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Between Panic and Desire (American Lives)by Dinty W. Moore
Synopses & Reviews
After eight months in his childhood home helping his mother through her bout with cancer, Matthew Frank and his wife were themselves desperate for comfort. They found sanctuary in the most unlikely place—amid a collection of outcasts and eccentrics on a plot of land miles outside their comfort zone: a “mostly medical” marijuana farm in California.
Pot Farm details the strange, sublime, and sometimes dangerous goings-on at Weckman Farm, a place with hidden politics and social hierarchies, populated by recovering drug addicts, alternative healers, pseudo-hippie kids, and medical marijuana users looking to give back. There is also Lady Wanda, the massive, elusive, wealthy, and heavily armed businesswoman who owns the farm and runs it from beneath a housedress and a hat of peacock feathers. Frank explores the various roles that allow this industry to work—from field pickers to tractor drivers, cooks to yoga instructors, managers to snipers, illegal immigrants to legal revisionists, and the delivery crew to the hospice workers on the other end. His book also looks at the blurry legislation regulating the marijuana industry as well as the day-to-day logistics of running such an operation and all the relationships that brings into play.
Through firsthand observations and experiences (some influenced by the farms cash crop), interviews, and research, Pot Farm exposes a thriving but unsung faction of contemporary American culture.
Between Panic and Desire, named after two towns in Pennsylvania, finds Dinty W. Moore at the top of his astutely funny form. A book that could be named after one of its chapters, “A Post-Nixon, Post-panic, Post-modern, Post-mortem,” this collection is an unconventional memoir of one man and his culture, which also happens to be our own.
Blending narrative and quizzes, memory and numerology, and imagined interviews and conversations with dead presidents on TV, the book dizzily documents the disorienting experience of growing up in a postmodern world. Here we see how the major events in the authors early life—the Kennedy assassination, Nixons resignation, watching Father Knows Best, and dropping acid atop the World Trade Center, to name a few—shaped the way he sees events both global and personal today. More to the point, we see how these events shaped, and possibly even distorted, todays world for all who spent their formative years in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. A curious meditation on family and bereavement, longing and fear, self-loathing and desire, Between Panic and Desire unfolds in kaleidoscopic forms—a coroners report, a TV movie script, a Zen koan—aptly reflecting the emergence of a fractured virtual America.
About the Author
Dinty W. Moore is a professor and the director of the creative writing program at Ohio University. He is the author of several books, including The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction and The Accidental Buddhist: Mindfulness, Enlightenment, and Sitting Still.
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