Home Story
Stories about Stories / October 10, 2017

All stories are about being human and all humans need a spot they can call home. More than shelter or status symbol, “home” is part of a person’s identity and many writers are known for theirs.  Faulkner didn’t stir from Rowan Oak unless he was forced to.  Daphne du Maurier’s obsession for Menabilly changed the course of her life.  But both of these homes are grand houses of great estates, spots most of us could not relate to.  So I traveled to Cross Creek, the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a simpler structure if no less beloved. In fact, so much of MKR’s happiness and identity were tied to her home, she wrote one of her best books about it.  And, from the moment you enter her gate, you can see both Cross Creek and the writer are cherished by those who remember them. City-bred, Marjorie didn’t flourish as a writer until she moved to the backwoods of Florida and Cross Creek is still off the beaten path.  No disoriented tourists, adrift from Disney, will turn up at its borders. No major hotels or even gift shops entice explorers with the “Cross Creek Experience”. You have to look for the…

Settling In with a Winter Book
I know a Good Story / December 29, 2015

Winter is the Season with the strongest ties to Home and Hearth.  Spring and Autumn may pull us to work in our yards and Summer is for Adventure and Travel but Winter, with its long nights and bleak weather, is the time when people sub-consciously pull closer to the places that comfort and protect them and settle in for the Season.  While the winds blast across the open ground and temperatures plummet, we can feel safe as long as we have dry, warm rooms, comfortable seats and a selection of Winter Books to re-read. If there are Summer Authors (and I think there are) that invite the heart toward roaming, there are also the writers that celebrate hearth and home and these are a joy to re-read.  While the Winter stories are rarely in high demand (Winter tales have pages you want to mull over, not rip through) their appeal is eternal and simple.  Winter Stories insist on a mindful awareness of the joys and trials of everyday life.  They celebrate what is real. New England is one of those places that seems to have a copyright on Winter and Gladys Taber is still one of New England’s best-loved “home-and…

When home is a place where you’ve never been: Cross Creek

William Shakespeare, that quotable fellow, said “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”   That’s how I feel about home.  Many people I know are raised with a real sense of identity, knowing who they are and where they belong long before they learn how to read.  That place of origin, for good or for ill, is home, undeniable as DNA.  Others have to make a place for themselves in this world and a few of us enter a strange site and realize with amazement that this place centers us like no other.  It’s a shock, like first falling in love, and it changes the folks who experience it.  That realization of finding home is central to Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s book Cross Creek  because it’s not just about the first heady days of romance.  Cross Creek is the love affair between a discoverer and place. The two were an unlikely match.  Mrs. Rawlings was a thirty-two year old journalist whose career and human marriage were both showing wear but not many signs of success.  She was educated, politically liberal and although she could write, she had not found her “voice”, that prerequisite of transcendent…

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