Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Into the Limen: Where an old Squirrel Goes to Die by Sarah Minor

Lambert-Musser Home
I adore this non-fiction essay that appears in Black Warrior Review Fall/Winter 2014.

The author, Sarah Minor, is writing about an old home that belongs to her grandmother--the home that is known as the Lambert-Musser Home in West 2nd, Muscatine, IA. 

I must admit I knew nothing of Iowan architecture on the West Hill of Muscatine or that there even a city in IA called Muscatine.

That hardly matters though because Muscatine is a river town and if you've lived in a river town its easy to feel connected to another river town. 

Of course, Baton Rouge doesn't have a historic district that matches West Hill but it has other attributes.

Muscatine is one of the river cities that Mark Twain was much enamored of. It's still a small town, unlike Baton Rouge, which has become a metroplex.

More to the point, Minor's "Into the Limen" is about forgotten spaces deep within large historical houses. 

In the obscure space under the roof, bracketed by the eaves, is a place called a soffit. This is where you find tools and old letters yellowed photographs, and possibly skeletal remains. 

Minor believes soffits in old homes are "thresholds" or liminal spaces. Other liminal spaces, according to Minor, are airports and beaches. I would add river fronts and swamps to the list.


Even though I had read Poetics of Space for a creative writing class, the power of liminal spaces was never so clear.

Black Warrior Review