I have a book in my writing library titled Magazine Writing From the Boonies, by Mark Zuehlke and Louise Donnelly. It’s a cute little purple number with realistic suggestions on how to write from where you are.
Many people, writers among them, live and work in the cities of the world, or towns, or even hamlets. But there are some folks who insist on taking things to the extreme and living in a rural location. My name is Janice L. Dick and I am a rural writer. Forgive me, but that’s just how it is.
I’ve been a country girl all my life, with only a six-month stint in the city before I married, and I hope to remain a country girl for the rest of my life, as circumstance and health permit. Rural life is like living at the lake year round. Sounds wonderful, but of necessity it includes long drives to wherever you wish to go or have to be. In my part of the world where winter settles in for seven or eight months of the year, bicycling is not an option, but I don’t mind. I’ll make that sacrifice for the opportunity of living where I do.
Many people, including book printers, do not understand the concept of rural living.
“Please give me your street address so we can mail your books out to you.”
“I don’t live on a street. My house is on the NE corner of my quarter section.”
“But how do you get your mail?”
“Post office box.”
“I’m sorry, Ma’am, but we do not deliver to a post box. We’ve already discussed that.”
“I’m sorry too, but that’s all I can give you.”
“Is there at least a gas station where the courier can drop off your book order?”
“Nope. But there’s a post office.”
And so the conversation continues. Finally, I weaken, call my Rural Municipality Office and ask if the secretary there will receive and sign for my book shipment and call me when it arrives. I feel like I’m being punished for living in the country.
Would I change my location if I could? Not on your life. I like it here, away from the noise and traffic of the city, from the gossips of the towns and the prying eyes of the hamlets, with only the coyotes to howl me to sleep at night. So I suppose I’ll have to be content to receive my book shipments through a third party, to having frustrating conversations with city sales people, because I’m a writer who has chosen to live in the boonies.