Writers’ Houses

Here is a fun website to peruse through:

http://writershouses.com/

Founded in July 2010 by writer A. N. Devers, Writers’ Houses is an online publication dedicated to the exploring writers’ spaces and art of literary pilgrimage. It includes houses all around the world, even Kenya! (Karen Blixen House and Museum).

One of these days I will make it a goal to visit all these houses. But for now, you can start with two in Maine: the Sarah Orne Jewett House in South Berwick and the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Wadsworth Longfellow House black and white rear

Come Spring by Ben Ames Williams

Union common

My birthday road trip this year was to Hope, Freedom, Liberty, and Union. My favorite of these wonderfully named towns was Union, with its beautiful downtown common. There were several visual cues in the common referring to “Come Spring,” a novel by Ben Ames Williams published in 1940, which tells the tale of the first settlers of Union, then known as “Sterlingtown.” Sterlingtown became incorporated as Union in 1780, when there were 19 families. “Come Spring” fictionalizes the story of these families.

Despite being 866 pages, the book kept me interested throughout with good characters, humor, and mostly the wonderful descriptions of every day life in these early days of Maine settlement. It also contains one of the longest courtships I’ve ever read in fiction, a wonderful love story, and a strong and likeable main female character.

Union map

In Union’s common is a map of Sterlingtown, which can be found in the book endpages, as well as a plaque under a tree dedicated to Ben Ames Williams (1889 – 1953). What a treat to “discover” a Maine author (Williams vacationed in Maine, and set several of his works there) whom I have not read, especially after visiting Union. I need to return there again, now that I’ve read this book that further explores the history of Union.

Union tree

Sunset Cruising on Casco Bay

Deborah Clark cruise photo

My husband, daughter, and I enjoyed a wonderful boat cruise aboard the Blue Nun motoring around Casco Bay last Tuesday evening courtesy of Steve and Chris McDuffie.  They generously donated the trip as a raffle fundraiser for the Long Island Library and my husband won the prize.  Steve asked us where we wanted to go and since we had never seen Portland Head and Two Lights from “the other side,” we decided to boat down the coast to Cape Elizabeth.

The weather was perfect with a warm breeze and clear skies. Chris surprised us with some delicious snacks and my husband was able to snap several beautiful photographs of the area. As I took in the surrounding landscape and wildlife with binoculars, my daughter quizzed Chris on the local history and happenings of the islands.

On the return leg of the trip, we spotted the new Nova Star ferry coming in to dock at Portland’s Ocean Gateway Pier and a friendly harbor seal poked his head up to check us out. Steve took us around the back side of Peaks Island and with one last look at Fort Gorges, we got back to Portland just in time to take in a lovely sunset. We all had a marvelous time. Thank you to the McDuffies for making a two-hour boat ride such a memorable occasion.

Deborah Clark, Raymond, ME (with photographs by Craig Clark)

Deborah Clark cruise photo of Steve and Chris

 

Visitor from the Maine State Library

 

Deborah Clark

As the new consultant for the Southern Maine Library District, I have been visiting all the public libraries in Cumberland, York, and southern Oxford Counties. The Art & Soul Festival provided the perfect opportunity for me to tour the Long Island Community Library, meet the staff and trustees, as well as learn a little about island living. I was so impressed by the efforts of those I met  (Library Director Nancy Jordan, trustees Nancy Noble, Patty Temple, and Connie Brayley, and organizer Mary McAleney) and by the strong community support for the library event.

 

I especially liked the “Bling Room” with fun costume jewelry for sale and bought a nice patriotic pin. My husband and I browsed the book sale and art auction offerings and while I was speaking with library staff, my husband was persuaded by student volunteers to buy some raffle tickets. We couldn’t stay for the drawings as we needed to catch our ferry back to Portland and were shocked to hear later that he had won one of the gift baskets! Thanks everyone for the great visit to the island.

 

Deborah A. Clark,

Maine State Library

deborah.clark@maine.gov

Portland Pottery exhibit

This collection of pottery, on loan from Carl and Pauline Silveri, represents Portland and local Maine potters from about 1840 to the early 1920s, including E. Swasey & Company of Portland ME, a company which at one time was one of New England’s most prolific pottery works and today is all but forgotten.Portland Pottery exhibit

Eban Swasey was a potter who apprenticed in Exeter NH in the mid-1800s.  In 1875 he and his partner, Rufus Lamson, moved to Portland ME and established the Portland Earthen Ware Manufactory, producing redware.  Swasey and Lamson eventually went their separate ways, and in 1890 Swasey established E. Swasey & Co. at 273 Commercial Street in Portland.

