Friday, March 10, 2006

Small Towns in a Small World

All right, all right. I've been blogging about small towns off and on since this blog started.

I learned my values in a small town, and small town life continues to inspire me today, even though I live in a huge city.

The first thing I learned when I moved to Boston is just how big the world is. Thanks to technology, I'm happy to report that the world is a whole lot smaller.

Exhibit number 1: Jim Atwell.

Early readers of this blog might remember my Christmas post about Jim's book, From Fly Creek. You'll also remember that I raved about it. On a five-point scale, I'd give it a ten. And that was after the first reading. I'd give it five more stars after the second.


Because Jim Atwell understands small towns and small-town values. He's a transplanted college professor I haven't had the privilege of meeting in person yet. We sort of passed in the halls, I guess: I was leaving town full-time when he was arriving full-time, and our part-time selves never met. But I've always loved his columns in my hometown weekly. His writing is stellar. His stories are wonderful. I find myself nodding along. Because I lived some of them, and because it's so obvious that he's lived all of them.

Jim was always a guy I wanted to get to know. And now I have, sort of.

Back to this small world thing: I got an e-mail yesterday from Jim because he'd stumbled on my post about his book. It's a small thing, taking time to write an e-mail to a perfect stranger, but not many people do that today. Jim did. Small town life in a nutshell.

Neighbors meeting for the first time-- and that's what we are, except instead of shaking hands over the stone wall on the edge of a hay field, we're e-mailing. Neighbors, with a little more distance between us. Jim writes like he lived his whole life in Fly Creek and I write like I've never left.

So now I get to tell you that Jim's as nice a guy via e-mail as he is in his columns. Genuine. Down to earth. Smart. Funny.

I mentioned Jim's book in that other post. I told everybody how much I loved From Fly Creek, and not just because I'm from Fly Creek. These are universal small town stories, told beautifully, with prose that doubles, in most cases, as poetry. It won't surprise you to learn that Jim was an English professor.

I'm taking my little blog review one step further: Go out and buy From Fly Creek. If you've never lived in a small town, if you've ever lived in a small town, go buy From Fly Creek. You'll learn something either way.

Grab it here at Amazon. Or click on Jim's website and order it there. In the meantime, I'm linking to Jim's site on my links section, so it'll be around just in case you think I'm nuts now and more nuts or less nuts when you decide to buy Jim's book.

And no. I can't wait for that next e-mail. From Fly Creek.


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Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I've been hiding in a cave and you write three brilliant blog posts? I lived in a 'hood in Philly that was kind of like a small town, just urbanized. I miss it.

Mr. Atwell sounds like a great guy. I'm glad you hooked up with him.

2:41 PM, March 10, 2006  
Anonymous jamie ford said...

Isn't it cool to talk to someone who's writing you admire, and they're actually a cool person in real life?

Sounds like a great guy.

11:22 AM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

Yeah, it's really cool, Jamie.

And no, Mindy-- I haven't posted anything brilliant.

I've been helping people with agent queries.


3:09 PM, March 14, 2006  

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