North Carolina has a sort of "Twilight Zone" quality to it. I mean that in the nicest imaginable way; things just sort of come out of left field here, and what you expect is almost never what you get. Strange, given that this seems to be a state that likes literality in its place names--in the course of a 40 minute drive today, I crossed the Deep River, the Rocky River and the Big River, and discovered a town park called "Town Park." But the people here, born-and-bred Carolinians--they're the surprises.
For example: my farrier. Good guy, does good work. Funny. His favorite descriptive word appears to be "peckerhead." He's "a little bit of a bigot" (his words), but honest and straightforward. I like him; my horse likes him. Upside down under my horse, he mentions that he's been meaning to write. "I have connections in the literary circles here," he says. I tell him he should definitely write if he feels the urge, literary connections or no. "Clyde says the same thing," he says, shifting my horse's foot to get a better angle. She yanks back for a moment, prompting him to interrupt his train of thought with a gentle but firm "Now you stop that."
When she gives in, he comes back to topic, talking and filing at the same time. Clyde is encouraging him to write. Other friends too, and his wife. A few more first names get mentioned. I tell him that I "used to write" and that I'm a voracious reader, and he lights up a little bit more. He lets my horse take her foot back and pats her on the flank, standing up straight to stretch his back and give them both a little rest. "You might have heard of some of my friends, then," he says, and then without a hint of pretense rattles off a who's who of North Carolina authors, all old friends. "Clyde" turns out to be Clyde Edgerton. When he gets to Jill McCorkle, I stop him. "You really do have some outstanding literary friends," I say. He nods. "Yeah," he says, tapping my horse's leg to ask her to lift another foot for him. "Anyway, I keep meaning to write, but I just haven't gotten around to it."
In California, my farrier was pure farrier, not meaning to do anything but trim and shoe horses and spend weekends in Reno with his wife and adult children, gambling. When he worked on my horse, we talked about how silly the politicians in Sacramento were being, about horses and other horse people. In North Carolina, my farrier is a writer and a reader and a friend to some very big names. Undoubtedly when he visits we'll talk about how silly the politicians in Raleigh are being, and about horses and other horse people. But we'll also talk about books, and reading and writing, and what his literary limelight friends are doing.
When he finally does do some writing, I know it will be something interesting.
Me, I've also been meaning to write. But so far, all I've managed to do is blog. And that's the topic for my next post. :)