scattered ranch families, the areandoesn’t see much in the way of humannbeings.nIn the late 1970’s, Stephen Bodio, anBoston-based writer, amateur naturalist,nand falconer, happened into Magdalenanon the way somewhere else. Hennever left. With his friend Betsy Huntington,nand an assortment of birds,ndogs, snakes, and books, he took upnresidence in a ramshackle two-storynhouse along U.S. 60 and set out to livenin the way of country people. Querencian— the Spanish term meansnsomething like “the tiny pocket ofnone’s inner life where one is truly atnhome” — details a decade of life on thenplains of San Agusti’n, a hitherto unchroniclednland.nInitially suspicious of the newcomers,nas highlanders will be, the peoplenof Magdalena and the surroundingnplains opened to Stephen and Betsy asnsoon as it became apparent that theynwere neither anthropologists studying anbizarre foreign culture nor afraid ofnhonest work—building fences, mendingncattle tanks, slaughtering pigsn(“The only thing that bothered me wasnhow the other pigs watch,” Betsy admits),ntending to farm animals, huntingngame. Throughout the early pages ofnhis memoir, Stephen finds himself testednby the locals for his knowledge ofnraptor birds, of snakes, of dogs. Whennhe begins to pass the tests easily, hisntransformation is complete, earningnhim a distinguished seat at the SilvernSpur saloon, a home, a place in thenheart.nQuerencia offers a fine brief on ruralnliving, alternately reveling in countrynmatters and acknowledging the difficultiesninvolved in such exercises asnluring cows home from the mountainnwilderness into which they’ve strayednwhile steering clear of venomous reptilesnand combative bull elk. But this isnno back-to-the-land paean. Bodio’sneyes are wide open:nHad we any lingeringnromanticism it would have beenncured by circumstances; in thosenyears our combined annualnincome would not exceedn$12,000, and an ancient housenon a remote plateau exacts itsntoll in colds and unpaid bills, innunrepaired machinery and teethnand animals. Still: we believedn42/CHRONICLESnwith our neighbors that ournquerencia held some parts of anreal life worth living, full ofngood and gritty things thatncoastal civilization attempted tondeny, ignore, or paper over. Wendecided, not for the first or lastntime, that this was the place.nHardships abound in the highlands, andnnot only of the mere character-buildingnsort. Querencia is in the end tragic —nto say why would be to rob the book ofnits strongest moments—but it is equallyncelebratory of lives spent well in thenreality of juniper-scented wind, lightningnbursts, and good hot chili, livesnfree of bosses and bureaucrats. In thenend, one cannot help but admire StephennBodio and Betsy Huntington fornhaving indeed had the rare fortune ofnfinding, in the middle of their personalntoils and this churned-up civilization ofnours, a peaceful center.nGregory McNamee is a freelancenauthor, critic, and poet in Tucson,nArizona.nSequins, Studs,nBeads, and Allnby Janet Scott BarlownI Am Elvis:nA Guide to ElvisnImpersonatorsnEdited by Marie CahillnNew York: Pocket Books;n128 pp., $8.95nAmong those interesting but notnexactly timeless questions Americansnhave the luxury of asking themselves,none of the most persistent is,n”What was the meaning of Elvis?” Thenmost astonishing answer to that questionnI have ever read came from DavenMarsh, the relentlessly serious rock criticnwho found parallels between Presleynand Abraham Lincoln (each “had anunique ability to personalize his momentnin history”), thereby demonstratingnthat only in the worid of pop-culturenanalysis could two American icons simultaneouslynbe reduced to absurditynby the act of comparing them.nRock critics need no help in going offnnnthe deep end, but in the case of Elvis,nthey may only be following fans, manynof whom have already taken the plunge.nIt says something about both the phenomenonnof Elvis Presley and the naturenof American marketing that there isnnow available a book called I Am Elvis:nA Guide to Elvis Impersonators. Thenurge is to ask, “a guide for whom?” butnthe answer is obvious enough: this is anbook for Elvis fanatics about the subjectnof Elvis fanatics. The marketing ofnElvis Presley has finally lapped itself,nstarting with books that explored everynaspect of his life and ending withn”guides” of those who are obsessednwith every aspect of his life. In whatnmust be a unique case of pop-culturencannibalism, the audience for the Presleynproduct has become its own product,nElvis consumers having movednfrom consuming Elvis to consumingnthemselves as consumers of Elvis.nFourteen years dead, Elvis is everywhere,nand it all calls to mind thatncountry song, “How Can I Miss YounWhen You Won’t Go Away?”nTo be “guided” through the worldnof Elvis impersonators (complete withnlistings of height, weight, and astrologicalnsigns) is, at times, to make stops onenmight rather skip. The only statisticalnconsistencies among this group are 1)nthe majority come from the Midwest,nespecially Ohio, making the Buckeyen• State an apparent hotbed of Elvis wannabes,nand 2) the jumpsuits of mostnapprentice impersonators are sewn —nsequins, studs, beads, and all — by theirnmothers. But beyond sewing mothersnand Midwestern roots, “being” Elvis isnanybody’s ball game, and that includesnprofessional poodle groomers, smalltownnmayors, and actors who “become”nElvis through strict adherencento “Stanislavsky’s Method Acting.”nThe game sometimes gets so strangenthat it seems simply a kindness to leavenunexamined all those who see visionsnof Elvis, hear his voice from Beyond,npray to him before performing, or wantnto meet him even though they knownthat’s “impossible now.” It’s also best, Inthink, not to dwell too long on thenpharmacist-Elvis who, “if money werenno object,” would have plastic surgerynto look more like the King, the ex-carnsalesman who did have plastic surgerynto look more like the King, and JanicenK., a/k/a “The Lady Elvis,” who firstnbecame Elvisized when a “high schooln