here.) Bouncing around those enormous prairie wheat fields at night felt a bit like sailing on black sea under a starry sky.. If we happened to shift into a new field after dark, sometimes navigation was tricky, and it was possible to get lost driving cross-country between the combines and grain bins.
I used this experience in the first short story I published in the US, "Vulcan", which appeared in The Atlantic Monthly. It is a included my story collection, Travelling Light, published this year. (The last signed first-editions are at Betsy's Sunflower here in Brooklin Maine.) Jerome Hellman, the legendary Hollywood producer (Midnight Cowboy, Coming Home, Day of the Locust, Mosquito Coast, etc) optioned "Vulcan", and writing the script for Jerry was my first job as a screenwriter. (Watch Liz Taylor presenting Jerry with the Best Picture Oscar for Midnight Cowboy) Vulcan never was made, though it came close a couple of times. The story is set on the High Plains, in the ruthless modern resource-extraction economy. The real farmboys are all up on "the rigs" making tons of money drilling for oil and gas, so transients (like me) are hired on to do farm and ranch work. Sounds like now, actually. Time to activate that project again. There are a couple of great star roles. Call me. Call my agent.
Meanwhile, back in Union, Maine, on a bright October morning: