In Search of Charlotte’s Web

Did you know that E.B. White had a farmhouse in North Brooklin, Maine, which served as the inspiration for Charlotte’s Web as well as many of the articles he wrote for The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly? It’s also the focus of my story, “In Search of E.B.,” which appears in the Winter 2012 issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review (available for purchase here and in text form here). It’s about an unexpected adventure my traveling companion and I had while trying to find this still privately owned farmhouse in the middle of the Maine wilderness.

Without giving away too much of the story – I’ll just say it involves a Camaro, an unmarked road, and a rapidly rising tide – here are some pictures from the little trip we took last year.

Our Camaro and the approaching tide

 

Looking back in disbelief

Pictures from E.B. White’s farmhouse!

Rob holding E.B. White’s swing

 

Stefanie Weisman on E.B. White’s farm

 

E.B. White’s boathouse/ writing cabin

 

E.B. White’s Maine retreat

On a related note, I’m almost done reading The Story of Charlotte’s Web, by Michael Sims. This brilliantly written book details the forces in White’s life that led him to create his masterpiece. I identify so much with E.B. White – like him, I’m an introvert who loves to write and feels more comfortable around animals than people. I realized, though, that most of my memories of Charlotte’s Web come from the 1973 animated film version and not the book, which I think I read only once. Growing up, I was a much bigger fan of Stuart Little, and recently I’ve developed a great appreciation for his essays. But now I can’t wait to pick up a copy of CW.

“…remember that writing is translation, and the opus to be translated is yourself.” – E.B. White

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