Amery has been the center of most of my stories on this blog and on the Elkfarm email I send. A variety of tales has balanced between real and imagined, whichever fits the story being told. For a time I wrote a column for the local newspaper, the Amery Gazette, and found myself writing deliberately and with a deadline. It helped my writing, especially assembling a story or column that wouldn’t just appeal to those in Amery but to anyone anywhere. My relatives in Norway, I felt, should get as much from it as someone from Wisconsin.
Why the Change?
After trips home, I’ve found I knew fewer and fewer people, and with the ending of the column for the newspaper, I figured out that the factual part of my writing would decrease.
Try as I might, my contacts with local officials and other locals wasn’t productive. In sending out emails in my Elkfarm letters to 300 people, often praising Amery and the area around this city of lakes, the response has been zippedy doo dah. When I tried talking to the Community Club, those in the red jackets on a wagon in the Fall Festival parade, no luck.
I recall one face to face with a former president of the ambassadors whose job is/was to make Amery more appealing to visitors. The meet-up atmosphere was either hostile or suspicious. When I told her about my Amery efforts, she looked at me, backed up (thinking I had ebola) and thought I was there to ask for money. “How much,” she asked. “Nothing, give it a look.” Nothing came from this.
With that reception, it felt futile to keep at it. The column in the newspaper was read by many, at least when I came home people would tell me that, but no words of support from the Gazette nor from the readers when I hinted at ending it.
Why am I telling you this? Amery will still be the setting for many of my stories, but only a small percent will be factual such as the recent report on the Fall Festival parade. That was 100% true (except for the guy selling horse manure a down at the old football field), but I want to branch out and report on some unreported crimes, get some rumors going, and tell stories that entertain more than they inform. Could Amery become Wisconsin’s Lake Wobegon? Not comparing myself to Keillor, but that would be an admirable target.
Coming soon: more Amery fiction
More to come, but I wanted to tell you in advance. At times when the story is all true, I’ll write that and will even put 100% at the bottom of it. If I tell you it’s true, it’s true to the best of my understanding.
Not even sure what number of people from Amery open this blog, maybe more will now. But that’s not my intention. Stay tuned, and please write to me about anything in the blog’s comment section. Also, if you want to read Amery stories in this elkfarm.org blog, in the “Search this site” at the top, type in Amery, or any other word for a story you’d like to find.
Also, contact me if you want to get on the email list I send out every week or so, the Elkfarm Hearth Society email. Photos, jokes, paintings, and brief commentary. Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org