There are a lot of Fourth of July Creeks around the country. In my book, it’s in the Rockies, a wild, beautiful and still-dangerous wilderness just west of Glacier National Park. And the people who live there do so because they want to be in that wilderness, a kind of remoteness. They want to live free, even if that means struggle.
The title suggests the notions that the book explores, American ideals that we continue to work out: the tensions between freedom and community, our individual rights and our collective responsibilities, our independence and interdependence. Which is not to say the book is about citizenship — it’s about children, parents, partners.
A creek is a border, a line, a division. The book crisscrosses.
The title evokes a celebration, but also a flashpoint, violence, the stakes of freedom. So “Fourth of July Creek” is a place, yes, but it is sparse and troubled with the wilderness that is the American heart.