By Mike Morin
Spiny cockleburs put Manchester on the map. Chances are you use the product inspired by the annoying burs that stick to your clothes while hiking. Velcro was born out of the hook and loop configuration of spiny cockleburs. So thank Swiss engineer George de Mestral and New Hampshire every time you connect your kid’s Velcro-fastened sneakers.
New Hampshire, while physically a small place, offers big inspiration to artists. Countless writers either grew up here or relocated to New Hampshire to source new perspective from the mountains, lakes, fresh air, and resourceful people who live here. Though a San Francisco native, poet Robert Frost worked as an English teacher here for six years. His farm is about a half-hour drive from our conference site. I pass by the Frost Farm, which is open to the public, every time I take my dog for grooming just a mile up the road. New Hampshire proudly wears its arts on its sleeve.
Steven Tyler, a New Yorker by birth, met his future Aerosmith band mates around Lake Sunapee as each hung out there with families who summered in New Hampshire.
Women in media were blazing trails here before the female voice was cherished as it is today. Sarah Josepha Hale, writer of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” was also the first woman magazine editor in the U.S. In 1908, Mary Baker Eddy launched The Christian Science Monitor. And who doesn’t f***ing know Sarah Silverman? She grew up in Bedford, across the Merrimack River where we will gather in June.
You already know that New Hampshire has been hosting its first-in-the-nation presidential primary for a century. I’ve covered three of them from the Radisson Center of New Hampshire, which is also ground zero for NSNC17. Retail politics was invented here and, every four years, Elm Street is filled with candidates, media, Hollywood celebrities, and the darndest collection of publicity-seeking oddballs this side of a carnival midway.
If you’re hoping to find something to write about while at NSNC17, you will run out of computer-drive space before you exhaust Granite State topic ideas.
New Hampshire’s well-known “Live Free or Die” attitude is more than just a fleeting branding statement. Granite Staters don’t like to be told how to live their lives, which is a reason the Free State Project is busy enticing 20,000 pro-liberty activists to join a growing population of like-minded people who have already moved here. A California native chef friend of mine is here for that reason. Free Staters make for great story subjects.
For my friends coming in from the Plains States, New Hampshire averages just two tornadoes a year. On top of that, they tend to be F1- or F2-category twisters, the kinds that get dismissed as wimpy dust devils in places like Texas and Nebraska.
Mike Morin is a 45-year broadcaster, columnist and speaker. His memoir, Fifty Shades of Radio, is in its first printing and probably will be forever.