So, there’s this initiative out here on the interwebs that’s aimed at reviving interest in America’s literature about rural life—a joint venture of Buffalo State College (New York) and Buena Vista University (Iowa), the goal is to raise the profile of American novels about farm and country life that are disappearing from the national memory and conversation. The idea in the long run is to work with universities, colleges, museums, and other cultural and educational institutions across the country to publicize books, get them in classrooms and libraries, etc., but you don’t have to take my word for it: you can find out more about the Rural Lit R.A.L.L.Y. at their website.
Anyway, these excellent people were steered my way by a friend of Following Pulitzer, Nancy Gluck of Silver Season (thanks, Nancy!), given that I’ve been reading a lot of semi-neglected rural American novels. Veteran readers of my blog will be interested/amused/horrified to learn that one of Rural Lit R.A.L.L.Y.’s rural novels, and the novel they are in fact featuring this month, is none other than Margaret Wilson’s The Able McLaughlins. Yes, that book. And before you ask, the good people at RLR (who are fans of Wilson’s work) already know how I feel about the book, and nevertheless wanted to associate themselves with me—if that isn’t proof that us book bloggers are an open-minded and non-judgmental sort, I don’t know what is. Anyway, they’re interested in linking to (and even excerpting from, with my permission) Following Pulitzer, and otherwise involving me at least peripherally in helping spread the word about America’s good rural literature—I’m pushing for them to give some much-needed attention to the wonderful Now in November, for instance.
All of this is to say that, as a part of this association with RLR, they asked me if I’d be willing to be interviewed, and I said I’d be delighted to. Right now, posted on their website, is a lengthy interview with me, so if you’re interested in my reflections on what I’ve learned so far, which rural novels I’d single out for praise (and why), how my work as a teacher has affected my project, etc., there’s a lot of pondering and pontificating there that I’ve never posted here. Head to that link to find out even more insights into my psyche and this crazy quest I’m on. And, in general, I hope you’ll poke around RLR’s site a bit and find out more about what they’re up to. I’m still learning about their work (and how I might collaborate a little, down the road), and I think it’s definitely something that people who love books should be informed about. Cheers to you all, and I hope October’s being good to you so far!