(return to: website archives || main print issues website || minibooks)

order HOBART #12 now!
(out April 2011)

type of subscription

Notes on the North Country

Roxane Gay

bonus features:



  1. There are waterfalls everywhere, mostly hidden, mostly requiring brief expeditions through densely packed forests. Sometimes the waterfalls are small things, just a little trickling water falling over rocks but there are bigger waterfalls that are hidden and majestic and the water from these falls is cold and clean.

  2. Up in Copper Harbor is where US 41 begins or ends depending on if you are coming or going. The last stretch of 41, just before the highway ends, is canopied by trees. In the summer, driving under the canopy, when the leaf cover is thick, is a natural wonder.

  3. There is, essentially, one ambulance. If you are in the hospital and your doctor thinks you might need to be transported down to Marquette for more adequate healthcare, the ambulance driver will ask if you are sure you need to go because taking you will leave parts North without an ambulance for four hours. Be prepared for that. Respond calmly.

  4. People will refer to Marquette as the big city. Do not be misled. Population: 20,000.

  5. Most businesses serve more than one purpose like selling antiques and natural wood carvings or hardware and pawned goods or ice cream and art, kind of like in the Old West.

  6. There is no air-conditioning.

  7. Do not schedule flights in or out of the local airport between October and April. Your flight will be cancelled even if the weather looks clear. Green Bay is 200 miles away and a nice place to fly out of. Minneapolis is 370 miles away and there is an IKEA near the airport. The roads to these cities may, however, be somewhat impassable. You’ll also want to be on the look out for deer. Really, don’t plan any travel at all between October and April. It’s for the best.

  8. During deer season, you will become a deer widow. It’s a great opportunity to get sauced with all the other deer widows and exchange tips for getting the stink of deer piss out a man’s clothes.

  9. The bigger the buck, the more venison your deer hunter will bring home. Encourage him to aim small. Venison can be a bitter meat. Make room in the freezer and give, generously, to anyone you meet or you will be eating deer meat right on through July.

  10. The snow doesn’t stop between October and April. Do not hope for the snow to end. You will only hurt yourself.

  11. If you leave your car outside without moving it for a few days, the car will literally freeze to the ground and you might find yourself outside with a hairdryer, trying to melt the ice from your tires while simultaneously attempting to avoid electrocution.

  12. The best way to get around in winter is via snowmobile. Everyone snowmobiles. If you say you’ve never been on a snowmobile, people will look at you strangely. Snowmobiling is a very expensive hobby. The whine of a snowmobile in March is the most aggravating sound in the world.

  13. There is something, though, about a man all dressed up in his snowmobiling gear.

  14. Most people have a house in “town” and a camp on the lake. A camp can be anything from a lovely multi-room home with running water and electricity to a tar roof shack. When invited to someone’s camp, try to politely ascertain which kind of camp they have so you can be better prepared to visit.

  15. The moon is brighter on the lake and the fishing is good.

  16. Two people can get completely drunk for $20 or less. At the Copper Island Beach Club a Copper Island Iced Tea costs $2 or $3 and the drinks are stiff.

  17. One of the three closest Pizza Huts is in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

  18. Every summer there is a parade. The town will swell with people from miles around. Most of the floats will be fire trucks from nearby towns and people will gaze at those fire trucks like they belong in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Other floats will consist of people driving in their cars and trucks with friends while holding handmade signs. Some of the parade participants walk wearing matching clothes or holding banners. There are marching bands. The participants pelt the parade watchers with candy. Stay alert. Tootsie Rolls leave a mark.

  19. Fireworks demonstrations are a big deal in the summer. A North Country boy will drive you to all the small towns and you will lie in the rusty bed of his pick up truck and the air will be hot and thick with the smell of fire and the displays will be humble but mighty.

  20. To properly demonstrate the location of North Country requires the use of two hands. Hold one hand straight up. Hold the other hand sideways but touching the fingertips of your straight up hand. Look at the soft intersection between your thumb and forefinger. You are here.


    Full Table of Contents

Metroid: An Appreciation
by Mike Meginnis

How to Build a Spaceship in Five Easy Steps
by Douglas Silver

Sea to Shining Sea company newsletter
by Debbie Graber

Suggested edits for "Saucer"
by Karl Taro Greenfeld

The Beartender (a photo w/ caption)
by Melinda Moustakis
Brian Oliu reads "Super Mario Bros." & "Ninja Gaiden Trilogy"

A Couple Short Movies Written
by Etgar Keret

Two Notable Emotion Pianists
by Sean Adams

What Could Have Also Been (Alternate Endings)
by Robert Baumann
An Annotated Map of Littlefield, TX
by Aubrey Hirsch
Addendum: Notes on the North Country
by Roxane Gay

1 issue = $10 + s&h ($2.00)