Monday, June 9, 2014

Questions about Place

In my novel Hometown Girl, Claire grows up in my own hometown- Minocqua, WI- and goes through some experiences that were similar to my own. Growing up in a small town that is known as a tourist paradise in the "Great Northwoods" can be interesting... In the winter, it felt as though the "Island City" was sleeping under its blanket of snow and ice, watching the locals go by. Every summer, the town awoke to the hubbub of chatting tourists, honking cars, and the whines and roars of boats and jet skis circling the Chain of Lakes. As if the two seasons weren't distinct enough by the vast change in weather, the atmospheres and personalities of people seemed to alter drastically as we made our way once again through spring, summer, autumn, and winter. I always loved the finality of autumn- the chaos and bustle is over, and now is the time to settle in with books around the fireplace or to pull up to my notebook or laptop for some writing with a cup of strong, hot coffee. You could truly rest and think in winter. Now that I live in a community that seems relatively unchanged by the passing of the seasons (besides the fickle weather; I am still in Wisconsin, after all), I wonder about how much of a role community really plays in one's writing and/or in one's childhood. How has your own hometown changed your life? How has it made you who you are? Was it someplace to retreat to later in life, or someplace to escape from at the earliest possibility?