Elaine Ford’s short stories explores life’s paths



A collection of short stories by Maine novelist Elaine Ford, who lived for many years in Milbridge and taught literature at the University of Maine, will be published this March by Islandport Press.
PHOTO BY MICHELE STAPLETON

YARMOUTH — Before her death last August, Maine writer and teacher Elaine Ford produced a collection of Maine stories that focus on the choices people make throughout their lives. “This Time Might Be Different” is due out this March.

Published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, “This Time Might Be Different” contains 15 stories whose cast of memorable characters face decisions that will affect their futures, and not always for the better — a young woman contemplates coffee with a stranger; a troubled man considers robbing a local Laundromat and a widow thinks about leaving town for good.

During her life, Ford lived for about 15 years in Milbridge and more than half the stories in this collection are set in Washington County. She was living in Topsham at the time of her death.

Readers of “This Time Might Be Different” will find traces of dark humor, sinister underpinnings and profound irony. In the collection’s foreword, Maine poet Wes McNair said Ford’s work is like falling into a trance.

“Her plots are not applied from the outside, but rise from the inside out as we experience the urgency of a central character’s feeling and thought. The words of her dialogue are both natural and precisely right for the characters who speak them,” McNair writes. “Ford links descriptions of setting and the mood of her stories with the hand of a master.”

Ford is the author of five novels, including “The Playhouse,” “Ivory Bright,” “Missed Connections,” “Monkey Bay” and “Life Designs” and a book of short stories called “The American Wife.” She taught literature at the University of Maine for nearly two decades until her death.