What is it about home that pulls us ever back, iron filings to some internal magnet? I grew up in Salina, Kansas, a mid-size town surrounded by farm country. My grandparents farmed, and I was able to spend a large amount of my time in the country, rocking on the porch swing of the house built by my great-grandfather and listening to my grandmother tell me stories of the generations who came before me. Land, and the stewardship of land, has long filled my heart and has always stoked my imagination.
Yesterday, I had the great fortune to come back home and partake in some book research for a novel on which I'm working that features a farmer as protagonist. Wheat harvest is in full swing here, but my uncle Jay Wagner allowed me onto his farm and into his combines to experience the thrill of cutting wheat (and to pick his brain). I also got paired up with the hottest farmer in the country (not to mention the smartest), my cousin Jackie Wagner, a pre-med student home for the summer. If you've never had the chance to talk killer viruses while riding on a combine with a badass woman, you really should try it.
Below are a few more pics and a video from my time. Thanks so much to the Wagners, especially Jay, Jackie ,and Sharolyn, and to Marc Oldham for allowing me to truly return home. I love you all. And to all you writers out there, I wish you the same joy in your research.
And if you're a Kansan, or a farmer, and have yet to check out my Random House ebook CONSUMPTION, I'd love it if you did. It's on sale for $2.99, and you may just recognize a few similarities between The Black Squirrel Festival and another one in Kansas named after a prominant river ;)
Jackie Wagner, tolerating a sweaty, inquisitive me.