Our early spring adventures have taken us to Acadia National Park.  We have discovered the libraries on Mt. Desert Island are as good as the hiking. Today, I’m going to spotlight the Jesup Memorial Library.  The library is located on Mt. Desert Street in Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is a small but densely packed town serving the local community and tourists from all over the world.
    Taking a springtime trip means the usually crowded town is devoid of the heavy traffic seen during the summer months. Many of the shops are still boarded up or closed for the winter season. The weather can be cold and damp. Fortunately for us, the Jesup Memorial library is open and serving the hearty year round resident and us early spring adventurers.

   From the outside, the library is an impressive brick building with a real slate roof and many masonry architectural details around the windows and doors.
    On the inside, the large main hall is a tribute to craftsmanship. Dark stained hardwood moldings go from the ground to the second floor supporting a high arched decorative ceiling. The finish carpenter in me is drawn to quality craftsmanship. I also appreciate having this fine work accessible to everyone vs inside some private home to be seen by few.

    A short history of Jesup Memorial Library is shown on a Museum in the Streets plaque outside the building. It was built by the wife of Morris K. Jesup in 1911.
My wife and I were very impressed with this library, and the staff were happy and helpful. For the traveler, the wifi was excellent and we were able to keep in touch with our friends and family.

     Each library we visit has a different flavor and feeling. Jesup Memorial Library gets high marks for architecture, craftsmanship and friendly librarians. If you travel to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, make plans to stop in to this library. It’s a wonderful place to relax from the hectic travel schedule or spend some time during rainy days. 
April 5th, at 6:30 pm, I'll be giving my public author talk at the Freeport Library, in Freeport Maine.
    I'm getting really excited and can't wait to share my experiences of being a self published author.

You'll find loads of new posts here including ones about writing. (Visit Site)
    One of the best author experiences I’ve had is participating in the Oak Hill Young Writers Club author talks. Anything I can do to encourage kids to express themselves though writing, or any art form, is very fulfilling to me. 

    Karen Witham, is one of the adult leaders who gives her time and energy to making the writers club a nurturing and safe place for students to participate. While at the author talks, I have been able to get to know Karen, and learned about her own personal writing. She was willing to share some of her writings with me, and I asked to share this story on the blog. I’m very happy to say she is allowing me to bring her writing to you. 

                 Here is a short story written by Karen called,

                              “The Hot And The Bothered”

                                    ©Karen Witham 2016

    Brimley looked deeply into Beatrice's eyes. Framing her creamy face with his manicured hands, he leaned forward until their lips met and pulled her into his arms, kissing her hungrily.

  "Cut! That's a wrap, folks! A good day's work. Have a nice evening. See you at 7:00 in the morning." The spotlights blinked off and suddenly the set was full of people. 

    Veronica LaMonica jerked free, "Honestly, you oaf! Do you have to eat garlic before our lovemaking scenes? It's disgusting!" She stormed off the set leaving Torn Sheet standing alone. 

    "Yeah, well you're no heart throb either, Ronnie!" He yelled after her. "What a bitch!" 

    The cast of The Hot and the Bothered slowly dispersed for the evening. It had been a long day with several takes, but the next day's show was finally in the can. It had been very tense on the set since Veronica LaMonica and Torn Sheet had both been nominated for Emmy's. If only one of them won, it would be hell to pay for everyone. Cast and crew members hoped neither would win. That way, they could pout for awhile and then get on with it. 

    At home that night, Veronica slipped into a hot tub and hoped to wash away the frustrations of her day. Candles burned around the enormous bathroom as she relaxed with the magic fingers of the jacuzzi. Cucumber slices adorned her eyes, a glass of wine at her fingertips. 

    When the front door slammed, she tried not to react. She knew a confrontation was coming, and frankly, she just didn't have the energy. Her husband entered the sacred ground of her bathroom and boomed loud enough
for all the neighbors to hear, "Do you really have to humiliate me in front of the entire crew? Damn it, Ronnie, don't you have any sensitivity in that self-centered, shrewish body of yours?" 

    Veronica lifted one cucumber to stare into the eyes of her very handsome husband. "Torn, darling, get a grip. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. It's just so disgusting to kiss you when garlic is oozing from your every pore. Now do be a love and wash my back." 

    Torn Sheet turned to leave the bathroom, and then turned back. "Damn it, woman. You drive me crazy!" With that, he tore off his clothes and dove into the tub. "I'll give you garlic breath!" Taking Veronica forcefully by the 

    shoulders, he kissed her hard on the mouth. She squealed and tried to pull away. Then magically, her arms went around his neck and she drew him closer. He took her there in the jacuzzi, the water rushing around and over
their bodies. 

