Hog heaven: Michael Perry's 'Coop'
Michael Perry lives in rural Wisconsin on a farm with his wife, two daughters, a vintage truck and an assortment of animals, which he writes about in "Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting." He explains in an interview with Powell's that he's not running a big professional farming operation.
But what's encouraging is that I'm seeing more and more of it. This idea that you have to be just a farmer or just a writer is kind of a new thing. If you look back a few decades, the plumber used to have a few chickens in the back yard. It's not about becoming a farmer; it's about incorporating those things into the rest of your life.
Powell's asks with some horror about pigs -- apparently they'll eat humans, if it appears that humans are what's for lunch. "Yes, they're omnivorous, and that includes you," Perry says. "It's nothing personal; the pig's just hungry. And to be fair to the pig, I don't know why we're shocked about them eating us when many of us quite happily eat them."
Tending pigs and chickens is pretty time-consuming, which doesn't always jive with a writer's schedule. Perry, who can write for 16 hours at a stretch, also volunteers as a local emergency responder and plays in a band. And this spring he'll be busier than usual, as his long list of appearances will take him across Wisconsin and the Pacific Northwest -- leaving his wife holding the feedbag.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: The Pug Father via Flickr