Thursday, August 26, 2010

"...Most Boring County in Minnesota"

Grape Vine Ivy on Chicken Coop - my family home 
in St. Vincent, MN (Kittson County, July 2010)
This week, an online writer dubbing himself as Kittson County Top News Examiner, wrote an article entitled, Welcome to the Most Boring County in Minnesota (Help!).  The writer's premise was that Kittson County is so boring that he has a hard time finding something to write about.

My reaction was, that this was a gauntlet thrown down that had to be responded to. The article drew a lot of angry responses, some thoughtful and several bordering (and passing) the blunt and vulgar.  I responded myself, saying:
...you're trying to be witty but making people angry - that will not gain you readers nor convince anyone of your point of view. For good writing with wit, irony, and insight, I suggest you read (or re-read, as the case may be) Mark Twain. Twain knew how to build as well as cut down people using wit. He could have you laughing at the same time as wincing, realizing how right he really was while 'insulting' you at the same time. Your attempt at 'existentialism' as your tags imply, was the opposite of that terms intent. Søren Kierkegaard, who by the way I have deeply admired since my college days when I originally discovered him, "...maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and BOREDOM." If you were truly trying to say that DESPITE being bored up in Roseau County / Kittson County, that you found true beauty and meaning there, you have failed miserably.

I grew up in Kittson County. Yes, it can be boring. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing - some people like that. It was bucolic, peaceful, contemplative. Wide open skies and you could see for miles. It made you think the world was HUGE and the possibilities with it. It is a place STEEPED in amazing history and people that made it. I'm incredibly proud to have been born and raised there, and the people in that county, a good share of them? They're related to my family through blood or marriage. It's like the Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon except it's the Six Degrees in Kittson County. It's like that with a lot of families. Family and friends - and community - are corner stones of our county.

By the way, Skull Lake is NOT the only natural lake in Kittson County. There is also Lake Stella, near my hometown St. Vincent MN
Some would say I'm helping to perpetuate exposure to an article I dislike.  That's true, but my point in writing this is partly to do just that, to bring attention to it, and thus the bigger issues it brought up.  I think it's not only healthy, but productive, to get people talking about such things.  It can help residents as well as outsiders to appreciate or at least understand all the dynamics involved with living in such a place, what place in general means, and how different paces of life affect how we view life overall.  I am coping with this in a very person way at this stage in my life.  I'm trying to learn how to slow down, re-prioritize my life, and balance my old life with my new life (which, ironically, is really my old life...)