Growing up in Indiana, I often heard about Booth Tarkington, perhaps until Kurt Vonnegut came along the most famous writer from Indiana. (Ross Lockridge, Jr., author of the amazing Raintree County, might have held that title if he hadn’t committed suicide in 1948 before he completed another book.) And for reasons I no longer remember, we would sometimes visit Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis and I remember seeing Tarkington’s grave. (John Dillinger is also buried there and probably some other famous Hoosiers – I guess that’s why we went.)
In any case, it’s a familiar name but I can’t say that I’ve read his work, even his most famous (because of a movie adaptation), The Magnificent Ambersons. But I’m going to be in Indiana for a family gathering later this month and I decided to make the visit longer and rent a cabin in Brown County (other than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana’s most famous attraction) to spend a few days writing – away from the house, the internet, etc. And what I came up with was a cabin that the owners suggest (claim is too strong a word) was used by Booth Tarkington as a writing retreat. The cabin is 120 years old and is on top of a hill, and we’ll see how it feels to spend a few days being that isolated! The cabin is in the picture above.