New PDF release: A Place of sense: essays in search of the Midwest

By Michael Martone, David Plowden

ISBN-10: 0877452172

ISBN-13: 9780877452171

Essays describe lifestyles in small cities, farming groups, and suburbs in states from Ohio to North Dakota.

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Extra info for A Place of sense: essays in search of the Midwest

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The geometry of the fields suggests a map as large as the thing it represents. The squared township roads score the axes of coordinates. The cusp of trees on the horizon, the water tower, the elevator are tokens slid there representing ground taken and held. The only dimension marked by Z is the state of dreaming as they drive on the interstates meandering in tangents that seek what the railroads, who were here with rulers first, called a water-level route. There are places in the Midwest that are not like thisthe limestone hills, the bess bluffs, the forest lakes and sand dunes, the rills and knobs and kettles.

This figure of the family featured prominently in the idea of my suburban Midwest as I tendered it in conversations in Grenada, where tonic water is more costly than gin and drinks were mixed in the opposite proportion. Unlike the metropolitan or agrarian or coastal or southern childhoods of my displaced American friends, Columbus provided a place where play and pastime, hobby and happenstance, appeared to be the reigning climate. Experience had no obligation or destiny. Mastery of an activity was seen as an option (another merit badge, a camp elective) rather than a survival skill.

And both of them sent clippings about the prayer meeting in the state rotunda, where Governor Rhodes petitioned God to please turn up the world's thermostats. On Grenada, there were sudden downpours that would drench a sunny, scorching afternoon for two solid minutes, although all signs of rain would evaporate or suck into the dry earth within the next two minutes. I was experiencing the most temperate and personable weather I had ever known. The island flaunted its balmy gifts the way a tourist might, with the gaudiness of pink conches strewn across a black-sand beach, with a wildness of guava, lime, papaya, and coconut trees too accessible not to claim as one's own.

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A Place of sense: essays in search of the Midwest by Michael Martone, David Plowden

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