HARDBARNED! One Man's Quest for Meaningful Work in The American South
written by Christopher J. Driver and illustrated by Tarri N. Driver
Overeducated and underemployed? In love with learning but stumped on how to translate it into a paycheck? Desperately striving to make your seemingly useless liberal arts education work for you in any sort of satisfying or meaningful way? Trying to simultaneously engage your interests, skillset and values and still pay the bills while pleading for another student loan deferment? I feel your pain and have stories to share, but if you're looking for inspirational uplift, self-help or a life coach, please look elsewhere.
HARDBARNED! One Man's Quest for Meaningful Work in the American South is a darkly comic, brutally honest and introspective memoir about working for a living--without being able to shake the feeling that there has got to be more to it than that.
Christopher J. Driver, unable to land a writing job after completing two undergraduate degrees, for three years worked a series of crappy jobs in construction, landscaping, retail, warehouses, hotels and restaurants between tours in a van with his DIY punk band. He then decided to go back to school, but a master's degree in English didn't open any doors either. Again failing completely in his attempts to find full-time employment as a professional writer, after a brief stint in computer sales, he drove a truck for the next three years--delivering and repossessing portable storage barns throughout several states in the rural, southern USA.
Constantly pleading with employers across a plethora of industries for a mere entry-level opportunity to prove himself as a writer, he plunged into the daily unknown--a multi-state, rural trucking adventure built on unpredictable encounters with a revolving cast of indelible characters, including drunken rednecks, scumbag salesmen, menacing highway patrol officers and at least seven lovely individuals--amid a perpetual tsunami of malfunctioning equipment, fire, mud, blood, shit, dogs, danger and existential ennui--the likes of which he had never imagined.
Inspired and anchored by his three-year, post-graduate tour-de-barns, and featuring powerful illustrations by his lovely wife, the multi-talented artist Tarri Driver, HARDBARNED! reflects on a quarter-century of one man's desperate search for meaningful work in the American South. With an irresistibly self-deprecating narrative, HARDBARNED! offers a revealing look into the insane (and often entertaining) lengths that one person will go to earn an honest living while making use of his education.