Finding the Essence of Aroostook
Northern Maine retains qualities of life that many people long for in today's world. The pace can be slower, nature is close, the beauty is breathtaking, and the people are authentic. Kathryn Olmstead, a transplant from Michigan more than forty decades ago, considers it a place mysterious to those who have not been there and unforgettable to those who have. Her collection of essays gleaned from her years writing for Echoes magazine and the Bangor Daily News share her introductions to rural life and wildlife in an attempt to reveal the universal in the particular-the night sky and ice-out, the people and their cultural roots, and the intimacy with nature in every season. The title True North describes the quality of life portrayed in Olmstead's essays-an orienting point, internal and geographic, that keeps a person on track in a world sometimes at odds with nature and with basic human goodness. Combined they affirm that traditional values are still alive in places like Aroostook County, Maine.
Kathryn Olmstead is a former Bangor Daily News columnist and editor/ publisher of Echoes magazine which she co-founded in 1988. She served 25 years on the journalism faculty of the University of Maine in Orono, the last six as associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her writing also has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, The World and I, Columbia Journalism Review, Maine Townsman and Islandport Magazine. She co-authored a World War II memoir Flight to Freedom with photographer Philomena Baker. She was the founding director of the Maine Center for Student Journalism, based at the University of Maine, for high school journalists and their advisors from 1993 to 2003. She also worked as a correspondent for the Bangor Daily News and editor of the Aroostook Republican in Caribou. A native of Battle Creek, Michigan, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a master's degree of arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She taught English and journalism in Wisconsin and New Hampshire before moving to Maine in 1974.