering the Maine metaphor

Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings

A weekly blog exploring the wisdom of The Lord of the Rings

the traveller's path

The blog of L.A. Smith, writer

The Fellowship of The King

Literary Expressions of Catholic Homeschoolers and Homeschool Graduates

sartorias

A topnotch WordPress.com site

asakiyume mita

A topnotch WordPress.com site