Monday, September 20, 2004

A place to rest...

In case you wondered: Bluffton is a place where I frequently go to rest after having written something I’ve agonized over for a month or more, after I’ve had a rough few days at work, when I’m cranky and feeling sorry for myself. It’s a place where I feel comfortable with the ground and enjoy breathing the air. The people are quirky, creepy, curious and quaint. They’re also magical and powerful and amazingly dumb; they’re loving and hateful and utterly oblivous. And I know them. When they’re too cantankerous, I can punish them; when they’ve been really nice...I can punish them some more! I can also hand out rewards with equal parts willy and nilly.

I’m God in Bluffton but nobody prays to me or begs me for anything and expects me to do anything. I can sit anonymously in the Wagon Wheel and watch the Sons of Norway get pasted at Thursday night darts with the Grangers from Lanesboro. I can eavesdrop on Doc Mouth’s latest maundering from the outskirts. I can go check up on Bunch, up under the old bridge out on County H. I can go see Ruth at the library and, if I’m polite, I can visit a moment in Bluffton’s past–can stay as long as I like, do anything I want without worrying about mucking up the future.

Bluffton is a place where I make things happen and don’t even feel I have to share them. I’ve written 20-some-odd stories set in and around the town and published only a handful. I’ve not even tried to publish most of them. They gather like treasures on the Kiddorf Banks. (The Banks is the place downstream from town where the Rolling makes a hard turn at the old drive-in theater. All manner of stuff that’s been flushed out of the hills gets deposited at this place) Someday maybe I’ll pack them up and send them out as a book.

I don’t know.

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