Beyond Yonder

by Stephen Morris
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When Darwin Hunter decides to update Over Yonder Hill (Alton Blanchard's history of the tiny Vermont hamlet of Upper Granville), the result is Beyond Yonder, a chronicle of the cultural divide between the entrenched natives and the invaders from the Land of Flat. From "Babysitters" to "Zucchinis" the contrasting world views are examined and skewered.

Beyond Yonder is part one of "Stories and Tunes," Stephen Morris's "four-part" trilogy of life in the rural North.

Beyond Yonder

by Stephen Morris

Awaiting the Muse

The introduction to Beyond Yonder was written in a spasm of creative frenzy the night of the very day that B. J. Bosco came to town. Satisfied that the writing process would be simple, Darwin then devoted himself to the establishment of a proper creative environment.

His first step was the acquisition of a roll-top desk in need of refinishing and repair. After reading a book on the subject, picking the Stallion's brain, and enlisting Townshend Clarke to demonstrate techniques, Darwin created a worthy platform for the ancient Underwood that he purchased from Stella Blanchard. This was the same machine on which she had converted the hand-scribbled notes of Alton Blanchard into Over Yonder Hill. Darwin was overwhelmed by his good fortune.

Desk complete, Darwin bribed Emil with free beer to overhaul the Underwood. For weeks the parts were spread out and labeled on the floor of the Hunters' den. Darwin observed each operation intently, his functional role limited to the procurement of more beer. He would get an hour of useful work from Emil before his motor capabilities became impaired. Then there would be another hour of creating, then undoing, mistakes. Amazingly, although Emil had never worked on anything smaller than a Volkswagen, the Underwood was resurrected, clicking out letters with the snap and precision of a West Point drill team.

"All you need is words now," said a deservedly proud Emil.

"Words are the easy part for me," said Darwin. "Machines are my downfall."

Now, with the desk and typewriter, Darwin obviously needed something to sit on. He and Sammi started hitting the antique shops and yard sales, finally finding a suitable piece at an auction. His refinishing experience now paid a dividend, as Darwin created a handsome repository for the bottom of the man destined to become the next chronicler of Upper Granville.

What's a roll-top without a collection of single malt scotch atop it? Darwin considered flying to Edinburgh, but settled instead for trips to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York City to come up with an even dozen smoky elixirs. "I'm no fool," said Darwin to anyone who came into his den. "I've read enough Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Mailer to know that alcohol is indispensable to the creative process."

The physical environment was now set, leaving Darwin free to tackle the big issues. How would this book be organized? He brooded long and hard over the question, spending night after night in troubled rumination. He went through three bottles of scotch, and still the proper megastructure eluded him. As had already become his custom, he turned to Alton Blanchard for inspiration. Alton, once described by his brother, Hoyt, as "creative as the sole of my shoe," had organized Over Yonder Hill alphabetically into chapters from `Apples" to "Zithering Zephyrs."

So pure, so simple, so completely appropriate Again, Alton was the beacon that guided Darwin through the clouds and chaos. His book, too, would utilize the simple ordering of his predecessor's. Beyond Yonder would have contemporary subjects from "Act 250" to "Zucchini," a sensible, yet Yankee hardscrabble, approach to life's complexities.

A set of hanging files for the expected subjects was quickly established. Into these folders would be inserted the notes, photos, and insightful observations that would become the raw material of Beyond Yonder.

"Poised," said Darwin, admiring his hanging files. "I am a cat stalking its prey, a hungry hawk circling. The next motion will be a blur of action. I am poised." So pleased was he with his progress that he took several months off to recharge his creative batteries. Although not a word had been written, Darwin was the picture of confidence, unconcerned that by this time nearly two years had passed since B. J. Bosco had come to town.


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What is a "Four-Part Trilogy?"

Next up from The Public Press: the first three books, revised and improved, in Stephen Morris's Vermont epic, the four part trilogy.

books in the Four-part Trilogy

Life has a way of interfering with art. Beyond Yonder, The King of Vermont, and Darwin and the Tunnel of Love were always intended by the author to be a single work, telling the epic story of the daily lives and times of the inhabitants of the tiny hamlet of Upper Granville, Vermont.

But life intervenes. It happens! Day jobs take priority. Parents grow old. Little publishers sell to big publishers. Editors move on to different jobs. Opportunities knock. Kids leave home. It happens! It happens! And it happens!

As a result, the epic novel came out in fits and spurts. First, Beyond Yonder. That's when the publisher got sold. Then, King of Vermont, that's when the editor quit. Meanwhile, a real life equivalent to Upper Granville began appearing on the pages of the Vermont Sunday Magazine. Now, the region had a name, Beyonder, to describe that part of Vermont that is next to nothing, but not far away from anywhere. Tales and More Tails is a collection of Beyonder's "Stories and Tunes."

The Public Press is pleased to present Beyonder in its original glory ficticious and non-ficticious. This is the Director's cut, digitally remastered, and in full Dolby sound. This is Beyonder at the peak of foliage, at the depth of Mud Season despair, in the procreational frenzy of the vernal kaboom, and in the enveloping eternity of an August night watching the meteors shower in a part of the world where you can actually still see them.

The four books in Stephen Morris
In Beyonder, 4 books make 1 trilogy
Stephen Morris
interview with publisher and author Stephen Morris
cover: Beyond Yonder by Stephen Morris
Beyond Yonder
by Stephen Morris
cover: King of Vermont by Stephen Morris
King of Vermont
by Stephen Morris
cover: Tales and More Tails by Stephen Morris
Tales & More Tales
by Stephen Morris
cover: Tunnel of Love by Stephen Morris
Tunnel of Love
by Stephen Morris

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cover: Stripah Love by Stephen Morris
Stripah Love
by Stephen Morris

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The four books in Stephen Morris
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