A unique opportunity came my way this month. Bangor’s Penobscot Theatre Company, unwilling to risk live audiences, invited me and four other Maine writers to compose ghost stories that will be performed and produced as an audio entertainment, the first show of their re-visioned fall season. Even better – they agreed to let me write mine as an old-fashioned rhyming ballad, set in Maine’s Cranberry Isles.
I did some reading on the lost art of the balladeer. Before the prevalence of print material, sung ballads were the primary source of story-telling and history-keeping. An ancient book on the shelf of Sutton Island, called “Minstrelsy of Maine,” says:
“It is not so much the extension of the art of reading and the cheapness and the abundance of print which have made the ballad out of date…but a change from the supremacy of the ear to that of the eye.”
As a longtime devotee of “the ear” – music, rhyme, rhythm, song – this concept grabbed me. I also used the opportunity to connect with Rachel Field in a literary way, since I used her biography of Samuel Hadlock as my jumping off point.
Tune in! Give supremacy to your ear!
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 361: 196 words, TOTAL = 59,059; 941 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is an award-winning author, poet, and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her children, grandchildren, and granddogs.