When I was around fourteen or fifteen, I sat in the sunroom of my parents’ house. Surrounded by my mom’s ever-growing collection of novels (my niece recently counted and she owns well over 1,000 books), I shot off a text to a friend. The Midwest Creative is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Like you, I grew up in Eastern Iowa, on a small dairy farm that provided plenty to do and we were never offered many opportunities to be bored! I left for the Army in 1968 and didn't look back, a couple of years in Vietnam and soon I was back, but for 13 days and I left again, this time to hitch hike Europe. 10-11 months later I hich hike back from New York City to Iowa, broke! No regrets! 37 years or so I lived in Cedar Rapids and I got to hating it with a passion. Even in Iowa's second city you can still find that same meaness in people you found in the smallest of towns. Who you come from counts, and if you aren't "somebody" then you are simply "nobody" and deserve about as much respect. The whole thing about this is you just have to bloom where you are planted! Running away to be discovered simply is a waste of time with the exception of those few artistic winners of their own lottery! Success is brewing once you get satisfied living in your own skin wherever that skin is located. I'm not particularily artistic, but I do write. One of the things I work on is bringing Germans to my hometown of 4,000 to see where their people landed! Like you, everybody here is related to everybody else in a larger sense, and many came from the same place, where the same thing happened! So, it isn't difficult to connect dots that are generations removed but have the same last names! So far I've had three groups and the last one had a German Public Television crew riding along. We don't get them for a long stretch maybe a day or two, but it is astounding how people enjoy it! These same knot heads who want to keep them foreigners out actually get to meet a few of them same "Foreigners" that are connected to them! Probably the first folks they ever met face to face that don't speak English as a first language. We've reconnected people so they have family reunions again! It isn't rocket science, nor is it connected to the East and west coast, but it is something from here for here and God knows what will come from it! I've been featured in local German newspapers a few times, featuring people that I have connected . its fun and a lot of work, but what isn't these days? Local artist: here we have Jo Campbell Amsler a well known world wide basket maker. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org She does international basket maker tours so there is just one connection!
This is all well-stated, particularly the idea that "building a creative life does not come from living in a specific place." I had a similar epiphany about the purpose of writing itself (coming in a newsletter scheduled for next week): "Growing as a writer involves the gradual realization that you're answering a call from somewhere in your soul." I look forward to more insights from you and other Midwest Creatives!
I am a visual artist recently relocated from the Rocky Mountains to Minnesota. Looking for creative Midwest community.
Is this the right first step on my path?
Excellent piece Macey!
Love the theme you've chosen for your collaborative writing...and your writing too!
Very proud and you are very talented.
I love it, Macey! Thank you for your thoughtful intro. We are glad you are here in Iowa and welcome you to the Iowa Writers' Collaborative!
Macey, what an endearing introduction! Welcome to the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative!