Junior Project Blog: Nigel Law ’16 ventures to Maine

Simply put, this week has been one of exploration, of experimentation, and of excitement, often all at once. For those who have yet to begin the undertaking of the Junior Project, know that it is a month to look forward to.

I should explain, first, that my project is dichotomous, in that it has goals on a couple of levels. Its most direct outcome will be a book, bound by my own hands, of eight short stories, written over the course of the month.

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Sunset over the water in Maine

The book is not all there is to the project, though. I am currently in the small town of Castine, Maine, where I am living alone in my grandparents’ summer house for the month, which is truly a project in itself.

Of course, the school would never have considered it without multiple contacts nearby in the case of emergency, but on the whole, my days thus far have been spent in mostly solitude, which means that I am essentially responsible for keeping myself alive.

So far, though, I can really only report that it is everything I had hoped it would be. The utilities in the house are running smoothly, the food that I spent two hours buying at a grocery store before arriving (Castine is too small for a supermarket, and instead gets by on a well-stocked convenience store and the assumption that most residents have a car) is holding out perfectly well, and the town is beautiful.

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The fog hangs low over the chilly water

The month actually started with a substantial snowfall, the results of which will likely be around for awhile longer, as the temperature gets to about 30º F at the highest (-11º at the lowest, so far). I have been greatly enjoying taking plenty of photographs, both with my phone and with film, as the latter can be developed right in the GFS photo lab.

The writing itself is an absolute pleasure, although admittedly trickier than I had anticipated. I think that a whole four months or so of planning the project and thinking in broad strokes about the writing I would be doing here has led to big expectations as to the content, when in fact, it probably would have made more sense to start with whatever came naturally. The reality is that I have spent a week wrestling with the same story, trying to boil down the sweeping abstractions that are filling my pages, but are slow to turn out, to something simpler and more accessible.

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But it is far from tedious work. On the contrary, it has been a lot of fun to actually have the time to mold even short passages to a great extent. I didn’t have had the time to do it during the first semester of my junior year, and I doubt I will when I return, so this opportunity to simply be in a creative space, especially one set in a town that honestly could hardly be more conducive to productive writing, is just fantastic, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.