Life Stories #67: Arlo Crawford

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Life Stories: Arlo Crawford
photo: Kristen Fortier

In this episode of Life Stories, the podcast where I talk to memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, I’m talking with Arlo Crawford about A Farm Dies Once a Year, the story of how he quit his job at 31 and moved back to his parents’ organic farm in Pennsylvania, his girlfriend Sarah soon to follow. As we discuss during our conversation, it’s not a permanent move—Crawford couldn’t wait to get off the farm when he was growing up, and though he gained a new respect for his parents’ accomplishment, it’s not the direction he wants to take… nor would Sarah (now his wife) be inclined to follow if it were. I’d also wondered if there were any other books about farming or farm life that had been models for him; he told me about explicitly not wanting to do another story about the vital role farms play in our modern world (“Deeply Rooted,” as he jokingly refers to them), citing writers like William Maxwell and Geoff Dyer instead:

“When I think about the writing that I want to do, it has that edge, it has that irony. That’s the sort of writing that I think I want to produce. And then I sat down to write this book, and it sort of ended up being the exact opposite book than I had in my mind when I started… There’s not a lot of irony in it, for better or worse, and I was surprised about that… The writers that I start with, and I really love and appreciate, is not necessarily what I end up producing myself.”

Listen to Life Stories #67: Arlo Crawford (MP3 file); or download this file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click). Or subscribe to Life Stories in iTunes, where you can catch up with earlier episodes and be alerted whenever a new one is released. (And if you are an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)

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10 April 2014 | life stories |