The Dirty Life And Buried Passions

By Sunday, March 11, 2012 5 0

Who might you be now if you’d fallen in love with a different person or path than you did? A local politician, pilot, carpenter? An avant-garde artist, small business owner, spy, or — my most cherished alternate realities - a horsewoman and a mother? What’s your most buried passion?

Kristin Kimball, author of the memoir The Dirty  Life, was a New York City journalist and hipster, a Harvard graduate, when she met Mark, a passionate organic farmer. They fell in love and started a farm with the preposteroudly ambitious goal of supplying its paying members with their whole diet. Not just  with dozens of different vegetables like thousands of CSA’s (community sponsored agriculture farms) nationwide, but milk, grains, eggs, beef, dried beans, flour, chicken, pork, maple syrup and more, all  farmed from their land. Oh, with draft horses rather than tractors. Sweaty, sometimes dangerous and always dirt-encrusted, farming was a life she had never planned on, but found she loved.

The Dirty Life riveted me like a rollicking action film that’s spiced with sensuality and the life of the body. My favorite of many takeaways is this: contrary to what our culture tells us, physical work can be meaningful. Even more heretical, it can be joyful. Ms. Kimball is keeping alive the ancient knowledge of how to sustain ourselves, rather than entrusting that to the industrial agriculture complex that is completely dependent on fossil fuels. She lies awake at night wondering if the rain may be melting the snow cover, exposing and endangering the garlic and other perennials. “These are the kinds of thoughts that have occupied the majority of the human race — the agrarians — for most of the history of the world. And I am one of them now.”

If you live near me you’re welcome to borrow my copy of The Dirty Life, provided you return it within a couple of months, when I know I’ll want to reread it. If you don’t live near me, I recommend supporting your local bookstore by buying it there.

Over to you: what is your buried passion, your path not taken?

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  • Jordan
    March 15, 2012

    Hello Alison,
    My name is Jordan, and I’m with TLC Book Tours. (I’m contacting you through your comments since I couldn’t find an email on your blog.) We coordinate online blog tours for authors and publishers. I’m working with TLC Book Tours on a tour that I think would be a good fit for Diamond-Cut Life. The tour I’m currently working on is the book “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power”, by Steve Coll. In this book, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Coll investigates ExxonMobil Corporation- the largest and most powerful private corporation in America. (Amazon) Given your interests in environmental sustainability, politics, global warming, and reading (I saw your “Books I Love” section!), I thought you might find this book intriguing.
    If you were interested, we’d have the book sent out to you in exchange for your posting your thoughts on the book on a mutually agreed-upon date in early May. We don’t require positive reviews, just honest ones.
    I’d love to have you on this tour if you’re interested! I look forward to hearing from you!
    Jordan (at) tlcbooktours (dot) com

    • Alison
      March 16, 2012

      Yes. I’d be happy to read and review this book. I just sent you an email to that effect.

      I’ll be self-publishing my novel within a couple of months, and needing to find readers/reviewers for my virtual book-tour, too.

      So, eager to pour positive energy into the collective book-writers’ pot.

  • Tess
    March 13, 2012

    Sounds really interesting Alison, I might see if my library stocks it. Absolutely right about physical work. (I often wish history told us more about Christ’s life as a carpenter.)

  • Colleen
    March 12, 2012

    First, I want to borrow the book! It might take pages to write about my paths ‘not taken’ … of course, like everyone, I daydream about lots of paths not taken. I often think, though, that I’ll eventually take one or two of them someday, even just for a little while. I’m a bit of a dreamer that way! :)

    • Alison
      March 12, 2012

      Colleen, my copy is ready for you to bury your nose in! And wow, can Ms. Kimball write. Let’s get together soon.