For this week’s Wicked Wednesday, let’s talk community. That can mean the physical place as well as the people who live there. All the Wickeds have set our series in small towns. So, dish. Share one bad thing that’s happened to your protagonist because of your series’ community . . . or one good thing.
Edith/Maddie: In my Cozy Capers Book Group series, nearly all the shop owners and some of the town officials belong to the cozy mystery book group Mac Almeida is also part of. That’s her community, and when the group starts to think a real murder is their own cozy mystery to solve, she tells them, “No! This is real life.” The book group pulls Mac into trouble – but they also rally around to help her get out of it.
Jessie: What a great question, Edith. I love the set-up for your Cozy Capers series. The same community of Walmsley Parva works for and against my sleuths. At the beginning of Murder in an English Village, Edwina is the subject of village gossip which is not not something she enjoys. Beryl, on the other hand, is delighted to feel like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her adult life.
Sherry: The contrast between Edwina and Beryl is one of the reasons I love your series, Jessie! One of the hard things for Sarah in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries is that the community is very tight knit and if you aren’t from there you may never be fully trusted. On the other hand, the DiNapolis who own DiNapoli’s Roast Beef and Pizza have taken Sarah under their wing and stand up for her.
Barb: Sarah’s decision to stay in Ellington following her divorce is one of the most interesting things about her. Julia Snowden in the Maine Clambake Mysteries is the product of a marriage between a summer person and a local. This puts her nowhere in the social hierarchy of Busman’s Harbor and makes her feel like an outsider. Her sister, Livvie, has no such qualms and has fully embraced the community as they have fully embraced her. Which all goes to show, I suppose, that feeling like an outsider can be driven as much from your insides as from your circumstances.
Julie: Goosebush is the kind of place where everyone knows each other’s business. The premise of the Garden Squad is that they notice or hear of problems and set out to solve them. The wonderful thing about Lilly is that she doesn’t care what folks say or think about her. But she’ll defend her loved ones at all costs. She loves the community and aspires to make it the best it can be.
Readers: When have you had support from your community, however you define it?
I lived in Wallagrass, Maine when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like many Crown of Maine spouses, my husband worked 225 miles away down state and couldn’t get home on weekdays. Chemo treatments were on Thursdays in Presque Isle – 60 miles away – and my treatment ran from early November through to January. Not a road friendly time. My community made sure I didn’t miss a treatment, or a doctor’s appointment – and those were often in Bangor – 175 miles away.
I literally owe my community my life.
You gave me shivers, Kait. What a wonderful community!
I’ve never had the support of my community. Other than one particular spot where I could’ve used it, I’ve never had the need for it.
However, when my dad was dying and then died from cancer, members of the community came out for him. The last time he was in the hospital, someone he had arrested years earlier came to see him and thanked him for helping him get his life turned around.
Sounds great right? Well, it was. Of course, right after he died the town he’d served for nearly 30 years immediately tried screwing him (and by extension my mother) over regarding his pension.
So in my experience, community is at best a hit or miss proposition.
That’s gotta be true, Jay. I’m sorry yours hasn’t been there for you.
I now live in a smallish township not far from Pittsburgh, PA, and it is much like Sarah found Ellington. If you weren’t born here, you are never really a part of the town fabric, but as more and more outsiders move in, there is another group that is more welcoming. My husband was in the military for 24 years, and that’s really where community meant something to me, with neighbors and friends glad to help with anything that you needed, even if you just moved there. Our best friends are the ones we met in the Army.
Sherry can definitely relate to that, Kitty. I’m glad you found those friends.
The community that has helped me the most over the years is the writing community. And it stretches beyond my writing (although that was the entry). Most of my best friends these days were met through my writing journey.
I know the feeling, Liz!
Barb, you are so right that feeling have as much to do with belonging to a community as anything else. I’ve notice that time and time again in my life.
I agree, Mark.
A subject near and dear to my heart as I volunteer in two areas, historical and environmental. I think about “community” every day of my life in multiple sizes and definitions. The message I use with others is about community and building community and participating in community. Do a Venn diagram with yourself in the middle and you would be surprised how many lives touch you and how many you touch via all the communities of which you are part. The message to others is community and building community and participating in your communities.
Nice line of conversation here.
Thanks, Doris. I agree!
In a town close to me, a young girl was diagnosed with cancer and the whole town came together for her, participating in fund raisers and other events. They even threw a Christmas in October parade for her, with gifts and a ride on a fire truck. Sadly she did die but her funeral was well attended.
What a wonderful thing to do.
Very good question! I haven’t focused on this as much. My protagonists go after thieves but I haven’t had too many people trying to sabotage them. However, I think I will now. That will be my goal in the next story. Thanks a lot and great post!
Go for it, Parker! Thanks for stopping by the blog.
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