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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old settlers’ well

old-settlers-well

We live under a ridge in a narrow vale along an edge of which we snowshoe. This is a mountainous u-shaped valley with deadend road but once extending up the low mountainside to meet another road in these hills. The old settlers actually drove wagons of between the slopes. Don’t know how they did it. Anyway, it’s all wooded now and you can see the old ruts they made. Saplings grow in them. Sometimes, if I’ve “got turned around and woods” (as they say) and I come on one of these mostly hidden tracks, I have the feeling of gratitude, and can follow along until I come to an ATV trail or road.

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“the oxford” part two

The earliest post in this three-part series is Mexico, Maine. If you missed the second part, see the recent  post on this book.

monica-wood

In the memoir of her childhood Monica Wood tells us the heroic, founding industrialist story of Mr. Hugh Chisholm and his surreptitious study—or scoping out as rurals say here—of the great falls and surrounding land. The lens is her schoolroom instruction by Sister Ernestine. Chisholm’s borrowed horse and sleigh took him down-river through icy fog where the thundering of the waterfall in rime-frosted landscape excited this man as he approached. He then climbed out to pat his St. Jude, and reward the horse with a cube of sugar.

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a note of gratitude

One of our volunteer librarians was troubled over the election. We talked and she mentioned the Gratitude Diaries, and how this book had helped her, both now and when her son was horribly injured.  I will have to check it out (so to speak).

On the family front, i’m really grateful for this smile:

jd-smile-ponies

Also, thanks to those I never see but whose words mean much to me. Thank you online friends for your lively entries and faithful blogging:

Sartorias gives thanks

Giving thanks in Canada

and yes, i would like very much to wake up.

Gandalf Shows Us that the Greatest Wisdom is Learned Through Weakness and Suffering.

may gratitude wake me!

family-dinner-jenkins

 

johnny’s bridge again

remaking-johnnys-bridge_2

Here’s Johnny’s Bridge all over again, images taken on the morning’s bike ride. They’ve been replacing the bridge over the past two weeks, and aren’t done yet. I think I told you about the history of Johnny’s Bridge and how it brought us together with the local historian?  After I asked around on how it got that name, Bob, of Bob’s corner Store and Texaco fame, directed us to the man who has been the community bridge to its own history.

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yesterday

Today’s post is about yesterday. We live in the land of yesterday … just not yet. But there is another yesterday, too. I post today about that day 25 years ago when the Town of Greenwood celebrated its 175 years of being the Town of Greenwood. These images are reminding us of yesterday, the yesterday we know today. Though they had been promised for this bicentennial, the bagpipes are missing.  Shown is the fife and drum, instead.

b&w fife and drum

the rule of thirds is sadly lacking in this photo of mine

 

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tomorrow

SONY DSC

the new outside

 

I’m sitting here in Bob’s Corner Store and Texaco… but… its 25 years down the hapless hapful road of Time from the Town’s Dodransbicentennial. Also Dosquicentennial, word signifying 175 years building on a Latin contraction meaning “a whole unit less than a quarter.” ???  And I’m sitting here… but it’s The Local Hub, same building outside but sans gas pumps… and with a few other outward more elegant touches. Inside the world is 9,125 days past the earlier celebration. Instead of magazines with questionable appeal 🙂 and factory processed er goodies, the Hub is filled with organic locally grown produce and other naturally made goodies. Completely remodeled inside, bright and colorful, no longer cramped and dim.

in hub

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Walking past Earl’s on Maundy Thursday

Continuing on from yesterday’s post … I forgot about waitresses, rainbows and clouds. I thought of other things, saw other things.

One of those things was a particleboard ice-fishing shack sitting on someone’s yard. Ice was fixing to rot off the pond, the season was over. Saw Arthur’s high crooked house, heard him yell ineffectually at his barking dog. Past Earl’s black, patched-together house, hunkered to the ground. He would be out working at the town dump. Few people in this world have as fine a panorama as Earl’s from his tarpaper shack.

This is my romantic rendering of Earl's hut.

My romantic rendering of Earl’s hut.

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Walking Holy Days

The Local Hub has taken over Bob's Corner Store and Texaco since this walk was taken

The Local Hub has taken over Bob’s Corner Store and Texaco since this walk.

 

For Maundy Thursday, day of flesh and blood, of bread and wine. Left my dwelling under a low cloud, a cold calendar-spring day. The only vivid color cold blue, just beyond the western edge of cloud. Descending into the village slung along the highway, I looked out toward brown lands, and dark conifers, toward the somber town mountain across the river valley. Nearer: colorless houses, crammed together. Muddy water ran in torrents along the downhill roadside. For all the darkness of cloud above me, the air was surprisingly crisp. It was one of those cleansing Canadian systems, blowing through Western Maine on the day of broken body and blood.

The cloud began sprinkling me with cold droplets. It showered and I turned eastward, hurried up the highway toward the combination garage and corner store. The place was busy with cars, coming and going. The garage door was up, so I slipped inside to wait out the rain. The cloud, being edged with promising blue, could not last long enough to ruin my walk. Wasn’t I after the bread and wine?

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