All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Worm Men of Maine

Maine author Bill Roorbach describes his struggles getting reticent wormers to talk for his Creative Nonfiction essay "Shitdiggers, Mudflats, and the Worm Men of Maine":
I'd seen those guys with their rakes out on the mudflats and had a couple of conversations, Maine-men-talking-to-tourist: "Oh, we're just digging up rocks for pleasure." That kind of thing, and they'd show me a rock.

When I decided to do a story I went out there as a reporter looking for people to work with and -- unusual in the world -- they wouldn't say anything at all, not even lies about rocks. Not a word from anybody. "Not interested." So I switched to saying I was a professor (this is true) interested in worming (also true) and now at least some guys were more willing to be interviewed, even if it was for publication, but only about technical things, certainly not about their lives.

For those questions, everyone said see so-and-so, down such-and-such way, so I did, and so-and-so took me out worming and he and his friends lied to me about everything outrageously ("scuba worming" was the worst of it) and made sure I got stuck in the mud and stung by two worms and laughed at me. My first worming notebook is still buried out there in the mud of such-and-such bay, full of lies. [Link]

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