Amy Minato’s Siesta Lane

Summer Horton one of our readers pointed me to a cool book review by Kirkuss. I think this book might be a good read for all tiny house lovers. Here is the review:

A restless city poet recounts her experiment with country living.

The idea to swim against the “consumptive current” and move west came to Minato (The Wider Lens, 2004) during a Chicago traffic jam. Increasingly bothered by the global impact her metropolitan existence was having on the environment, the poet packed up and headed to Oregon for graduate school.

Siesta Lane Cover

But after eight years, even Eugene proved too urban for her, and she moved again, this time to a ten-square-foot cabin that was part of an eight-acre commune on Siesta Lane in the relative wilds of Rainbow Valley, Ore.

Her memoir, a veritable menagerie of thoughts, observations, photos, poems and lovely pen-and-ink drawings by Jan Muir, is the result of Minato’s year or so away, where she discovered as much about herself as the wonders of nature. “

Not so simple—simple living,” she realized early on. Characterizing each of her fellow Siesta Lane residents, the author doesn’t neglect herself, saying she’s a “single woman with ninety-eight part-time jobs trying to figure out how she connects to the greater forces of the universe and to the tiny earwigs that hide in the curled-up seed heads of Queen Anne’s lace.”

Part of this volume’s charm lies in its somewhat fractured composition, which mirrors the author’s state of mind during this transitional period. Short chapters hop from “Incubation” to “Freaks” to “July” to “The Garden,” while loosely conveying the sense of time’s passage as Minato adjusted to her rustic domestic situation.

Living without many modern conveniences—for example, only the commune’s main building had a kitchen and running water—led her to provocative conclusions: “For us it appears to primarily be the mind that evolves, and we then cater our surroundings to our weakening bodies.” She took some radical actions as well, such as getting rid of her cat after he brought home one too many birds.

An evocative record of a year in the woods and an interesting study in enacting one’s beliefs.

You can order now from Amazon here

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Janet Rose Marie - July 24, 2010 Reply

Imagine my surprise living in La Grande (close to Wallowa Valley) and reading in the local paper about Fishtraps visit from Gary Snyder and discovering that Amy Minato wrote the book Siesta Lane. Why this sort of blew my mind is because my name used to be Janet Williams married to Stephen Williams with 2 daughters, 2 cats and 1 dog. We bought, cleaned up and built the structures at the community on Siesta Lane. You can see why the name intrigued me. . .sure enough. . .same place.

Looking forward to connecting with Amy and having a conversation.

Lovin’ It

Janet Rose Marie
Oregon Rural Action
La Grande, Oregon

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