Middlebury, Vt.

Life in the middle of Vermont.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Blogel

What's a blogel? It's a novel in blog form. The word recently popped into my brain, though I doubt I invented it. Having no aspirations to write the Great American Novel, I've always thought it would be fun to try to serialize something in novelistic fashion. Stay tuned for the actual story set in Centerville,Vt. In the meantime...

Notes on blogel characters:

Gustavo Deadhead -- He once had a promising journalistic career. But he flamed out in his late 30s and has been struggling to find a writing identity ever since. Or just an identity, period. He's hoping that his recent move to Vermont will provide professional inspiration, but most people don't think he still has it him (not that they ever did). A PR hack and generally likable muddlehead. If all else fails, he can always make a living growing Vermont Green.

Ira and Tracy Tantrum -- A former artist, Irate Ira has settled down to a life of curmudgeonly opposition to all things progressive. If a Democrat once advocated it, he's against it. She's moved on from midwifery to growing organic food, but most of their cash comes from mutual funds invested in tobacco companies. The latest advance in their life is indoor plumbing in the old farmhouse where all five of their kids -- and a number of their cows -- were born.

Daniel Dickinson -- Once known as the student at Centerville College most likely to commit three axe murders, 30 years later he's recently returned to town but no one really knows why. He's inclined toward uninvited five-minute rants espousing whenever Rush Limbaugh's latest cause is. Everyone in Centerville is just glad he hasn't committed any murders.

Judd and Anna Meetings -- He went from being an environmental lawyer to a judge appointed by Sen. Layme, Vermont's reigning progressive politician. But now Judd -- yes, he was Judge Judd -- has retired to a farm in Sanctuary, north of Centerville, where he raises sheep and makes smelly cheese that sells in high-end Boston markets, the kind that are patronized by failed presidential candidates' wives from Brookline. Anna spends most of her time supervising a social service agency, where she pretends that she doesn't feel superior to her agency's poverty-stricken and poorly educated clients.

Henri Verlaine -- A third-generation Vermonter whose family came down from Qu├ębec rather than starve to death, Henri makes his living picking up odd jobs. He loves Dale Earnhardt Jr. and would much rather be watching NASCAR than actually working. In the winter, his favorite hobby is driving across frozen Lake Champlain to the Wal-Mart on the New York side of the lake.

Harley Hazard -- Previously a network radio executive, he's retired to a farmhouse and small pond up in the hills of the town of Polk (named after one of the nation's several fourth-rate presidents). From Polk he broadcasts down onto an unsuspecting populace using the airwaves of WDRT (slogan:"We Love to Roll around in It"). WDRT features a mix of reggae, rural funk, folk singer types (in Richard Ruane's memorable phrase, "well-meaning folks with guitars"), and obscure discs from the 1920s that sound like one of Harley's goats chewed on them before he put them on the air.

All this and more as life unfolds in and around happy Centerville, Vt.


Anonymous Ross said...

What have you got against Sen. Leahy? "Layme"? Lay me? Lame? This is no way to make friends.

11:37 AM  

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