According to the DailyUV (now HereCast), this is my 500th post to this blog, ArtfulEdge. A profound and heartfelt thank you to each and every reader and subscriber. It’s been quite the ride.
Readers ask me about my blog from time to time, and the questions often echo each other. Is it fun? (Yes.) How do I find the time for two or more posts a week? (Don’t know, but retiring from my career as a law professor helped to clear my schedule.) Are you planning to write about [fill in the blank]? (Yes. No. Maybe. I am already overcommitted, but thank you for the suggestion. And please forgive me if I can’t possibly get there.)
My favorite question is how I find the stories that I write about. My answer is that, like you, I live in the Upper Valley. When establishing this blog, I staked out a particular area—the arts—because the Upper Valley is positively awash in artistic creativity: Northern Stage, Hopkins Center, Hood Museum, JAG Productions, Opera North. The galleries AVA in Lebanon, White River in SoRo, Big Town in Rochester, not to mention the walls of DHMC and every small town library that purposefully brings art to everyday life.
Artists of every stripe live among us, performing in We the People community theater, painting in Tip Top studios or in their own garages or dining rooms, editing their poetry over coffee at Tuckerbox. It is the absolutely best news for us when I say I cannot possibly take it all in, that even with twice-weekly posts, I am covering but a fraction of what goes on around us.
So I scan Facebook, check my email, read local news sources, empty my mailbox to discover opportunities, and I do what you do—buy tickets to events that interest me, throw on some lipstick, slide into the passenger seat of our pickup truck with my husband/driver/business manager, and go. And then I write. But there is a raft of other stories that fall right into my metaphorical lap as I simply walk, run, or dance through what would otherwise be just an ordinary day. Recent examples include my belated discovery of Muriel’s Donuts while walking on the Mascoma River Greenway with my friend Liz. Getting in some steps to appease the FitBit gods, I accidentally discovered what was going into the old Dartmouth Bookstore space. Twice.
One of my very best serendipitous finds began with a plan for a stroll around Occum Pond that yielded—of all things—an archeological dig smackdab in the middle of the lawn of Baker Library. Those nice folks let me hold the false teeth they had just found in an excavated privy.
Finally, this blog has allowed me to have conversations with artists near and far, from budding cartoonists in White River Junction, to internationally renowned artists of sound, to a noted choreographer just after his Broadway production had won a Tony Award.
Don’t have enough column inches here to name all of the restaurants that have appeared in this blog and sustained me in the last few years with French fries, baigan bharta, English pot pies, and maple creemees. Food is its own form of art.
I am grateful that this humble blog has led to other writing opportunities for me. But I’m not done with blogging. It’s my daily meditation on life here in the UV, and I always look forward to sharing it with you.
Again, thank you. I appreciate your readership and hope that you will continue to meet me here. The 501st post is coming right up.
(Photo of Northern Stage’s Once by Kata Sasvari, photo of teeth by Susan B. Apel)
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Susan B. Apel is a freelance writer and retired law professor whose creative nonfiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of literary journals such as Vine Leaves, Best of Vine Leaves 2015, the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Literary Mama, and Persimmon Tree. Her blog, ArtfulEdge, appears regularly on the DailyUV. She has published reviews in Art New England, Vermont Art Guide, and Boston’s The Arts Fuse. She is an Art Correspondent for The Woven Tale Press and a columnist for the newspaper, Vermont Woman. She lives in Lebanon, NH.