Love Letters to Maine | Lily King

My mother married a man in April in Massachusetts.

I was 15. That August he brought us to Maine. We got up at four-thirty in the morning and drove for hours to Rockland and got on a ferry and headed into a blue mist. It was the beginning of one of the great loves of my life. I didn’t know that a place in the world could be so beautiful, but also feel like home. Nothing had ever really felt like home before. Every year I’d find my way back if only for a few days. Once, after college, I came up for a weekend, took a job at the inn, and stayed till November. The next summer I came back and stayed through the winter. I got a car with Maine plates, watched everything turn white and blue, saw the ferry cut through ice. I left for grad school in New York, made a vow I’d come back. It took me 13 years, but I kept it, returning with a partner and two girls, one and three. We found a whole nest of other writers and raised our kids on apple cider doughnuts and the rattle of snow-plows and pier jumping into water so cold it turns your brain inside out. I’ve been thinking about that Thoreau quote lately, not the depressing one but the truer one: “In the long run, men only hit what they aim at.” Women, too. My stepfather showed me the bull’s-eye in the summer of 1979. I aimed and hit it and lucky, lucky me.

King is an author. Her newest novel, Writers and Lovers, comes out in March.

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