    Exhausted, they lay back laughing. "You are an animal, my love," she said leaning back against him. His lips touched her hair; his hands gently stroked her breast. 

    "It's you that brings out the animal in me, Ronnie. My God but I love you." 
They spoke no more that evening about what had occurred on the set earlier. Neither could bring himself to discuss the real problem. 

    As Torn grew a little grayer at the temples and small crow's-feet creased his rugged tan face, Veronica felt he'd never been more virile, more appealing. Yet she felt time was being less than kind to her. The aging process only
managed to make her look more matronly. To win the Emmy would cement new roles for her. Once the ingénue roles were no longer offered, there would be character parts in the future that could be equally as rewarding. 

    "Damn it! Why is it so unfair? Torn will be able to play romantic, leading-man roles for years to come." She almost hated him for becoming more attractive with time. She wondered how long it would be before the sweet young things on the set would turn his head, if they hadn't already. The Emmy for him could mean disaster for her. It would only draw more of the chippies out of the woodwork. There were times she wished they were still Lorna Duffy and Howard Weeks back in New York waiting tables and writing greeting cards. 

    The night of the Emmy Awards, Veronica paced their bedroom nervously. She felt her whole future was at stake. Torn, splendid in his tuxedo, took her hands in his and kissed them sweetly. "You've never looked lovelier, my beauty!" He saw the agony in her eyes. "Ronnie, listen to me. It's only a statue. It doesn't mean anything. Please, darling, don't place so much importance on it." 

    "It's important to you, too," she cried. "Don't try to deny it! I just fear winning the Emmy will be the beginning of the end for us. You'll succumb to one of those cute little hard bodies some day. I can't compare to them any
more." Veronica was overcome with grief. Torn knew better than to be baited into this debate. He never won and only succeeded in making his wife more insecure. 

    Later, as the Emmy winners were announced one by one, Veronica grew more grim. At last the nominees were named for the best actress in a daytime series. "And the winner is .. " Veronica closed her eyes, her breath slow and shallow. "Beatrice Chamberlain from The Hot and the Bothered, our own, wonderful Veronica LaMonica!" 

    Could it be? Did she really hear her name? Torn gave her a swift kiss and nudged her in the direction of the stage. The short path to the podium seemed like an endless corridor. Her peers were on their feet applauding
warmly. "They still love me. My God, they still love me!" She was overcome with joy and astonishment. Her speech was grateful and loving, and she was back in her seat before she knew it. Her heart was full. 

    "Best actor in a daytime series ... " she heard the presenter say. In spite of fearing the loss of her husband, she wanted the award for his sake. 

    "Well, folks, it's a clean sweep. Brimley Bartholomew ... Torn Sheet to those who love him. It's only fitting that Beatrice and Brimley win here tonight. Veronica and Torn are the perfect couple on and off the screen." 

    Torn ambled to the podium. He knew only too well of his wife's trepidations. As he got to the microphone, he saw the look of pride and adoration in her eyes. Extending his hand toward her, he said, "Darling, won't you join me to share this." Taken totally by surprise, Veronica was coaxed to the stage to join her husband. Looking out at the audience, Torn said, "I want to thank you all for recognizing my hard work and devotion to my art. And,
more than that, I want to thank my beautiful bride. Without her, I would be nothing." Looking into her tear-filled eyes, he said, "My darling, I am what I am because of you, and I intend to spend the rest of my life making you believe

    Brimley and Beatrice ... Torn and Veronica ... Lorna and Howard kissed unabashedly and walked off the stage arm in arm. 

                                  Hopefully, to be continued…

    Thank you Karen, for sharing your writing with us. I hope we see more of your writing in the future. The kids of the Oak Hill Young Writers Club are very fortunate to have you.  

   Today marks my first experiment as a book busker. Book busker you ask? Portland, Maine, is one of the progressive cities that allows busking and the selling of artwork you produce yourself. As I learned from the other crafters and artisans, there are some specific regulations that you must follow to be in compliance with the city's ordinances, and luckily I was. This was by sheer luck, I might add.

   On Saturday mornings from April to November, Deering Oaks Park in Portland hosts a farmers' market. The artisans and buskers use this event to sell their ware's and perform. 

