Kristin Kimball, the author behind The Dirty Life, recently visited the KQED studios to record an episode of The Writers' Block, which will be released next week (listen to Kristin's episode). Until then, get to know her a little better with this Q+A, in which she talks about her shaky start as a farmer, her favorite recipe, and why she would love to live in the Shire.
In addition to working on the farm, raising your kids, and helping provide food for 150 mouths, you somehow found time to write The Dirty Life. Who are some writers that inspire you to push past exhaustion and pick up a pen?
KK: Mary Karr and Jeannette Walls for writing memoir with honesty and humor, Joan Didion for the integrity of her sentences. Wendell Berry, for laying down the path. Verlyn Klinkenborg for the lyrical way he writes about the rural life. And I have to give a shout out to the people who work with us here at the farm, too, because they make it possible for me to slink away to my desk for a couple hours every day. We have five full-time farmers here, plus part-timers and seasonal workers. I can see them out there sloshing through the mud as I type this, keeping the living machine running smoothly. I couldn't write without them.
You're on stage at a karaoke bar. What are you singing?
KK: Make it a duet, with Mark, of "Jackson." We are very Johnny Cash and June Carter, minus the drugs, the religion, and the previous marriages.
What was your first concert?
KK: The Cars, with Wang Chung opening, in 1984.
What's a talent of yours that most people don't know about?
KK: I can nurse a baby and type at the same time. See?
Look for Kristin Kimball's episode of The Writers' Block next Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at kqed.org/writersblock. And be sure not to miss each episode as it becomes available by subscribing to The Writers' Block podcast!