Monday, October 6, 2008

Is Aaron Brown Overburdened?

That's the hard hitting question I'm asking this week on Realgoodwords. The answer is YES, Aaron Brown is definitely overburdened. But in a good way, really. (I'm not talking about his many jobs, his many sons or his lovely money-savin' wife.)

Aaron is probably no stranger to you - he's a frequent contributor to KAXE; especially to that other show I do, Between You and Me.

Aaron's a different kind of guy.
A) He's young and
B) he lives on the Iron Range.

And he's SUPREMELY interested in what exactly the Iron Range was, what it is and what it will be....

He's just published his first book called "Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range" published by Red Step Press. Aaron has a knack for unpacking history with a modern, slightly sardonic twist. I guess I mean to say he's serious about his work and his beloved homeland, but he's not so serious about himself.

I'm not an Iron Ranger, let me be up front about that. I came from the land of non-flouridated water. In fact, overburden had to be explained to me...

Overburden are those giant piles made from digging those giant holes in the earth that were mined. They consist of mineral waste products and have the dual distinction of being both industrially ugly and starkly beautiful. Overburden is also putting too much stress on something or someone.

Overburden, as Aaron puts it, is really the story of the Iron Range:

"Our entire existence is tied to the past - tied to those big piles of overburden on the edges of all of our towns - the area is in modern terms only 100 years old - so it's 100 years of earth piled up by our ancestors.

Anyone who grew up on the Iron Range in the 1980's knew it was only a matter of time before the whole thing shut down. Kind of 'last one out turn out the lights'. It was assumed that you were going to leave if you could. If you had any kind of talent - in anything - it was expected that you take that talent someplace else."
And yet Aaron wanted to not only stay put, but dig in deeper into those piles of earth, and understand those that had come before him, and those that will go after him.

Tune in for our conversation this week. Aaron will also be co-hosting Between You and Me on Saturday October 18th from 10-noon - we'll be talking about what the Iron Range means to you.

Congratulations to Aaron on the publication of his first book! Check out his upcoming appearances:

Thursday Oct. 16th, Howard Street Booksellers - Hibbing, 5-7pm
Saturday Oct. 18th, Village Bookstore - Grand Rapids, 12-2pm

Wednesday Nov. 12th, Barnes and Noble - Duluth, 6:30pm

Tuesday Dec. 2nd, Grand Rapids Area Library, 7pm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aaron's book is hilarious yet serious too which is not an easy combination. Half of my heritage is from the iron range area although some don't want to admit it since they moved to the cities and changed a middle name or two-like Toivola to John and so on. I don't want to give too much info in case they might think I was making fun of them or something like that. Oh well. most of them are't around anymore so what the hey!