   Today I filled up my van with a small table, some books, and a folding chair. My wheels started turning before the sun rose to get parking before the market opened. After parking, I sheepishly walked to where I had seen the artisans set up a few weeks before. This being a cold November morning, there was only one person setting up at that moment. His name is Steve Hall. He was selling a variety of hand made wooden cutting boards, and ingeniously designed wood products. Being a total noob, I asked politely if this is where I should set up, if I wanted to sell my book. Steve was very kind and invited me to set up next to him. 

   I trotted back to the van and brought my little set up back with me. I assembled my table near him, and waited for the lines of cash rich customers seeking a good read. 

   Soon more artisans began showing up with tables and bins of goods they had made themselves. A knitter named Allyson Eller set up to the right of me. She had a very inventive display using ironing boards she learned from another artisan. Being light weight and height adjustable, the ironing boards made her display of knitted products very inviting and unique.

   Even though I was new, and all the other sellers knew each other, they treated me like an old friend. I listened intently to their knowledge of the city regulations and horror stories of those who tried to skirt the laws. Allyson and Steve made the day very enjoyable, even though I don't think any one of us could feel their toes it was so cold. 

   Throughout the day, I watched as these experienced artisans interacted with potential customers. One unspoken law I learned was, if you're talking during a lull, and there's a customer nearby, the conversation will end instantly, to be resumed in the next lull. 

I was also given plenty of useful advice that I hope to implement on my next direct marketing adventure. All in all, it was a great experience. 

I had a whopping sale of 1 book. Towards the end of the day, it was looking like the it was going to be the big donut hole for sales. Thankfully, a kind and talkative gentlemen struck up a conversation with me, and bought a copy. Sir, whoever you are, you really did make my day. 

The market ended, and we packed up our wares. Thank you to all the kind people that treated me so warmly today. I hope I can put your advice to good use. I also wish you good luck in your endeavors. You're all good, hardworking, and talented artisans. 

photo by Gwern derivative work
    After more than 50 years of life in America, I have watched our culture change at an ever increasing pace. In grade school we used punch cards for information storage. In my high school days we used a telephone handset modem to connect to the Bowdoin collage computer. You had to take the hand set and push it into these rubber cups to make the thing work. My father bought one of the first digital calculators while I was still in high school. It cost 100 dollars back in the 1980's. 

Acoustic modem and phone plugged OlivierBerger Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
    As the computer revolution was in it's infancy I would never have guessed that globalization was about to change everything. Our country sang the praises of capitalism and technological advancement. Economists were like gods. Unfortunately we were about to learn that capitalism works the same all over the world. Being on top of the economic tower meant our overhead was too high. Capitalism has no prejudice. It does not care what country it's in, or who makes the products. As the playing field levels for everyone in the world, those of us who are on high ground find ourselves sinking, and those in the low lands are rising.

    Our society is now trying to adapt as quickly as it can to the the new rules. Technology is a blessing and a curse.  The efficiencies of credit and debit cards makes paying for things so much easier. No more cashing your check at the end of the week to have money for the next 7 days. The banks had a whole slew of tellers to cash checks and do the job of every day banking. Today if I see two tellers on duty at the same time it's unusual. 

    Opportunities have been opened for us though. In the old days to be a novel writer you had to be picked up by a big publisher. These guys had a monopoly on book publishing. If they didn't like you, you got a new career, or banged your head against the corporate giant in hopes of getting your foot in the door. Technology has given the proletariat writer the tools to get published without them. DIY authors, or should I say, independent authors, are taking that world by storm. The same thing is happening to the music industry. No longer do you have to beg and plead with a big label to get a CD made. Many of us have equipment in our own homes that can give us studio quality recordings. And video…; u-tube probably gets more viewing from videos made on phones than the big networks do. The wild west is here again, but not with horses and six shooters, its with laptops and smart phones. Do it yourself is here to stay. Unfortunately some people are forced to jump into the new economy and, self employment, who otherwise would have preferred to remain in the private sector. The learning curve can be brutal. It's not what we were taught in school. We were suppose to find a good job, get a home, and have a family. With many safety nets gone, and few options, many are shifting to the new economy. 

    As a life long do it yourself’er, I know you really can’t do it all by yourself.  We need each other to prosper in the new reality. I'll help you, and you’ll help me. Even the most self sufficient person cannot build a rocket to the moon by themselves. We cannot solve the global climate disaster or multitude of world problems alone either. By helping each other, we're helping ourselves too. 

    I’m hoping the new economy draws us into a new sense of community. As we rely on ourselves more, we need our communities more than ever. 
      I'll be the first to admit I am not a scientist, and this post is strictly my observations and opinions, but I think they ring true. I'd love to hear from you, and what you think. If you find yourself as a new do it yourself entrepreneur please tell me your story.  

