All posts tagged: Neligh

Busting Stereotypes

Butch called to me across the street. I went over and sat on the sidewalk in the midday sun while he regaled me with a miscellany of disjointed though entertaining stories about Neligh and small town life. At times, Butch’s comments set me on edge with what seemed like casual ethnic and gender stereotyping, yet as our conversation developed and matured Butch spoke with more nuance and warmth, busting his own stereotypes. He also spoke about a life hard lived, racing horses down Main Street, working in a pig slaughterhouse, being kicked in the mouth by a horse at a young age and now being wheelchair bound. Listen to the audio below

A word on process

When I conceived the approach to a couple of 830 mile long conversations, I had anticipated setting up a table, a couple of chairs and a canopy in a public space in the towns that I visited and then inviting people to talk with me. It was always apparent, though, that the context of each engagement, the vagaries of the weather and the circumstances of the moment would influence this approach. So it has proven. In Omaha, my set up was outside Millard branch library with the planned arrangement. As I moved into rural Nebraska, however, the heat of the day, the locational footfall or paths people took in their daily lives, and timing all affected the set up of the conversation space. In Pender, the public park was entirely empty, but the pool was full of children. Pender’s Main Street was also quiet and would stay that way until the pizza place and bars got busier in the evening. In Wayne, I was able to set up on Main Street outside a popular retail …