In 1897, Swasey’s youngest son Perley joined the company, which became a sizeable enterprise by the turn of the century.  Eban died in 1906, but the business carried on until finally sputtering out of business in the Depression.  The factory buildings are still there on Commercial Street – refurbished and with the “E. Swasey” logos freshly restored on the end of the mill, they serve today as an office park.

http://davescupboard.blogspot.com/2010/08/vintage-sunday-e-swasey-co-pottery.html

There are also documents in the exhibit related to the E. Swasey & Co. Other Portland pottery companies in the exhibit include J.E. Goold and Geo. A. Young Co.

 

10 more days!

10 more days until Art & Soul, our annual fundraiser for the Long Island Community Library. Here areLICL raffle table at parade our intrepid library volunteers selling raffle tickets on July 4th, at the Long Island Fourth of July parade. The winning raffle tickets will buy you a wonderful themed basket, or a personalized cruise on the bay.

Stop by the library and see the kid’s rainy day basket, a blueberry bucket filled with surprises donated by Ivy Hall Gift Shop (Evergreen United Methodist Church outreach), a Maine Lottery Tree, a chocolate basket, a lobster bake basket, an Irish basket, and a mailboat run basket.

AND the FIRST ticket drawn will be treated to an afternoon trip around Casco Bay with Steve and Chris McDuffie on the BLUE NUN.  Room for six, destination to be determined by Captain and winner and weather.

Tickets are 3 for $5.00 (stapled together) or $2.00 per ticket. The tickets are sold at the library, from library volunteers & from Mary McAleney, 207-799-4306, mcaleney@gmail.com

See you in 10 days!

 

 

 

ART & SOUL Festival – July 19

ART & SOUL Festival

to benefit

Long Island Community Library

 

Long Island Library & Learning Center

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 10-2

 At 2pm: Raffle drawings, silent auction results and books $1.00 a bag

Books— Fiction, fact and fantasy

LICL booksale flower sign Food— Scrumptious sweets and savory snacks pastries

Jewelry— Baubles, beads and bling

Costume jewelry Art— Auction of awesome art treasures

Raffle— Bountiful baskets, plenty of prizes

Raffle Tickets sold at the library, library volunteers &

Mary McAleney 207-799-4306 mcaleney@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you there (and thank you for supporting our library)

 

Maine Literary Awards winners!

Great Diamond Island tour - Moon Garden

The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (MWPA) announced the winners of the 2014 Maine Literary Awards.

The winners for book awards included Roxana Robinson for “Sparta” in fiction; Al Lamanda for “Sunrise” in crime fiction; Mark D. Diehl for “Seventeen: Book One” in speculative fiction; Lincoln Paine for “The Sea and Civilization” in nonfiction; Peter Korn for “Why We Make Things and Why it Matters” in memoir; Christian Barter for “In Someone Else’s House” in poetry; Lynn Plourde for “You’re Wearing THAT to School?!” in children’s; Maria Padian for “Out of Nowhere” in young adult; Martha White for “E.B. White on Dogs” in anthology; Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto for “New England Gardener’s Year” in the John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed nonfiction; and Elizabeth W. Garber and Michael Weymouth for “Maine (Island Time)” for excellence in publishing.

For more information see:

http://mainewriters.org/winners-of-the-2014-maine-literary-awards/#more-2719

 

 

Cats and books!

Longfellow Books adopt-a-cat Longfellow Books adopt-a-cat BobSomehow cats and books go together. Most librarians I know own cats. Some libraries have resident cats (see Dewey : the small-town library cat who touched the world by Vicki Myron, a copy of which is at the Long Island Community Library). Many bookstores have cats too. Our own Longfellow Books on Monument Square in Portland has teamed up with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland to offer a temporary bookstore home to help kitties find a new family to love. First there was Gus, and then Alexia, and most recently Bob – all have been adopted. What a wonderful idea!  

New bookstore in town!

For all you book lovers, here is some good news! There is a new bookstore in downtown Portland, and it’s beautiful. Sherman’s Books and Stationery has come to town, just opening in the Old Port on Exchange Street. It’s a visual treat inside – not only lots of attractive and appealing books, but lovely items to go with them. I was there on Earth Day (April 22) and a lot of earthy and green items caught my eye. There is a huge children’s area. Many of the books are reasonably priced.

Sherman books

Sherman’s Books was founded by Bill Sherman in 1886 in Bar Harbor. (They advertise themselves as “Maine’s oldest bookstore.”) There are stores in Camden, Freeport, and Bar Harbor. And now Portland! Lucky us. It’s so nice to see another Maine business come to our area.

For more information see www.shermans.com

and

https://www.facebook.com/ShermansBooks