Living on a four-square-mile patch of land surrounded by water, the launching of boats comes as no surprise to islanders. These days, boats parade down our main street on an almost regular basis, headed from their backyard winter lair to their moorings. Surrounded by talented writers, as we are, the launching of books also comes as no surprise to island residents. They are, however, an occasion for great celebration.
It’s for this reason that Ronda Dale and Kevin Attra spent a sunny afternoon regaling passerbys at the Gem Gallery. The occasion? Fran Houston’s launch of h
er book, For the Love of Peaks, a collection of photographs and interviews with 33 life-long residents of Peaks Island. Fran’s documentary project was supported by the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission.“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with each and every ‘Lovie’, as I call them,” she concludes in the preface. “To be welcomed into your homes and hear your stories and memories and to be trusted with your words has been a joy and reward. Thank you.”
We have a ferris wheel to thank, in part, for Fran’s inspiration – or a tiny building that once housed a ferris wheel’s generator at the turn of the last century. This was her first island home, a tiny “shack” with a great view of the harbor that inspired her to begin writing and taking photographs.
Fran explains her journey this way: “I first conceived of the idea of For the Love of Peaks when encountering the rich history of Peaks Island and hearing the stories of the old timers. Each conversation both gave me a glimpse of that person, deepened my love and connection to Peaks, and got me asking, why do we live on an Island? And why Peaks Island? I began to wonder how I could share these glimpses. It wasn’t until I saw Jerry Robinov’s Faces of the Mind exhibit – photographs with accompanying self-written stories – that I knew what I would do. I would interview. I was on fire. I asked the Gem Gallery on Peaks if I could exhibit in June 2008. I asked the Island Times if I could publish the stories and photographs. So For the Love of Peaks was born. When the exhibit happened, everyone asked when the book was coming out, so here I am.”
The celebration is just beginning. Her next book launch reception is this Saturday, June 12th from 3 – 7 p.m. at the Addison Woolley Gallery in Portland. If you would like to purchase the book, you can do so at the Maine Historical Society’s bookstore online.
Addison Woolley at Studio 203A
61 Pleasant Street, The Bakery Building
Portland, Maine 04101
You may also contact Fran at