Maine, the Way Life Is

Okay. We have this post coming about our favorite Maine places.

And I confess.

I lied.

Well, not really. I just talked about the Maine that my family loves, the beautiful reaches of East Penobscot Bay. I love that Maine, too. But there’s another Maine that I really love. And here it is.

I’ve been riding by this place for months. A jerk of the head, and a “wow, that’s look cool. I should stop.”

So this week I did.

A battered garage, windows sagging open. No lifts. A pit underneath the bays.  Cars frozen in time. Nobody around, the owner retired or really retired.  Everything overgrown. A 60s Mercury wagon still sitting on a bumper jack. Kind of like a house left with the dishes on the table.

Oh, man. The whole scene made me smile.

And what does this have to do with mystery writing? Nothing and everything.

The photos with this post? They’ll stay with me, on my phone and my laptop and in my head. The notion of the place. That will burrow deeper. Who worked here? Where is that person now? What were the plans for these cars? What is the story behind this Maine archaelogical dig?

The story behind the story. Someday some version of this will surface in my fiction. A Jack McMorrow mystery. A Brandon Blake novel. The names will be changed to protect the innocent, and the guilty. I’ll smile as I look at the photos that are on this page. I’ll love committing these scenes to the page. I mean really. Look at the hooks on the front of that truck bumper. The chain from the engine hoist. Something ominous about all of it, no? 

This is Maine, the way life is. This is what I do. We do. Let these images burn into our brains like parasites, only to resurface as a single scene in a single chapter. A character we’ll all want to know. A story we’ll want want to tell, right to the very end.




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6 Responses to Maine, the Way Life Is

  1. Deanna says:

    I hope to recognize this scene when I read the book! Dee

  2. John Clark says:

    Love this. Lost houses have always fascinated me. When we were kids, there was one on Rt. 32 between Hussey’s Store and Rt. 3 that looked incredibly mysterious. It eventually collapsed and I’m not sure you can even see anything remaining unless you know it was there and look carefully. I always wondered why: Why no one lived there, why someone abandoned it, what was the story behind someone neglecting a perfectly good home.

  3. Gerry Boyle says:

    I wonder also, John. Just this week, though, an “abandoned” house on a back road had the lawn cut for the first time in years. Brush cut back in front of the windows. My theory. The owner just got out of state prison. Welcome home.

  4. Lea Wait says:

    Abandoned and neglected and “lost” houses! I confess .. I even dream about them. Explored one (that my parents had put off limits – of course!) as a child. Bought one as an adult, but ran out of money and had to re-sell it a long time before it became what I saw it becoming. I’ll use one of Kate’s words to describe how I see houses like that — redemption. They need saviors. People to uncover their mysteries. Hmmm… I see a future post on houses …..

  5. Barb Ross says:

    I too love abandoned houses. There was one in the woods near my childhood home in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t actually abandoned. The mansion had been knocked down preserving only the stables, the former servants wing, where the impoverished third generation of the original builder lived, and the library, a free standing building then used as a rental property.

    Deep in the woods was the ruins of an old marble swimming pool. The locals had been raiding it for years to build stone paths and whatnot and there was hardly any marble left. And next to it an overgrown bamboo forest where we played hide and seek.

    The place haunts my stories. I’ve placed several scenes in and around it.Years later, I researched the family who owned it and founded the local public library, and the story was even more interesting than any I could have made up.

  6. MCWriTers says:

    I love places like this, Gerry. Down the road from us, on Orrs Island, there was a bulding with a big glass display window packed with antiques. There was not a store there, just that stuff, and it sat undisturbed, frozen in time, for a decade. A few weeks ago I saw that the stuff was gone.

    Places like this feel like the beginnings of story.


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