Salt in Their Veins: Conversations with coastal Mainers

More than 15 million people “from away” visit Maine each year, most drawn to the rugged beauty of its rocky coast. But rocks and the sea provide only the setting for a more interesting drama: the everyday lives of the honest, hard-working, and fiercely independent populations of its hundred small, tightly-knit fishing villages. Coastal Mainers are also taciturn, as if words are too precious to waste. The occasional tourist, even most of the summer residents, find it difficult to elicit more than a minimal “ayuh” or “daow” in conversation. In fact, Down East humor is defined by what is NOT said. While the west has its cowboy, the icon of the Maine coast is its lobsterman, a sort of cowboy of the sea. But behind each lobsterman stand: a sternman, a bait dealer, a diesel mechanic, a boatbuilder, a pastor, an auto mechanic, a fuel oil dealer, a general store owner, a road commissioner, the teachers of his children, and myriad other members of his or her community. Like barnacles on a tidal ledge, these closely-knit people cling to the edge of the sea. They have salt in their veins, and the Maine coast is their ecosystem. If you wish to know these Mainers better, Salt in Their Veins invites you into their parlors, their kitchens, and their fishing shacks to join conversations between the author and thirty-five salty Mainers.