I’m Gearing Up for Small Town

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I’m gearing up for small town east coast –upstate NY — living for about a month, the place where well known author Richard Russo has made his mark.

Despite the fact that I spent some of my childhood here and have lived in African and Asian villages one tenth its size, it will be a dramatic change from Silicon Valley urban living, where I hear sirens and barking dogs all day. (and do swing-outs with men who wear the word geek on their shirt).

I contacted an old time friend, who has been the editor of this small town newspaper for a number of years. The stories I’d love to write about the high school personalities of this small-fry town……..how far can we go and still be part of respected part of a community? Ah yes, that word community. This upcoming ‘walk about’ will be an interesting one.

The writing is always so informal in small town newspapers. It’s always as if you’re talking to Joe the Butcher — even on the front page. For example, “we all need to keep after the county since they seem to think we all have money trees in our back yards. Their past record in percentage hike on the tax levy just keeps going up and up.”

And this one:
“Without the assistance of Deputy Sheriff Serpa, we would have been stranded for some time, and Chief Wilder saw to it that we did not suffer fire damage, a real possibility at the time. We would like the area residents to be aware that we all are in good hands, thanks to these individuals. They are very concerned, good citizens – a factor which might be overlooked when things are going well.”

I’m gearing up for small town; I hope it slows me down and ‘my reality’ becomes a Richard Russo novel. Empire Falls really hit home.

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