Friday, January 8, 2010

About Doug Fine

After being raised on Dominoes Pizza and Brady Bunch re-runs, Doug Fine’s method of journalistic investigation was to strap on a backpack and travel to five continents; to the nooks where the world’s monied media venues weren’t sending their people.

As a young freelancer, Fine reported in this manner for the Washington Post, Salon, U.S. News and World Report, Sierra, Wired, Outside, National Public Radio, and other venues from little-visited jungle war zones like Burma, Rwanda, Laos, Guatemala and Tajikistan. He became a world-class adventure writer and investigative journalist, writing culturally-insightful and funny dispatches. One of these, about democracy efforts in Burma, was read into the U.S. Congressional Record.

During this time, his 20s, Fine recognized that he lived on an actual planet, and that he felt most alive while in wild ecosystems. Following this impulse in contradiction to all the suburban values with which he was raised (which can be summarized as, “if you’re not going to be a doctor, you can at least be a lawyer”), he moved to extreme rural Alaska to see if a former suburbanite could survive. Happiness and self-awareness were the goals. This resulted in his award-nominated first book, Not Really An Alaskan Mountain Man, which is now in its third printing.

Realizing that living in sync with his ecosystem is indeed where his own inspiration and personal happiness reside, Fine for his second book decided to embark on a “Hypocrisy Reduction Project,” to see if he could truly live a sustainable lifestyle, rather than borrowing from Babylon to live in an ecological Zion. He moved to a beautifully-obscure valley in Southern New Mexico to write Farewell, My Subaru, to quite simply see if a Digital Age Human can live without Petroleum but without giving up any of his Digital Age Comforts. His conclusion? He can, once he figures out how to keep the coyotes from eating his chickens, his solar panels from electrocuting him, and his vegetable oil truck exhaust from giving him a bad case of the munchies (it smells like Kung Pao chicken).

Be sure to visit your local branch and check out a copy of Farewell, My Subaru and mark your calendar for Doug Fine's visit to the Main Library on February 6.

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