By Marie Bartlett
From Hendersonville, North Carolina, writer Marie Bartlett, also known as Onceawriter, travels to rural areas across the United States, writing about "little known aspects of Americana." She plans to share with us the hidden 'gems' she finds as she travels.
Currently she is working on a series of posts focused on Nebraska, particularly the Sandhills region in the western part of the state, and including small rural towns all over Nebraska.
Next on her list are rural areas of Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas and "parts unknown."
Her life in rural America is an extension of her childhood. "I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains away from large cities and feel most at home in the country. Currently, I live in Hendersonville, a retirement community of about 12,000 in a house surrounded by trees, wild turkeys, a white squirrel that scampers among the grays, and an occasional black bear with her cubs."
She has more than 25 years experience as a writer in both nonfiction and fiction venues. Born in Melbourne, Australia to an Australian mother and an American father, she has fond memories of her childhood in a small town.
She defines "homesteader" this way: "To me, a homesteader is someone who has the courage to strike out on her own, find a place that feels right and then – within legal bounds – turn 'nothing' into something special."
Her area isn't conducive to gardening. "The clay soil where I live doesn’t allow for good planting of crops, but I grew up with a grandmother who gardened and canned. I often helped her tend the garden, string beans and can or freeze goods. She made jellies, jams and taught me how to bake from scratch."
Which brings us to her "country skills." "Due to my grandmother’s influence, I know how to can, cook, garden and quilt. She also had a spring house and a canning shed. And we used an outhouse from time to time! So I know all about those too."
And Marie's philosophy on country life?
"That it's pure, sweet and not as 'simple' as most people think. It can require a person to be both resourceful and have a strong work ethic because there is often physical labor involved. But nothing beats the relative peace and quiet, and the solitude with nature when sitting under a shade tree, walking through a well-tended garden, or watching a sunset with a mountaintop view."
Marie has four published non-fiction books, hundreds of feature articles in print and four ghostwritten books, all based upon true stories. In 2013, she transitioned to fiction writing with her first historical novel, Pearl, MD and its sequel Pearl, MD: The Way West about an independent woman doctor in the 1880s. Her newest venture is travel writing, with a love for all things Americana. She is currently a member of the Western Writers of America.
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