Inner Landscapes

Inner Landscapes book cover

"Deeply personal, insightful, and thought-provoking stories ..."

- Adam Orth, Inner Landscapes foreword

"It's a beautiful new book, and a moving book ... an extraordinary book."

- Bill Newman, WHMP

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  • An inner-city teen bonds with a 92-year-old Yankee farmer who’s always lived off the land.
  • A married couple reunites after separation, ready to resume life together and renew vows. But Steve begins a new job at the World Trade Center — on Sept. 11, 2001.
  • A lifelong polio victim, confined for decades with breathing aids, soars writing volumes of poetry.
  • Nine artists, composers and writers explore spiritual and healing dimensions of, and inspirations for, creativity.

Meet the honest-to-goodness people who inhabit Inner Landscapes with local yet universal stories that matter for our times. It’s a brand new collection of true tales of extraordinary people gleaned from more than 40 years of enterprise feature writing in Western Massachusetts.

Inner Landscapes, newly published by Haley's, explores the lives of:

  • an African-American couple who deliberately simplify their lives to uphold strict values of non-violence and social equality ...
  • a young Israeli-born 'soul listener' committed to being fully present to the struggles of the world in turmoil around him …
  • a spiritualist medium who guides visitors in charting their past lives …
  • an author examining authenticity and reality itself, in a world where truth seems fleeting and the nature of "genuine" can be confusing ...
  • two veteran folk musicians who come together in the aftermath of losing language and memory to rediscover the power of writing and sharing music.

These affirming, down-to-earth stories of farmers, of thoughtful, hardscrabble women and men, of refugees from towns now under water, of people whose lives have been altered by dementia and newfound passions, were first told in the pages of The Recorder, the daily newspaper serving the most rural, most economically challenged region of Massachusetts — a place where honest traditions endure and the scale of life helps keep focus on what truly matters.

“I’ve really loved your book although I haven’t quite finished. I’m savoring it. It is so compelling and I love reading a bit of it at a time. I am so impressed with how you found people, certainly outside of my experience, that enlarged my understanding. People I might never have noticed. Survivors. You’ve written with sincerity, acceptance and humanity.” -c.l.

"I love your book! Your voice and the stories you tell are wonderful. Your writing is so compelling that even if I didn’t know the people and places - I would feel like I was there at that farm, there listening to that poem and there - singing with Pete Seeger." - b.p.

With stunning photography by Paul Franz, Inner Landscapes shows a beneath-the-surface glimpse of life off the beaten path. It's an intimate and engaging look at an unspoiled, fascinating slice of uncommon people who care for the land and each other.

The Stories About ... and Beyond ... Inner Landscapes

A Matthew Leighton creation

Jones Library Author Series interview on Facebook (10/22/20)

Interview (25 mins.) on Bill Newman Show - WHMP (5/26/20) begins at 21:32

Interview with Monte Belmonte on WRSI (6/16/20)

Interview (5 mins.) with New England Public Radio's Carrie Healy (5/26/20)

"A Reporter's Retrospective" Recorder Life & Times feature (6/13/20)

"A Reporter's Perspective" Daily Hampshire Gazette feature (7/14/20)

'Connecting Point' interview on public television WGBY/NEPM (7/20/20)

DELVE DEEPER: Click HERE to go beyond the book

Memories Rush Back Around Quabbin

A reading about the late Lois Barnes and and her brother, Elwyn 'Bun' Doubleday, from "Inner Landscapes"

A Zoom Reading ... for 'Libraries in the Woods'

A reading featuring "Words as Wings" : The Tanka Poetry of Carol Purington

Carol Anne Purington

Carol Anne Purington
Carol Anne Purington

It is with regret that we announce the passing of Carol Anne Purington ('Words As Wings').

May her memory be a blessing.

Colrain, Mass. - Carol Anne Purington of Colrain passed away on December 8, 2020 at home with family by her side after a period of declining health. She was 71 years old. Carol was born on November 16, 1949, in the house on Woodslawn Farm in Colrain, Massachusetts where she lived for almost...

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Published in The Greenfield Recorder on Dec. 10, 2020

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A reading from "The Creative Landscape," a three-part exploration of creativity in the book. Courtesy of Local Arts Valley Arts (LAVA)

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The stories behind the book

Delve Deeper!
Matthew Leighton's creation

My 40-plus years of writing and editing for newspapers has shown me the critical importance of community journalism. It informs us, provides community cohesion and inspires us. At a time when small newspapers face severe distress and need our support, I'm proud to donate a share of my initial proceeds from Inner Landscapes to The Recorder's COVID-19 Local Coverage Fund. -- RD

Interview (25 mins.) on Bill Newman Show - WHMP (5/26/20) begins 21:32 in:

Interview (5 mins.) with New England Public Radio's Carrie Healy (5/26/20):

DELVE DEEPER: Learn the stories behind the stories