Saturday, August 26, 2006

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #126: Where You Live

Your Weekend Assignment #126: What is the most interesting thing about where you live? "Thing" in this case would be a famous landmark, a famous current celebrity or historical personage from your home town or county, a notable celebration or sports event -- basically, anything that makes where you're from interesting an unique.

Extra Credit: Are there any books that feature your home town (or someplace nearby) in any way?

Dear John,

As I live in Bangor, Maine it's likely you and many of your readers already know what we're currently famous for, so I won't keep you waiting.

Stephen King.

Horror author extraordinaire.


Rabid Boston Red Sox fan.

Myopic, opinionated, multi-millionaire.

Piss-poor singer and musician.

Devoted husband and father.

Not a bad bloke to work for, all things considered.

All that and more...

Yep, he lives here. At least part of the time, but it is “home” when he discusses his life. I've written about him before, back when this blog was on AOL. Millions of articles in newspapers, magazines, fan-fiction, blogs and other cyber-sites have extolled his virtues and castigated his weaknesses – no need for me to rehash here.

We're proud he's here. We appreciate his largess. We appreciate being mentioned in passing in his books and advertisements for American Express (that's the Bangor Public Library he was checking books out of for the AE advertisement). I, for one, admire his ability to make a living as a writer and celebrity on the far side of coke bottle lenses and horrendous demands on his time. For the most part, we try to give him and his family the same space and respect the rest of us demand. Mostly, we succeed. Sometimes we fail miserably.

Such is life.

Aside from King, many other writers have used Bangor, Maine as a prop in their stories – sort of natural as it was the second largest city (until recently) and has the largest airport north of Boston – we host all the Muslim crazies and soccer hooligans when they get yanked off their international flights from Europe, being the first airport in the U.S. that a plane can land at coming from Europe, Great Britain or Ireland. We're the gateway to Acadia National Park and Downeast Maine, the last bit of civilization worth discussing until you reach St. John, New Brunswick when driving east. So it makes sense to use Bangor as a place in a story involving activities on the New England coast or Atlantic Canada.

It was even mentioned in a popular country song from the '60's. That's Bangor for you ... a caricature of a city in a Roger Miller tune...

Third boxcar, midnight train
Destination...Bangor, Maine.
Old worn out clothes and shoes,
I don't pay no union dues,
I smoke old stogies I have found
Short, but not too big around
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the road.

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