The homestead revival
Last week, I listed the main sources I will use throughout the pages. I also added a few notes with each source to help me organize my thoughts, which in turn is helping organize my book. One of the main questions that I keep coming back to is; how am I going to narrate this book? I mean, will I use one main story line, one main character? Or/and, should I use multiple character sources, referencing them when relevant for a particular section? With those questions to ponder, I also need to remember Rabiner’s advice, “have a question with a curious human mind at its center” (Rabiner 192), How do I achieve
Per the Encarta English Dictionary, foreground means, “to put something in an important position and so draw attention to it” (EncartaDictionary).
Now, I have those questions, a piece of advice (which I personally think is the “key” to success when narrating a serious nonfiction), and then, more questions.
As this is a blog, I will blog my thoughts, which are a bit of a mess, but make perfect sense to me.
I am trying to come up with my ANGLE. Which direction will I start from, go to, and end up at? I am leaning towards Dick Proenneke’s 1967 off grid adventure as my main story line character. I feel that using some of my own adventure, comparing it with his, during specific significant points throughout.
The key will be, being able to weave his story into the pages, while still maintaining a focus on my own story, and relevant subject matter, in order to argue and explain my points with organization. My fear is that I will lack that important flow. The tone that turns the pages. I fear that I have a great idea, but maybe I lack the skill.
Questions arising as I type:
Why is homesteading and off grid living becoming a thing of the present, and not staying in the future?
What exactly drives someone to live off grid and homestead?
Why is it that I am more than curious to try a homesteading lifestyle?
What makes me what to live off grid?
The new form of retirement, following Dick Proenneke’s 1967 retirement from the modern world, and into the past. This now seems to be the future.
What did Dick Proenneke know that we did not know?
What is the main allure?
What inspired Proenneke to go off grid?
What made me decide that off grid homesteading is the lifestyle for me?
What makes it possible for me to homestead now?
What is the allure of homesteading?
Why Dick Proenneke and not someone else?
Dick Proenneke began his off grid lifestyle at the age of 50. This is most likely the age I will be truly living off grid. I am estimating that it will take me 1 to 5 years for my family to find and settle into our homestead. This will put me in my mid forties. Unlike Dick, I will not be fortunate enough to retire at that time. However, I do foresee being able to telecommute for work, and therefore, work off grid. This gives me an edge, being able to somewhat be at the same point in life, age-wise, that is.
Similar to Proenneke, I also have a desire to be the dominating player and role in what I eat, where I live, how I live, and without having to answer the why. That is the goal, however the contradiction to the is that this book WILL be explaining the why, but not in the same sense. I will be using what is driving me to live off grid, but part of the off grid allure is not having to answer to so many other forces outside of nature.
There are many other similarities; construction background, backpacking, the desire, the love of solitude, the comfort ability with myself and family, the isolation, the beauty; just to name a few. Most importantly though, there are many differences. From technology zilch then, and here now. For example, solar panels and windmills, water generators, and many other amenities that we have now, were not around in the 1960’s; or if they were, they were not nearly as advanced and convenient. Some may ask, Is this going against the homestead or off grid picture? I answer, there is no exact model for this lifestyle. That is the key. Off grid and homesteading can look different from acre to acre. The allure is the fact that we can choose. We have the choice. There are no HOA boards or meetings. There are no solicitors. There are no neighbors-at least not close neighbors. It is not to accrue what others have. That is not the dream. Maybe for one family it IS to accrue what others have, but to accrue it in their own way. Maybe I want a matching sofa and love seat (which I have to admit, I have had only once as an adult. The funds always seemed to go out the door, LITERALLY. Most of our extra money has been spent to explore the mountains, Mexico, or our front and back yard, rather than decorating the house. This is another good point I need to remember. Gosh I wish I had a tape recorder, or hand held recorder that would read my mind, as sometimes my ideas that are great, awesome and THE IDEA, is forgotten before I can type it out. I HATE THAT!!! The narration will be about me, my findings to answer the questions above, specifically, what is it that is bringing the homestead and off grid lifestyle to a forefront? Why have we decided to sacrifice modern amenities to physically work harder each day, and most likely longer?
Priorities have changed for those of us wanting to go off grid. Obviously, if we are willing to give up having a hot shower whenever we want. What has changed those priorities? For some of us (I refer to us as, homestead and off grid hopefuls like myself), there is no real turning point. But, for most of us, there is a specific turning point. Something that quickly, or slowly took hold of our hearts and minds and remains there today. I strive to find these pieces of information, and I hope to portray them accurately when I am writing about someone else.
My homework for this week is to reread Proenneke’s journals, and to re-watch his documentary. I want to re-watch the documentary so that I can highlight some important aspects, and organize my own personal narrative.