Darby and the Magic Moment

Probably the character in Howard Elman's Farewell most in line with my own thinking is Birch Latour. Birch, 24 (in 2014), is Howard Elman's grandson. Below are a few lines in Howard Elman's Farewell that Birch says in addressing the Darby Planning Board. "Communities are always changing, but when we look at the history of a place we identify two important time periods, the idealized time period, what I call the Magic Moment and the »

The Zombie Metaphor and a Future for the Human Species

NOTE TO THE READER: What follows is fiction, a draft of some future work? Maybe. Hello, Birch, here is the piece I told you about. If you think it appropriate put it in the Darby Doomsday data base. I know it's pretty esoteric stuff, but hey you did hire me to conceptualize for Geek Chorus Software, so maybe we can find a place for this idea in our game. What does it mean to be »

Ledges Where Birch Was Born

High places scare me. This fear is probably built into my dna, but an experience that almost killed me surely made the phobia worse and, alas, permanent. I was about age 12 visiting my priest uncle with my family in the Pinardville section of Manchester, NH. We often went to Manchester and sometimes stayed a week or more at the rectory of St. Edmund's Parish where my uncle was pastor; while I was there I »

Salmon Estate and Cooty's Cabin

I have roots in the Monadnock Region, that part of New Hampshire in the southwestern corner whose landmark is Mount Monadnock, a place of forests, glacial erotics–excuse me, glacial erratics–and of course the mountain. My connection with this area begins with my uncle, my first mentor, and the man I am named after, the Rev. Joseph Ernest Vaccarest. His first parish as a young pastor was St. Dennis Church in Harrisville in the »

Latour's Spoonwood Cabin

In Spoonwood, Frederick Elman a.k.a. F. Latour moves into the woods at the site a former hippie commune from the 1960s to get away from booze to raise Birch, his infant son. I loved creating this little home in the woods along with its back story of hippie idealism and eroticism and, in the end, failed dreams. I got the idea from a real place in my town of Westmoreland, New Hampshire, that »

Turner Jordan Place

The Turner Jordan place, which appears in Howard Elman's Farewell, is based on one of the nicest properties in my town of Westmoreland, NH–house, workshop, and a garden where the wonders of nature integrate with the tastes and desires of the gardener. However, the scene between Howard and Turner Jordan is one of my regrets. Turner Jordan is too much like Jim Merritt, a skilled wood worker who specializes in turned wooden bowls. I »