“To make it better, to make it last.”
Those are the last eight words of Edie Clark’s final essay in the collection, As Simple as That.
Do these words evoke motivations in your own life? What have you tried to make better? What have you tried to make last? In what ways have you made things better, made things last?
We invite your thoughts and associations around this evocative theme. Please don’t be shy: Click on the dog below and email us your thoughts! Nothing fancy required. Even a sentence or two will be welcomed and appreciated! Thank you!
Michael Yanega, of Federal Way, Washington, writes:
Edie Clark’s enjoyable essays made me feel as if she were a friend telling me about an episode that happened in her life — a friend who writes very well, at that. I was particularly touched by the essay “Waking up the Truck” in which she lovingly describes resurrecting her late husband’s Ford truck each spring. I could not help but feel that she was bringing a trace of her husband back each time that engine coughed back to life.
Her story of “The Winter Breakers” gives us a sense of the feeling of community and how it lifted the isolation of the long New England winters. Even when individual politics were not shared, the importance of the social gathering imposed a respectfulness that could serve as a model for us now. The importance of the continuity of life and of objects resonated with me in “Stillpoint in the Whirling World” and in the final essay “Answering Back,” where our past homes connect us to earlier times.
I also share Edie’s love of dogs. “Loving Harriet,” with its reminder of loving difficult dogs, and “Something Big Passed By,” with its echoes of Toto and the tornado, were both stories I enjoyed, with good touches of suspense and humor.
Edie also focuses on the complexity of seemingly simple things, and what simplicity really means. Her title story sets that background, and “Down Under,” about putting away food in her cellar, and “The Green of Green Tomatoes,” about the wonder of tomatoes ripening wrapped in darkness, help develop this theme. These stories are examples of how she shares the wondrous ‘miracles of the earth,’ as she calls them.
Edie’s notion of a place, like her farm, where one can just be surrounded by nature, the elements, and some friends and have all that is necessary for a full and satisfying life is a challenge to those of us who have trouble separating from things and status. I recommend her stories as a way to re-ground yourself, whether or not you think you have any affinity for New England and its customs.
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Awaiting your entries for the January Challenge!