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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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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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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The Trouble with the

 

As well as promoting disruption, writers themselves can be peculiarly seriously and appallingly disrupted.

While looking through an early collection of (indie published) short stories I noticed—distressingly, disturbingly—that at least one story had too many of “the.” This was a stirring professional consideration: Is it worth the trouble to fix these the’s? Carefully, I debated. Three editions: hardcover, softcover, e-book. Each would have to be changed, uploaded, and the new edition republished. I could get sidetracked and start looking for “the’s” throughout the collection. I’d end going carefully through, combing for the “the”, extracting wherever found oppressively redundant or replaceable.

The story had been written four decades ago. True, I gave it the cursory reading and editing after three decades (in order to publish), but somehow had missed the distracting overabundance of the. One hundred and four of them out of 1400+ words. Do you want a story containing a whooping 10% of the?

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killing the monster…or?

above our neighbors…sounds like someone’s up on the hillside, maybe just off from the ledge? with a muzzleloader, maybe a flintlock? maybe trying to kill the monster. R. says this about the gun because of its sound, a pre-BANG bang.

a monster? but more likely they practice now at dusk, nearly dark, in hope of shooting a deer during muzzleloader season. at this time of year, we wear hunter’s orange even when going out the door. very dim, raining out there now.

compiling table of contents

(lowercase apology: no voice recognition software on this machine…)

not long ago i compiled a collection of essays. so a table of contents was needed to help in the arranging, a list of titles made and cut apart to organize in sequence according to um … topic, genre, colors mentioned, wavy lines, stars, and uh… intuition?

 

it’s supposed to be a collection including a variety from satire, through straightforward, plus creative (nonfiction). includes maine topics.

 

table of contents compiled

 

in this lower image, to the right you can see my sneakers where i perch on a step-stool to take flash pictures of the process

doing all this made it more fun!

 

 

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Almost there!

Just keep climbing. Almost there. Life is better when there’s something on the horizon. Something like an eclipse to watch for. Elda had been counting on this for two weeks. It was movement in heaven—even if it didn’t always live up to its billing. Maybe it was the waiting and watching that mattered, anyway. Hopeful watching itself might light and animate everything. Like an eclipse, watching could show forth an inscrutable purpose … underscored in fire and blue air. Afterward, the remains of watching would be largely unintelligible, except in that kindling still moment before God slipped away.

Return to God’s House (first in The God’s Cycle)

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