It has been a month since my last post, so I am breaking my silence to let you know I’m returning to Ridgewood to catch glimpses of things missed during my last visit, which I reported here in 2011 and 2012. There may be some retelling of past events, either little or lots, with each visit. But over all, I hope to make discoveries and give you new insights about the fictional place that first obsessed me when I was a teenager with a dream of becoming an author.
Ridgewood is a story. It is as simple as that. And I suppose you could call it my story—which it is—but not because I chose it, but because it chose me. Stories do that to writers. They disturb our dreams and keep us awake at nights, calling out to us: “Write me.”
Ridgewood is a story about people … real people in fantastical events. Therefore, it is not my intention to persuade anyone into believing anything in this explication. For the most part, I am merely a scribe—a reporter of things, and being as honest as any chronicler can be, no matter how well (or poorly) the events are draped and stitched together. But therein dwells the problem of recording tales as fantastic as Ridgewood. I am also a weaver and tailor of poetry, dressing events with words that are impressive with grandiose gesturing, or humble in their tatters and patches, or imitations of belletristic celebrities that fall somewhere in between.
Beyond the drapery, however, Ridgewood is a real place, situated around the Allegheny River Valley in northwest Pennsylvania and southwest New York, and composed of the people and places I see when I look outside. But Ridgewood could be the people and places outside your own windows and doors where I know if you go searching and dig long enough, you will find a skeleton or two wearing the very cloth of this tale.