Rural realities

1 October 2004 at 13:55 Leave a comment

Got this from and it is right on the money.

Article from Public Libraries:

Public Libraries: Your stories are frequently about people on the edges of civilization —

Annie Proulx: I beg your pardon, sir. Rural places are not the edges of civilization.

PL: I apologize. But areas of life that the general public doesn’t know about —

AP: There you go again. You’re talking about urban people as the only people in the world who count as being real people while people who live in rural areas are somehow subhuman?

PL: Maybe I should rephrase it as, “What is it about these characters, who aren’t often talked about in popular literature, that attracts you?”

AP: Right, most people write about suburban or personal or urban affairs. I write about rural areas by choice; I live in rural areas, I have for almost all my life except for brief stints in New York City and Tokyo which I figure was my lifetime’s worth of urban life. I’m keenly interested in the rural surroundings partly because they are neglected. Urban people and power centers [see rural areas] as places for use: use of extraction for minerals or crops or products of some kind. Or for disposal of unwanted wastes that cities won’t have. And this colonial attitude is something that really irritates the hell out of people who live in rural areas. It’s hard to take being treated like invisible people, or people who simply don’t count. And I write about these people and these places because I like them….

This reminds me, again, of that reading textbook from 1st grade I had as a child that described a “country kid’s” life that I realized was supposed to describe me. That was the first time that I understood that the way we lived wasn’t “normal” and that the “city people” writing the textbook had no idea what life in the country was really like. My mother always says she’s glad “city people” don’t know what life is like for those in rural areas – she figures they’d all move to the country and ruin it for everyone else.

My experience tells me that it depends on what you value and how you want to live. It does seem a bit sad to me that a lot of people have no idea what life is like in rural America and therefore feel they have no choice but to keep living the way they are living.


Entry filed under: of interest, writing.

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What I’ve been reading:

  • James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D. (London, 14 King William Street, Strand: William P. Nimmo, 1876). 4 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 3, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985). 4 years ago
  • Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). 4 years ago
  • Stephanie Kallos, Broken for You (New York: Grove Press, 2004). 5 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 2, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985) 5 years ago

T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.



2003-2013 T. Anderson Painter
all rights reserved

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