Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘Wallace Stegner’

Maps and A Sense of Place

What is a map if not ultimately a tool to help us in our discovery of ‘Place’?

Place can be as meaningless as a red X proclaiming, “You are Here” or as monumental as your internal compass at some point in your life’s journey whispering, “You belong Here.”

Occasionally Place can be conflicting heartstrings, as when you return to your childhood hometown, wanting to find what existed long ago exactly the way your memory locked it in.

Stranger or Friend

Book Cover for Stranger or Friend

Silvia Villalobos, an author and Romanian transplant to Los Angeles, recently published her first novel, Stranger or Friend in which Los Angeles lawyer, Zoe Sinclair, returns to her hometown only to find her best friend murdered and her mother succumbing to age-related illnesses and refusing medical care.

As Zoe investigates her friend’s murder, she finds once-friendly townspeople reluctant to share what they know. Zoe is forced to confront more challenging circumstances than she anticipated as she realizes how much the town she once knew has changed.

Silvia creates believable characters and relationships, and brings her story to a satisfactory conclusion (something I find missing in many novels). I recommend her novel for the storyline as well as the many themes Silvia incorporated. If anything, I hope she delves deeper into a few of her themes in her planned Zoe sequel, especially the conflicts that come as towns become more demographically diverse, forcing changing workforces and cultural adjustments.

What I enjoyed as much as the novel itself was the amount of thematic background Silvia provided during April’s A to Z Challenge. One theme that resonated with me is our human need to find our sense of place.

 In Silvia’s words, “People suffer through bad times – hurricanes, fires – and return to rebuild, as they feel they belong to the place as much as the place belongs to them.”

 Silvia’s novel takes place in Wyoming, and she specifically references the northwest corner of the state where Yellowstone National Park and the majestic Teton Mountain Range are the state’s crowning beauties.

from Google Images

Yellowstone’s Beehive Geyser from Google Images

from Google Images

Wyoming’s Teton Range from Google Images

While I have traveled to those tourist-heavy natural wonders, I know a different Wyoming – that of the central and eastern plains where families have passed down homestead ranches and where mineral excavation and oil/gas drilling are the lifeblood of the economy.

from Google Images

Wyoming Plains from Google Images

A Wyoming where the wind blows so steadily no matter the season; the snow blusters so forcefully; and the sun blisters so intensely, you’ve got to develop a thick crust and a ‘git ‘er done’ attitude to survive, let alone thrive. Silva rightfully uses weather as a driving theme in her novel, and highlights the effect it has on the sociability and personality of Wyoming’s residents.

Stegner photo

Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner Back Cover

While I was reading Silvia’s novel, I was finishing up Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner. Much to my surprise and delight, two of the final four stories, “The Wolfer” and “Carrion Spring” take place in Wyoming. Stegner wrote about the spring of 1907 after four months of brutal forty degree below zero cold snaps with intermittent wild, warming Chinook winds and continuous blizzard whiteouts and fog. Most of the cattle did not survive; the wolves were running rampant to feast on the carnage; and the wolfer and his vicious hound dog eventually succumbed in gruesome scenes when their trapping plan went awry.

Coincidentally, when I reread Silvia’s A to Z posts, I realized she quoted Wallace Stegner in her ‘Place’ post, “The knowledge of place that comes from working in it, making a living from it, suffering from its catastrophes, loving its mornings and evenings…”

Much as I like to think of myself as a Pioneer Woman, I haven’t worked the land in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico or Arizona nor suffered most of their catastrophes, but I love the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains and Southwest Desert. Every fiber in me knows this is where I belong … my sense of place.  Much of my heart resides with my Michigan family but Colorado is my rightful home.

Thanks to Silvia Villalobos and Wallace Stegner for celebrating ‘Place’.

I’m curious about my readers.

  •  Are you transplants who have found your ‘place’?
  • Lifelong residents of your birthplace?
  • Feel like a foreigner when revisiting your birthplace?
  • Multi-placers who split you time living in more than one place? If so, is one ‘home’?
  • Still seeking? How? Where?

I am also interested to hear about authors you like who write about ‘YOUR place’ in a way that holds meaning for you. (Prompt?)

Occasionally I scroll through Andrea Reads America where Andrea provides author quotes linking the author to their state . She reads and reviews several books taking place in a state then she ‘moves on’ to another state. Fascinating!

 

 

Advertisements
STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

Never underestimate the power of a question

Garden for the Soul

Finding peace in life's garden

besottment by paper relics

Musings and Amusings

Rosemary's Blog

A window into my world

Little Writing Blog

A not-too-serious look at life beyond middle age

Alphabet Salad

...an eclectic assortment of rants and ramblings

Kate's Scrap Yard

scraps of vibrant color, texture and drippy paint

Mocha Muse

Coffee Shop Conversation. Creativity. General Musings.

Dispatches From Kansas

Musings and Amusings

Women Writing the West®

Musings and Amusings

Rocky Mountain Land Library

A resource linking land and community

The Off Key Of Life

Or….Identifying The Harmless Unhinged Among Us.

Mountain Gazette

Musings and Amusings

Desert Reflections

Thoughts on people, place, being and belonging

Mary J Melange

A hodgepodge of thoughts, ideas and the reality of life.

Fernwood Nursery & Gardens

Maine's Shadiest Nursery

The Task at Hand

A Writer's On-Going Search for Just the Right Words

Zentangle

Musings and Amusings

Notes from a Western Life

The Windbreak House Blog by Linda M. Hasselstrom

NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener, amateur photographer, intermediate quilter and lover of day trips around New England

Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Travel Tales of Life

Travelers. Adventurers. Storytellers.

bemuzin

Musings and Amusings

A Dalectable Life

The little and large things making my life delicious!

Jane's Journals

Celebrating the Western U.S.

The Magnolia Review

Just another WordPress.com site

sappy as a tree: celebrating beauty in creation

"I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree. . . ." -- "Trees," Joyce Kilmer

Michigan in Pictures

Photos of the Great Lakes State

Before Sundown

remember what made you smile

What oft was thought

"True wit is Nature to advantage dress'd, What oft was thought but ne'er so well express'd"--Alexander Pope ("Essay on Criticism").

Writer Site

Memoir, poetry, & writing theory

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

My Life Lived Full

If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space

Retirementally Challenged

Navigating through my post-work world

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

Almost Iowa

Where irrationality trumps reason

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Tickled To Tangle

Musings and Amusings

Enthusiastic Artist

Musings and Amusings

joeyfullystated

Narrative of a Neurotic & Other Random Nonsense

Tangled Ink Art

Musings and Amusings

The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Brenda Swenson

Musings and Amusings

Linda Covella, Author

Welcome to middle grade and young adult author Linda Covella's website!

Destination NOW

The answer to "are we there yet?"

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: