A month or so ago I re-discovered the BBC series from the late seventies and early eighties _All Creatures Great and Small_. I had first encountered the series when they were re-run, like so much British television during that time, on my local PBS station. (An entire generation of us came of age within the anti-rational realm of _Monty Python_ and _The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy_ thanks to this cross-atlantic fertilization.) I was in high school, and I remember finding the books at my local book store and consuming that just as quickly as I could.[^1]
With the election just behind us, recaps of the final weeks are rife with all kinds of explanation, but one in particular caught my eye: Bruce Springsteen campaigned for Obama. Ignore the politics of it. I was very fond of Springsteen in graduate school. _Nebraska_ especially haunted my days at various moments.
Later in graduate school, I discovered the work of Wendell Berry, and, like _All Creatures_ and _Nebraska_, his work captures some dimension of small towns in a way that I find quite appealing. Sure, Springsteen’s work isn’t really about small towns, but the way it so often seeks to vivify a small cast of characters, to make them fully human, feels similar to the work done in the other works.
In recalling these works to my imagination, I am also reminded of the role that James Agee played and Sherwood Anderson. These are the books I loved, admired. These are the books I wish I had written. And in thinking that I realize that perhaps I have the chance to write them, only set here on a landscape, or collection of landscapes, that I have come to know reasonably well.
This note is a placeholder for now.
[^1]: My rediscovery came about thanks to Netflix’s similar largesse with BBC programming: I had consumed several seasons of _Foyle’s War_ and decided that while I liked the time period and setting, I could do with a bit of a break from what can sometimes be the extremely tense plotting of the series. And so I remembered _All Creatures_ and was pleased to find the first two seasons available to watch on Amazon Prime.