@ New Writing Series | UMaine

Enormous THANK YOU to Steve Evans & Gregory Howard — and the awesome students at UMaine — for inviting me to be part of their New Writing Series this past November. Flying into Bangor, and then having Greg drive me up to Orono, I was reminded of just how much I love New England–and, in particular, the state I find most generously decadent in its brutal natural beauty.

Enormous THANK YOU to Steve Evans & Gregory Howard — and the awesome students at UMaine — for inviting me to be part of their New Writing Series this past November. Flying into Bangor, and then having Greg drive me up to Orono, I was reminded of just how much I love New England–and Maine, in particular, a state I find most generously decadent in its brutal natural beauty.

Molly and the kids and I travelled to Maine in the summer of 2013, and we found it hard to leave. It was no different this time, though I was alone. I really didn’t want to leave.

I read “Last Cabin,” the first time I’ve read that story aloud to an audience.  The Q/A afterward was really special: one audience member asked me to reflect on some of the most salient aspects of midwesternisms.  What, he wanted to know, made the qualities of the story decidedly midwestern? “The use of proper names for heavy construction equipment,” I answered, but the question is a good and entirely fair one. Why could “Last Cabin” not take place in, say, Maine?  It’s fair.  I have answers to this question, but I think the question is better than its answers, and it’s one I’d like to study with my students: Provided a story is not ostensibly about a setting, how does a story “use” its setting to firmly contextualize time and space and character without overwhelming its narrative seams?