Mark A Evans © 2016

    Why encourage kids to creatively write?

    I’m afraid the reason is totally selfish. As an adult in my middle age, I look to what's going to benefit me in my old age. Some would say money is the most important thing. Yeah... not so much. What's really going to benefit me the most is being surrounded by creative, educated, and compassionate people. And how do you achieve that? You put your time and energy into encouraging, and being an example of those values. 

    The last thing I, or anyone else wants, is an uneducated, unfeeling, and boring people. When I have been given an opportunity to speak with students, I see exuberance and hopefulness. They are already creative and willing to learn. Anything I can do to cultivate and nourish them, is pure joy to me. 

      I especially like to show kids the self sufficient  aspects of do it yourself writing and publishing. Today they have access to platforms that allow them to share their work that I could only dream of as a kid. And not just writing either, we’re talking music, and visual arts too. I believe being able to do it themselves grows self awareness and self confidence. The use of platforms like Create space, and Kindle Direct Publishing, have given me the ability to bring my novel to life. I would not have flourished in the traditional writing paths. I was not planted where I would succeed in that world. I want kids who may have been planted in similar soil as me, to take advantage of these types of resources. 

    Creative writing is an excellent way for kids to express themselves and grow. Participating in the arts in any form builds confidence.  I believe learning to allow themselves to be creative, will make my, and all our lives better. Social pressures from peers and society often squelch self expression. Wether intentional or not, we don't want to force kids into the same old square hole. This is why I also encourage them to seek out sources of inspiration. One cannot find inspiration from the confines of four walls and a cable TV connection. To fill their books with great content, they must first fill their lives with great content. 

    I will quote from, Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

    If kids are not shown the broader world, our society shrinks and becomes small little walled enclaves. This is definitely not going to improve my golden years. I fear wasting away in ambivalence more than all else. Without vibrant people in the world, I cannot live a vibrant life.  

    Just as I like to promote creative writing to students, I’d like to promote to anyone who has an opportunity to encourage and expose kids to new experiences; please step up and share. It’s not only the morel thing to do, it’s going to make your life better too. A win win as it were. To enjoy the lives we would like ourselves, we must help the youth of today to learn, create, express, and fly. 

Mark Evans © 2016

   Littleton, New Hampshire, is a small town located on route 302 close to the Vermont border. On a recent exploration adventure, my wife and I decided to stop there and see what we could discover. 

   Driving into town we noticed banners hanging from many of the light poles along the main street. The banners showed the silhouette of a girl with her arms flung wide with the slogan ‘The Glad Town'. How much more welcoming a banner could you have than that? We would later discover that Littleton was the residence of Eleanor H. Porter, the author of “Pollyanna”. ‘Be glad’ is the name of a game that Pollyanna plays that helps her and many of the characters in the book brighten their lives. The whole town exemplifies this motto.

    Our first stop was to the library, which displays a statue of Pollyanna right out front. The Littleton library is a Carnegie library. I had never heard of these before but apparently Andrew Carnegie funded thousands of libraries all around the world. Not only is the architecture of the building beautiful, but their art collections is amazing. A local resident, Daniel C. Remich donated a collection of paintings from his collection to the library. If you enjoy traditional paintings, take the time to stop in and look around. You would have to go to a museum to see paintings like this on display. 

    After the library we decided to walk around town. As we strolled the Main Street, we came across a colorfully painted piano. On the cover was a sign proclaiming, “Be Glad Make Music”. The public is being invited to play these instruments whenever the inspiration strikes. We would find pianos all over town. Local artist painted the pianos colorfully, and with playful designs. a guitar with the same logo sat ready for playing in the doorway of a local business. 

   Just when we thought Littleton had shown us everything, we were pleasantly surprised to see there was more. Along a walkway, close to where we parked the adventure mobile, several unusual sculpture caught our eyes. Turns out these were not only sculptures, but musical instruments that anyone could play. A series of xylophone inspired instruments were permanently installed along the river park. No one could pass them by without playing them, including us. Selfies and posed photos of people playing the instruments happened continuously.

    Littleton has shown us what a community inspired by literate and music can become. Discovering Littleton reminds me of a quote by Mark Twain,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” I like to think I’m attempting to live up to this quote. 

