Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Dairy Maid. Lisbon Falls, Maine. And where's Downeast?

Ici en Maine when the town's name includes the word "Falls", it always means a mill town, or--more likely these days--ex-mill town. When the name incorporates the word "port", the town is on the coast, so expect to pay more for real estate. In the 19th century, when the lobster fishery wasn't much to speak of, and before summah people discovered the Maine coast, it was the mill towns by the falls on the rivers (Saco, Mousam, Kennebec, Androscoggin, Penobscot) that prospered. (Or at least the mill owners did). These days it's coastal towns with their shorefront and high real estate valuations that have bigger tax bases and, generally, better schools and services.
Of course's there's Bucksport, which is a mill town that happens to be on the coast. Make that an ex-mill town: the Verso paper mill shut down for good last month, after 75 years. The mill's been sold off to some Canadian scrap metal dealers.
That's one big divide in Maine: between the coast and everywhere else. Although the coast of Washington County--downeast--has more in common with upriver Maine than the rest of the coast. Fewer tourists and summer people. There used to be a sardine industry (and sardine-canning industry) on the downeast coast but that's defunct: it's all lobsters now. The Gulf of Maine has become one big lobster farm.
People have different notions as to where 'downeast' begins, and it's probably a moving target. At one time, 'downeast' used to be anything east of Bath. These days some people consider anything east of Belfast as Downeast, but I'd say Downeast Maine starts east of Mount Desert Island.

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