Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images are ©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eight years, one man and the memoir lurks

To say I was a different person eight years ago is true on many levels. At this exact hour, I was still single, farmless, barnless, and donkeyless.
At precisely four post meridian, the music was cued- Doc Watson singing "You are My Special Angel" and my father, cane in one hand, my arm in the other, walked me down my garden path to my future Dirt Farmer.

We were very clean then, or at least on that day - and we didn't know the place called "Apifera". Like any marriage, there were some bumps along the way, one or two thuds, but because I married a genuine hearted creature who allows me to be genuine, we have a good marriage. I married the person that I knew would stay, without glitter, and the same person really can make me laugh.

When you get wrapped up in a horse fence one day and nearly die, it's good to have a mate that can make you laugh.

Many of you knew me in Minneapolis, and know that heart ache propelled me West back in my mid forties. I landed out of the sky in a little village near Portland, Oregon in a little house with a front door beckoning me to paint it Chinese red. I did. I planned to live there forever, I really did. And then came a knock on my door. It was my next door neighbor, who just happened to have the same last name. Friendship evolved, and one hot summer day he climbed a cherry tree to pick me cherries. I knew this act in and of itself was a marker in our relationship - climbing a tree in a heat wave has real meaning to a fair skinned lass who can't cope with heat. Like a bird bringing worms to his mate, he was helping to sustain me. Very worthy. The next day, the heat wave still blazing, I felt compelled to bake him a cherry pie from his gifted harvest...without air conditioning. I knew then this was more than a pie, it was a pie of love, one of many I would bake in years to come. It was my first raggedy crust.

That is just the beginning of our life, and I put it all down in an illustrated memoir that is currently being pitched to publishers. It has been rejected by four places and even though this is par for the course, it is a rather depressing journey. I just know and believe in this book to be, full of inspiration and magical connections to inspire anyone seeking their place in the world, encourage all those farm dreamers, and comfort the broken hearted or discouraged. The pages and art of the book sit waiting to find an editor that will take a chance on it, not afraid of the fact that an artist with a little donkey has written it versus a current pop idol, fallen politician or chef of the moment with a big "platform". It's a story worth sharing.

I would love to give this book to the world, and I must imagine the day I hand it to my husband. Hopefully we can both still walk by then, and I'll gather the fresh cherry pie, raggedy topped, and we'll climb Muddy Hill for a picnic. I'll read it to him, and we'll remember how magical it is that we were brought together, first side by side in our little houses, and then side by side as Dirt Farmers of Apifera.


Cheryl Razmus said...

I love you guys and I don't even know you! Big hearty congratulations from someone who found her special love at age 40 in difficult circumstances. Ours has lasted twenty years and is stronger than ever. (And we plan to retire from the midwest to that magic place of dreams as soon as we are able.)

Sharon Stanley said...

oh katherine, if only i HAD an editor...if only i KNEW an editor...this is s story aching to be told and i can picture it with illustrations of pie and pigtails and hills and donkeys and all good things. i don't know much about such things as publishing or editor's choices, but i know that one day, one fine day, a donkey-loving-pie-eating-farm-dwelling editor will come across your manuscript and say "this is the one that i've been looking for" and the rest will be flour-dusted history.

Jody said...

you know Katherine, someone over at Sundance should be able to direct your lovely book, yes? There are NO coincidences!
Back in nys we are rooting for you!

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

BRAVO... BRAVO... Brave Heart... SOLDIER ON! Your efforts will not be in vain!


Delisa said...

Hi Katherine, the moment they publish your book, I will be first in line to buy it! Such a book would have a honored place on my bookshelf. I am so glad you wrote it and are persevering with the publishers. I think this is a story that needs to be told. People need stories of hope, inspiration and encouragement! The first time I came across your blog was after I read your story in Somerset Life. My husband came home from a hard day at work and I sat and read it to him, and your delightful world of Apifera came alive to us and brought us a feeling of refreshment. I know your book would do the same thing. I wish you all the best and I am sure that the right publisher is out there! Delisa :)

Priya Sebastian said...

Someone once told me that we are responsible for what we attract into our lives. Your story is a terrific example of that :-)I hope that one day I will be holding your book and reading it. Lots of love to both of you. This post has really warmed the cockles of my heart.

Anonymous said...

Katherine, what a sweet story. I had no idea you both have the same name-that was convenient and almost like as if it were meant to be. I would read your story with more enthusiasm than I would a memoir of a famous person-I love the color of it, the flavor of your story and how it was real people it happened to. And you are right, it is inspiring to regular people, full of hope and the promise of dreams fulfilled. I wish you luck and am keeping my fingers crossed that some smart publisher out there recognizes the brilliance of this story and seizes it to bring it to fruition for you both.

I think you are amazing.

Please do a blog post and tell us what 'apifera' means, or how you came to the name. I always wonder about that.

Kathy said...


I can't wait to read your memoir! It will happen! K Beck

Ruth Armitage said...

Some things are just meant to be! Congratulations on your anniversary. Wishing you patience & perseverance in the publishing process.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thanks everyone. I've kept quite mum about the memoir in this initial pitching stage as I get to know the publishing business [quite a different beast than the art world...or farming!] Sometimes, it just feels like you're in a little room, waiting. That's when I write, paint or visit the barnyard, walk- but also hearing from followers and friends with encouragement is really helpful and uplifting. I think Ruth's words sum it up quickly- I need patience and perseverance.

Anonymous said...

I, too, would just love to read this book. Apifera is a magical, fascinating place to so many of us.

Anonymous said...

I, too, would just love to read this book. Apifera is a magical, fascinating place to so many of us.

Teddi said...

what a story! beautiful painting!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~