Notes from the basement

The world seems awash with news and events I’d have blogged about in recent years. Mining industry scuttlebutt. Duluth fighter jets shooting down UFOs. Fortunately, some other writers are on the job, including Jerry Burnes and Leah Ryan of the new Iron Range Today.

It was no surprise that former State Sen. Tom Bakk signed on as a mining industry lobbyist after leaving office. Him also becoming a tobacco industry lobbyist, however, was not on my bingo card. Nor would I have predicted the University of Minnesota to hire him as an image consultant. Bakk’s explanation to the Minnesota Reformer raised more than a few eyebrows. He lost the University job the day after the regents collectively figured out that he had taken the tobacco job.

These are the sorts of things you miss while toiling on long form projects. I had a number of witty comments that will go unsaid because the news cycle has moved on. Probably for the best.

I will check in about some of the work I’ve been doing lately.

Your author, Aaron J. Brown, before speaking in St. Paul

Thursday morning I spoke to Heidi Holtan and Kari Hedlund on the KAXE Morning Show about my recent keynote address to the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association. I gave a similar address last November at a ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Hibbing Public Utilities plant, which was being renamed the Hibbing Renewable Energy Center. Listen to the interview here. Readers might remember that I wrote about the renewable energy project in a column last year.

As you will hear, my six-plus years of historical research for my book now slops over into my writing about current events. Past? Present? Future? They all make the same patterns in the snow: Tiny feet, bird wings and blood.

The manuscript for “Power in the Wilderness” is done and I’ve been deep into the editing process. I was waylaid a couple months by my mother’s stroke. Now I’m back trying to shave words off the document, much the way I need to shave pounds after my physical this week. I need to lose 1,000 words off my manuscript for every pound I need to drop. That might sound like a fun health challenge to some, but I fear that it will lead to the deaths of many. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I hope to complete the second draft by May. Then, expect about 9-12 months of editing and review before the book comes out. While others read my work, I plan to revamp MinnesotaBrown and work on some video projects to support the book’s release. Exciting times ahead!

I have some good columns coming in both the Mesabi Tribune and Minnesota Reformer coming up these next two weeks. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks for the upGreat. oops uodate. Sorry to hear about your mother, Peace

  2. Kathleen Jokela says

    Hi Aaron,
    I’d like it very much if you’d consider me for the position pre- publication reader of your book,”Power in the Wilderness “.
    I’d like to say I’m dying to read it,but that’s cutting a bit close to the bone. The fact is I’m aging at the speed of light and although I understand you’re moving as quickly as you can on the book,I am getting nervous. I’d hate to miss it . Certain physical complications prevent me from groveling, but I’m quite able to still supplicate.
    As a qualification for being a reader,let me say that I have a decent grasp of the English language, have been a first reader on a few books and am still tending more toward compos mentis than otherwise.
    I’d really appreciate your considering me for the position of reader.
    Kathleen Jokela

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