    As I look to fill my life with experiences, I am often drawn to music. In 2008, I bought my first guitar, and asked my wife to teach me to play. She taught me what she knew and I picked up a lot by playing at a bluegrass drop in, and taking some lessons. She and I both play together now, and have formed a band with my cousin Eric and our good friend Fred. I'm what I call a recreational guitarist. For the most part I use chord and lyric sheets to play, but my chording and rhythm are solid.  

    This summer my wife and I have explored two music festivals. Having never attended a music festival before, I developed a hankering for one. One of the festivals we attended was the Peacham Acoustic Music Festival, “PAMfest" for short. It's held in Peacham, Vermont. I noticed the advertisement on a bulletin board in New Hampshire, after a recent hike. Researching the event, I found it showcased several things I really wanted to do, a bluegrass jam, guitar workshops, and something called a band scramble. 

    The band scramble caught my imagination. You would put your name into a hat, and then be assigned a band as the names were drawn. The band had to come up with a name and a song to perform at an evening concert. You had no idea what instruments the other musicians played, or skill level. It sounded so cool I had to try it out. My wife was being a great sport. This was not her idea to come to the PAMfest, much less take part in forming a band with complete strangers. I applaud her willingness to give it a try. She truly saw how much I wanted to participate. 

    The names were drawn. There were enough musicians to form two bands. My wife and I were in different groups. She was placed in a group with two harmonica players, and a man who played the banjo for their performance. I was in a group with three other guitarists. At this point the bands separated and found some empty rooms to begin our work.

    My band mates and I made introductions and one of the guys proposed a song. It became apparent very quickly that I was the weak link in this ensemble. I had landed in with some very accomplished guitarists. I will leave it to say that my heart sunk a bit during my struggles to learn a new song at the pace these guys could. Their words of encouragement were kind, but the reality of my being able to make a passable performance on this song was not there. 

    Band drama. As much as I liked these new found friends, I was not willing to stand on stage to be totally lost for the entire song. I figured it was better to let the band perform without me. I was not going to be let off the hook that easily. The guys told me to bring a song I knew and to teach them one. I agreed, although, it was awkward to do so. 

    After retrieving my music, I introduced my song. It was an easy three chord song with very predictable chord changes. My band mates didn't miss a note. It was a breeze for these guys. They did some great fill work to make the song sound great.  

    We would perform both songs that evening. My song was done first, and I sang and strummed for all I was worth. I added a few notes with my harmonica to the song they worked on. Because of their willingness to let me show off what strengths I had, it became the wonderful experience I’d thought it would be. All in all, I think it was a good job done well. 

    PAMfest gave us much more than the band scramble. I sat in on one of the best run open bluegrass jams I’ve ever attended. The leader made sure we all knew the key of the song, the chord progression, and any crooked parts that might slip us up. Many of the songs were the same ones I play at my local bluegrass drop in. The performances that happened all day were from many varied acoustic genre’s. Musical inspiration from these performances continues long after the festival is over. 

    The experience I got from music festivals is one I will be repeating. It takes many dedicated volunteers make a local music festival. When local folks are willing to volunteer year

   Because of our obsession with climbing many of the 4000 foot mountains of the New Hampshire, our travels have brought us to, “The Maia Papaya” again. We were in search of coffee, good food, and humanity, while we planed our next hike. The Maia Papaya did not let us down. Coffee, check, smooth and hot. Good food, check, breakfast burrito to die for. Humanity, check, we were introduced to the newest artist, "Greg Williams", who's work is on display this month and next.

   Meeting Greg was completely serendipitous. My wife and I were commenting on how cool the new artwork in the cafe was, when the owner points to a man enjoying breakfast and informed us that this was the artist. After a short introduction, we asked Greg to join us. It did not take long to realize Greg is a man of many passions. 

   Greg is not only an artist, but owns a Dojo and teaches martial arts. He spoke of his love for teaching and inspiring the students at his Dojo. I could feel his pride when he talked about working with at risk kids. Gregs experience in his youth of living in New Zealand, reminded me of my through hike of the Appalachian trail. We discussed finding ourselves, me on the trail, and he living in New Zealand. His art displayed at Maia Papaya is there to help bring awareness and resources to the heroin epidemic within his community. This, in my opinion, makes him a true human being. He is taking the kind of action that actually helps people, and bring awareness of the problem.

   This man of many talents has also done what many teenage kids dream of. He was a stunt fighter in the movies. How cool is that? This summer has been a whirlwind of experiences for my wife and I, and Greg has been one of the coolest. I hope that he, and his artwork, keep inspiring us all. 

   Anyone wishing to see the artwork on display can go to” The Maia Papaya” on route 302 in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. The Artwork will be on display from August to September.