‘Overburden’ heading south tomorrow

The first time my parents brought us to the Twin Cities they didn’t tell my sisters and I where we were going until our Oldsmobile station wagon pulled onto I-35. It was a long drive and they didn’t want us to melt down in excitement. My first question once we got there: what’s behind those concrete walls along the freeways?

I grew up on the Iron Range, specifically on our family’s salvage yard where we ate, slept and learned to read in the only metal structure that didn’t contain scrap iron, hubcaps or transmissions. So you can imagine the contrast between my world – the junkyard, the Iron Range, and the distant taconite plants on the horizon – and this urban world of freeways, skyscrapers and suburbs.

Those worlds collide once again this week. You might know that I am a writer, college communications instructor and political organizer from the Iron Range. My new book “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range” is a humorous, heartfelt exploration of the past, present and future of the Iron Range and places like it.

On Wednesday, March 11, I’ll be giving a lecture at the University of Minnesota Bookstore at Coffman Memorial Union in Minneapolis. The program begins at 4 p.m.

The following day, on Thursday, March 12, I’ll be doing a signing at the Eagan Barnes and Noble from noon to 1 p.m.

This is my first Twin Cities book event after a long winter of Iron Range and Duluth book events. These occasions have prompted many fascinating conversations, amusing stories and unusual observations from audience members. Why should you attend? Well, we’ll be exploring why the Iron Range and place like it will have a vital role in the future of this state and nation. We’ll be exploring why there’s something out there, a human force more vital than the rat race that drove us into the current economic crisis. And we’ll be exploring why “guns,” “fire” and “beer” are powerful words – not always wise words, but deeply powerful.

In particular, I’d like to invite the members of Minnesota’s online community to the 4 p.m. lecture at the University of Minnesota Bookstore at Coffman Memorial Union on Wednesday, March 11. I’ll be back to the Cities in the future, but I’d love to meet as many of you as possible at this exciting new event in the mysterious world of the Twin Cities.

MORE: Zack at MNPublius and Eric and Two Putt Tommy at the Minnesota Progressive Project were kind enough to promote my Wednesday and Thursday events in the Twin Cities. Thanks guys!

EVEN MORE: Snow! They are predicting a massive snowstorm Tuesday and Wednesday that will ensnare the whole state. My default is GO GO GO! But the moment of truth will come Wednesday morning when I try to plow my Ford Focus down our township road to the fancy paved road up the way. If I get to the paved road I will not stop for any reason!


  1. “. . . I will not stop for any reason!”

    Not even for hash browns at the Wilbert?

  2. If the weather is what they say I may be sleeping at the Wilbert!

  3. 8:40pm, north of St. Paul. We got about 1-2 inches, though it started with rain and I heard the roads are not the best. Very windy and getting COLD
    Good luck on the trip and the book

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