On this trip I’m reading The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan. I’m just at the beginning, where he is talking about apples and John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed).
Historical books have always interested me (as do historical novels with a wee bit of fiction in them) and so I find this part especially fascinating.
Much of his information seems to come from the writings of people who met Chapman on his travels, homesteaders who took him under their roof in exchange for stories and, naturally, apple trees.
There must be a huge wealth of these writings, diaries, stories, back-of-the-Bible scribblings. But I can’t help but wonder if there were any actual writers he met. Imagine, if you will, an encounter between John Chapman and Laura Ingalls Wilder. What colorful, wonderful, engrossing narrative might have resulted?
Did they even live at the same time? Was there anyone else alive at this juncture who could have served? Would Pa have even let this “frontier Dionysus” in? (Pollan’s words)
Perhaps it is time for some historical fiction. Anyone?