Saturday, March 29, 2014

Molly Caro May's "The Map of Enough"

Molly Caro May is a writer and teacher of place-based writing workshops. Her work has appeared in Salon, Feministing, Orion, Fourth Genre, among others. She lives in Bozeman, Montana.

May applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, The Map of Enough: One Woman's Search for Place, and reported the following:
This page is a culmination page, only three pages away from the end of Chapter Three. After three months of constructing the yurt, Chris and I are finally erecting it—in a below-freezing blizzard, with our dog Bru wrapped in a down jacket. Wind comes up. It blows our gear down. It blows us down. So we slide down the hill, hop in our Jeep and go driving to wait it out. When we return, the white landscape seems a different place than the one we arrived in during the summer. I reflect back on the woman I was then, the woman I am now, the woman I will be.
On our return, as we drove back up the snow-packed driveway, the white tugged me back to our first dark night on The Land about half a year ago. How distant the wild green grass seemed now, how distant that woman standing in the wild green grass seemed, like an old tattered photograph our great-great-grandchildren would find in a closet one day and know about, how more distant she would become even to the woman wondering about her now.
Once the yurt frame is up, the wind whips up again and we have to wait until the following morning to wrap it in canvas. We pause before descending back down the hill. I see it as an animated creature now. Where there had been nothing but trees and grass, there is now a structure, a focus, at least for us humans. The page ends with the word “never” which is wildly appropriate. Maps have guided much of my life and, in this moment, I realize that Montana had never come to me on a map, and yet, here I was.

“We stood and stared at a new presence—the brown skeleton against a white landscape. My younger self who planned to translate languages had never found Montana on a map, never…”
Visit Molly Caro May's website.

--Marshal Zeringue