Another place that my mom and I visited in July of 2002 was the Michigamme Reservoir. I just noticed that my mom spelled it Mishagamee in her memory book. In the UP, summers are usually cool. But occasionally it can get pretty warm, like on the day we went to the reservoir. I still remember wishing that I had brought my swim suit. Here’s a map of the area. My mom and I only stopped briefly at it; we didn’t canoe or fish.
It’s been awhile since I posted here. I took the summer off. Now that I’m back, I’m struggling to figure out how to finish (?) this project. I want to create something with all the work that I’ve done without having to devote too much time to it.
My first step: to finish my mini-project about my mom’s memory book and the summer of 2002. I’m starting here because it’s a relatively small project and because September 30th is the 5th anniversary of my mom’s death and I want to spend some time remembering and mourning her this month.
Right now, I’m revisiting her photo book, finding footage, gathering other materials, and trying to conjure up memories from that special summer when my mom was still alive and we were together. As I began writing this last sentence, I realized that when I think about my mom now, almost 5 years after her death, I almost always think about that magical summer. Our relationship was more than the hiking and talking and eating/drinking that we did that summer, but I think I miss that time the most. Perhaps it also stays with me because I have so many photos + video footage from it?
In her photo book, my mom divides up the month into our visits to different locations around the UP: Bewabic State Park, George Young Recreation Area, Mishagamee Reservoir, Ottawa Forest and Hunter’s Point in the Keeneewaw Peninsula. As a starting point, here’s a map of Bewabic State Park:
I’m thinking more about making a Farm board game as well as a video game. Too much? Oh well. Here’s a talk that I watched a few years ago that got me inspired. Pretty cool.
Bone Wars, the game she talks about, looks great. I’m seriously thinking about ordering it (and their other game, Parasites) for research…and to play with my kids this summer! In the past, I haven’t much of a board game player, but I think I might like this one.
I haven’t been writing on this blog that much recently. It’s mostly because I was busy working on another project (The Talk). But it’s also because I’ve realized that my project is too ambitious. I’m trying to rethink how to make it more manageable, which is difficult for me because I like thinking BIG. Usually too big. I think it can overwhelm potential collaborators. Like my 11 year old son. I might have freaked him out with my “epic” plan for our video game about The Farm. I am hopeful that, if I can rein myself in, we can create something to share with others this summer.
I was reminded of my grand video game plans this morning when I came across an article for Sundance, Future is Now: 5 Things Pushing the Art and Form of Storytelling. One of those things is Games! Video games and board games. I like the idea of imagining my Farm game as both a Zelda-esque video game and as a board game. Part of the fun of this project is exploring and learning all about the different possible forms for storytelling. My academic/nerd self loves to do the research and learn more about it. As I was writing this second paragraph, I realized that I just made my project more, instead of less, ambitious by suggesting that it should be both a video and a board game. Ugh! Maybe it’s going to be harder to rein myself in than I thought? Oh well.
While researching Finnish women’s experiences living in the UP, I came across “Marys in Pants” or housu maijat. Here’s a description, found in the great book, Women Who Dared: The History of Finnish American Women:
A small number of women choose to use America as an opportunity to live independently in the woods. These women build their own log cabins and live off the land, hunting, fishing, and trapping….The Finnish American community refers to them as housu maijat, and develop legends about their independence, bravery, and kindness. The legends suggest that while the Finnish American community admired these women, they define them basically as freaks, not considering their behavior could be a form of self-improvement.
K. Marianne Wargelin
I want to make a NPC (non-player character) woman that lives out in the woods. Maybe I’ll name her Maria Keranen (known locally as Loukus-Maiji). The real Keranen lived in the woods and “had a colorful reputation” in the UP in the early 1900s. People often visited her and wrote about her (37).