CHRONICLE editor Lee included words about the village school in his collection of Maine writings. The educator Mary Ellen Chase writes of the old-time two-room school she attended as a child. She points out the flaws of the “system”; reuse of old books, obsolete maps, “harassed and overworked,” teachers. And she tells of its strengths: “pride in learning well,” “solidarity of outlook” and the instillation of morally strengthening ideas. In this little world of learning, perhaps considered narrow and barren by some today, a love of learning flourished in Mary Ellen Chase as she glimpsed learning at levels higher than her own. Learning was something mysterious and wise, as she saw in “the beauty and order of common fractions” that an older student had transcribed on the board. In this I find the idea that knowing is not as enlivening as the process of learning. Once the thrill of revelation wears off, one wants to proceed through the process of learning afresh.
My favorite selection in a particular book was written by Robert P. Tristram Coffin. So good were his words that I did not want to come to the end of them. His subject was “Cathedrals of the North,” a celebration of the Maine barn and the “worship” that is performed therein. He speaks of the fullness of summer being brought into the barn and stored against the leanness of winter. It is fed there to the patient beasts under the farmer’s care.
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.
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.
Here is some of what Nancy Jacob put up on Facebook today.
“Incense and volcano smoke, Floats carried on human shoulders, Procession going from early morning to late at night and seen from a rooftop.”
Images made by Maine artist Nancy Jacob in Guatemala and used here with permission. If you like, you can befriend Nancy on Facebook. She is the Nancy Jacob wearing a USA flag dress.
For our contemplation.
In this image the Lord Jesus is being ministered to by an angel as He prays in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He is to be crucified.
The image of HIS contemplation is backgrounded in a remoter fore-glimpse of what is to come.
But let us contemplate the will of God with Him in this image. For He prays to be relieved of the necessity to endure the crucifixion. And, next, prays God’s will be done.
Shortly they will come for Him.
This image was made by Maine artist Nancy Jacob in Guatemala and is used here with permission. If you like, you can befriend Nancy on Facebook. I think an image of The Last Supper is planned for today. For deep views, double-click on images in all these posts.
For deep views, click twice on images in this Easter series of posts. From the Semanto Santa Easter event and preparations, see Nancy Jacob’s series on this special season at Facebook. Used with permission of the Maine artist, Nancy Jacob
see also on this weblog, Someone Special going by…
It’s that time of year in New England. Mud season has not yet arrived but town meetings are underway in Maine. These meetings of town citizens have been ongoing since the State of Maine was the District of Maine, politically connected to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (pronounced, very fast, Mass-chusetts).