The Secret Life of Growers: Marijuana Fiction From Humboldt
About the only time most people get to glimpse the life of a pot grower is on the worst day of the grower’s life–when he is arrested or the victim of a crime. SoHumBorn, a local blogger, changed that. In December of 2008, she began writing a blog that told fictional stories of the trimmers and the growers of Humboldt County’s counterculture. By February of 2009, she had gripped a substantial readership. She spoke on two radio shows and commented on other blogs. And then, she deleted her blog and disappeared.
Eventually, I was able to get permission to reprint her stories. For months, every Sunday, I put up a story but eventually they were all reposted. There were no more.
But she wasn’t forgotten. In November of 2010, the L.A. Times carried a story about her writing. The piece stimulated more interest (for awhile it produced the most visits per day my blog had ever received.) SoHumBorn wasn’t ready to publish new pieces but she kept writing.
Now, she’s back and ready to let me put her new pieces on my blog. Tomorrow we start with a brand new piece called Pretty Underwear.
Below is an interview I did with her
Why did you quit?
I quit because I scared myself silly. I had really not understood how viral things on the web could be. The sudden popularity – while a little intoxicating – really began to terrify me and when people close to me were going to jail for the types of things I was writing about, it suddenly seemed like a good time to be a little less in the know and a lot less in your face about it.
Why are you back?
I like to tell stories. Really, people who know the woman at the keyboard know I can’t be very quiet very long.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I want to document this life. I really wanted to put together a book with the kind of stories I write, pictures of our world, and some nonfiction. I feel a little weird talking about you to you, but I wanted to do it with Kym Kemp. We slaved over the book plan for hours (Are we slaving if we giggle & have snacks?) We had a great idea, but the literary world is not Humboldt and I don’t want to try to convince people to read me. I just want to tell the dang stories.
[Also] I hope I can be a part of opening people’s eyes to the people in my world and I want people to know what it was like when this is all over – because I really feel like this is a community based on an illegality that is sliding away.
What have you been doing since you quit?
After the end of the SHB blog I didn’t write another word for a full year. When the old stories went up on Redheaded Blackbelt I was happy to see them, (I hadn’t saved any copies) and sad that I wasn’t writing anymore. Kym strongly encouraged me to write, and so I began to work on new stories with the idea that we could put together a book. I don’t have the kind of free time to really write like I did when I was blogging, but I’m working on making space for it in my life.
Have you tried to sell your writing?
Yes, I would love to sell something. I think for the validation, like that would be a way for me to feel that what I write has value. I have been entirely unsuccessful though. I’m not sure literary agents and publishers, so far from this place and this culture understand or see any market out there for the kinds of things I write. I feel like they’re wrong, but I am a little prejudiced.
What are your plans with The Redheaded Blackbelt blog?
I’d rather give the stories to Kym’s readers than let them rot for want of some stranger’s approval, and it’s really a motivation killer for me when I feel like they’ll never see the light of day.
If Kym doesn’t mind being my publisher and someone wants to read them, I’d love to just be a storyteller again.