Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Village Mouse

I discovered this morning that I'm neither a city mouse nor a country mouse. I'm a village mouse. I like someplace with some shops, but not a mall, close borders but more than one stop light (or intersection). Someplace that has it's own school, perhaps, an at least two churches. And ideally a nice little river and a central town square that actually is the center of town. I realized this visiting such a place today. Though it was more of a suburb, and nicely affluent albeit slightly far-flung suburb, it did have the river and the shops. And I like those places better. Cities are too crowded and impersonal, the countryside too remote and isolated.

Oddly enough, now that I have more than one central, recurring character that I'm tossing ideas around for, I find that one of them is a city mouse, and the other a country mouse, and that neither of them occupies the space between. In both of them I guess I'm exploring the appeals of both locales. There are things I like about the big city, and honestly that's where I've lived the past decade plus now of my life. (Not in the same city, but three of them - aside from a brief bit in a college town.) So I have my city character, someone who needs the hustle and bustle. And I have my country character, who seeks the solitude and open spaces.

There's more to it than that, as my country character does venture into the city. Though so far my city character does not head out to the country, and I guess that's often typically the way it is. If you live too far out, either someone has to bring you supplies, or else you have to go get them. And since none of us live off the land directly anymore, that means a city, even if it's a small one. On the other hand, if you're in the city, there is often little reason to leave other than the infrequent vacation. I suppose the appeal of village - ok, remote and affluent suburb - is the illusion of having both, even if it is more town than country.

But that's okay. No one ever said you should have to give up your illusions. That's what fiction's all about anyway, isn't it?

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