I was delighted to learn that a book I read and very much enjoyed earlier this year, Braiding Sweetgrass, has won the Sigurd Olson nature writing award. I was so pleased to learn this and even more pleased to learn that a local press, Milkweed, had published the book. Why I didn’t pay attention to this fact when I was reading it I can’t say, but there it is. Another two Milkweed published books are on the PEN Literary Awards longlist. So exciting!
Now, off topic. Bookman and I have been watching the new TV version of the 1996 film Fargo. The TV version is even more twisted than the movie and stars Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman. The TV show takes place mostly in Bemidji, a city in northern Minnesota not far from the the headwaters of the Mississippi River. I’ve never been there but I’d like to go sometime because in a few steps you can walk across the Mississippi and they have a thing for Paul Bunyan and his blue ox up there. I have had a fondness for Paul Bunyan and Babe ever since I was a kid and my family went camping up in far northern California and stopped at Trees of Mystery. There they have a giant statue of Paul and Babe and Paul used to talk (there was someone inside talking through a microphone to the people down below). We did not know Paul talked and as we stood waiting for my Dad to get the park entry tickets Paul starting talking to my mom and darn near scared the pants off her.
Now I’m getting off my off topic!
Back to the Fargo TV show. When the movie came out in 1996 I had only lived in Minnesota for two years. I thought the movie was hilarious, especially the way they talked, because I knew people who talked like that. I couldn’t understand why Minnesotans didn’t think it was very funny. Now, as of July 1, 2014, I will have lived in Minnesota for 20 years. Watching Fargo I often find it difficult to hear any sort of accent. Sure, I can hear it sometimes, we don’t generally say things like “fella” in the Twin Cities and our “o’s” aren’t so elongated. But half the time when I am watching I find myself thinking, gosh, they don’t sound funny like they did in the movie. And then I think, oh no, I probably sound just like them! Ask my mom in California and she will tell you that I do, that I have sounded like that for quite some time now. To me though, I sound just like I always have.