Linda Buckmaster has lived within a block of Route 1 most of her life, growing up in “Space Coast” Florida during the Fifties and Sixties and being part of the back-to-the-land movement in Midcoast Maine in the Seventies.
She left Florida in 1969 in a red Kharmann Ghia with a girl whose name she can’t remember. Woodstock and Provincetown were followed by a blue Ford Econoline van she bought with two other young women at a telephone company equipment auction. On that that trip cross-country, she realized a dream she’d had since adolescence of visiting City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.
“I was only four when my parents and I rode through long afternoons and evenings with the desert landscape rolling by. After a long sunset, the funnel of the headlights would reveal just what was necessary to know of the road ahead. My parents talked through the night quietly or not at all, my young self witness to this dashboard light intimacy.”
~ From “On the Road to Home”
Writing Career Decades
1973: Linda moved to Maine and was living the back-to-the-land dream in Waldo County, where she fed a wood stove, canned tomatoes, raised a few recalcitrant sheep, did a lot of waitressing, had a baby, and wished she were a writer.
1983: The single parent of a preschooler, she was finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Maine when she published her first short stories in Puckerbrush Review and newspaper articles. She moved into town – Belfast, population 5,000 at the time.
1993: Linda left her job as Atlantic and Gulf Editor at National Fisherman magazine this year to enter a Masters program in Communication Studies at her alma mater. It was there she learned about postmodernism, critical cultural studies and expanded her view of what was possible. Her thesis, “Speaking Through the Body: Women’s Rituals of Body Care,” was a hybrid consisting of academic research, poetry, and the transcripts of personal narrative interviews.
2003: She was seriously writing poetry, a turn precipitated by the sudden death of her husband five years earlier. During this era, she published three chapbooks of poetry and served as Belfast Poet Laureate. She harbored a dream of becoming a wandering poet while she worked at a women’s nonprofit and was Adjunct Faculty at the University of Maine at Augusta.
2013: By now, she had finished her MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast program of the University of Southern Maine and was writing prose. In fact, her essay “Becoming Memory” was listed as a Notable Essay in “Best American Essays 2013.”
Over time, her poetry, essay, and fiction have appeared in over thirty journals. She has produced collaborative work with artists of various media, and her monograph “Northern Run” with Book Artist Jan Owen is in the collection of the Center for Book Arts, University of Southern Maine.
Since retirement, her wanderlust has been fed by writing residencies at Vermont Studios Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Obras Foundation, among others.
2023: Linda’s hybrid memoir, “Space Heart. A Memoir in Stages,” published by Burrow Press five years before is out in the world. By now, her series of Audio Essays may be gathered into an audio book. Perhaps her collection of short short stories about American boomer women will be ready for publication.