By Sarah Williams, Staff Writer
This Black Friday was about more than great sales in downtown Farmington, it brought two famous local Maine writers, Monica Wood, and Peter Pfeiffer, to the bookstore, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers (DD&G) to promote their books and meet with locals. The busy streets were abuzz with holiday music and decorations as shoppers vied for parking places. DD&G was packed with a large assortment of fiction and nonfiction books, cookbooks, and children’s books.
In attendance was Mexico, Maine native Monica Woods, touting her heartfelt memoir, When We Were the Kennedys. Peter Pfeiffer was also present, sharing his new book, Hard Chance in Troubled Times.
In an email interview with Woods, she said of her story, “It’s a memoir that follows the year 1963 in Mexico, Maine. I was nine. It twines three stories: the death of my father, a paper-mill strike, and the Kennedy assassination.”
Continuing, Woods said, “Life inspires me. I really, really like being alive, and I’m not being facetious when I say that.” Before age 50 she was all about ambition, after age 50 she turned to gratitude. Woods spoke of how she inspired by people who work hard no matter what their job, “Nothing makes me happier than a pleasant convenience-store clerk, or an especially helpful librarian. Maybe it’s the Maine girl in me, but work ethic is waaay up there on my list of angelic qualities in a person.”
Woods struggled to recall a time when she was not writing, but stated that she did not seriously write until age 30. “After that it was full speed ahead,” said Wood. “Late bloomers are often like that. I wrote four books in my forties (three of them were books for aspiring writers), not to mention countless short stories.”
Her advice for aspiring writers, “ For the love of all that’s holy, TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. Allow a thought to work its way to the page uninterrupted by buzzing or beeping. Also, don’t ever, ever accept a first draft as your finished product. Writing is rewriting and there are no shortcuts.”
Standing casually in the corner of DD&G, with a pleasant smile on his face, was Maine’s second local author, Peter Pfeiffer, ready to talk about his new book, Hard Chance in Troubled Times.
“I live and work in Solon, Maine on 100 acres, but grew up in Waterville, Maine,” Pfeiffer said. “I left Maine to travel the world, then in 1973, I returned. I went to Berkeley and tried to overthrow the government, Protested the Vietnam War. Also I drove a cab in Boston in the racially charged years.”
Though his life has been filled with experience, Pfeiffer’s book focuses on tree farming in Solon. “It’s kind of a dying art,” said Pfeiffer. “But tree farming becomes a passion.”
The book spans through his young, rebellious years all the way to his current practices of logging, practical tips, managing woodlots, and sustained yield. Hard Chance in Troubled Times is available on Kindle.
In small town life, these Maine celebrities are as down to earth as they come. What is truly clear of both Woods and Pfeiffer is not their fame and fortune, but their passion for writing stories to share with the world.