Eric Poole and Josh Kilmer-Purcell: Author One-on-One
Eric Poole is the secret love child of Fran Lebowitz and David Sedaris. But oddly taller. The author of Where's My Wand and a VP of radio marketing for a major media company, Eric resides in Los Angeles with his partner of eight years. Recently he sat down with Josh Kilmer-Purcell to discuss their work. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Josh interviewed Eric.
Eric: How many jobs can one person have? You're a bestselling author, an advertising exec, a gentleman farmer and the star of the Fabulous Beekman Boys reality series. Don't you know that unemployment is 8.5%?
Josh: You raise a really good point. Since only one of those jobs pays more than minimum wage, I wonder if I can collect some sort of unemployment?
Eric: In your new memoir The Bucolic Plague, your partner Brent gives vivid and highly amusing life to the term "control freak." Does he make up for it in other ways, or are you just medicated?
Josh: If it weren’t for Brent, I would still be living in a crappy rental apartment spending my evenings reading crappy books and watching mindless television shows rather than writing crappy books and starring in mindless television shows. I’m inherently very lazy. While having a control freak as a partner might seem difficult from the outside, it certainly does motivate oneself to get off one’s ass…if for no other reason than to shut him up.
Eric: I was so rooting for you and Brent in this book. I started the book in Mexico and couldn't leave the room until I finished it. You owe me a suntan.
Josh: Years from now, when you don’t find a giant, discolored, Arkansas-shaped mole in your bikini region, you will thank me.
Eric: The Bucolic Plague is the story of how you came to buy the farm that your reality series is about. What on earth made you think buying and running a farm would be easy?
Josh: It was 2007. Everything was easy. You could find gently pre-owned Lexus sedans in curbside recycling bins. You sent in your clothes for dry-cleaning, and they upgraded them to haute couture. There were carts on every NYC street corner hawking weekend homes to passersby. A million-dollar goat farm seemed like the deal of the century. Unfortunately that century ended in with the market crash of 2008.
Eric: What's the one thing you hate most about farming (if you can narrow it down)?
Josh: Nothing. Not one thing. The only thing I even slightly dislike is leaving the farm every Sunday night to come back to the city.
Eric: Brent doesn't want to introduce you to his straight-laced family. Is he afraid they’ll like you better?
Josh: Actually, I have just recently met his entire family. Brent and I have been together for 11 years, but it has taken this long to for me to meet his family because some of his relatives are pretty devout fundamentalists. And because he (rightly) loves them very much, and because they (rightly) love him very much, and because I (rightly) love Brent very much, we all needed to wait until everyone felt completely comfortable with the situation. I happen to be fairly religious myself. So I figured I’d let God work it out on his schedule since he was the reason for the mess in the first place.
Eric: The goat milk products on your website are a big hit. Are the goats going all diva on your ass?
Josh: The goats are pretty humble. The llama, however, is a drama queen. “Llook at me! I’m the only llama on the farm!” One day I’m going to bring home an Emu just to knock her down a peg or two.
Eric: In your memoir I Am Not Myself These Days, you dated a drug-addicted escort. Do you look back and think, mmm, good times...?
Josh: Yep. At the risk of making people dislike me even more than so many already do, I have to admit I’ve had a kickass life.
Eric: Do you ever wish you could go back to just being Aqua (your drag queen alter ego), when your biggest problem was how to feed the live goldfish in your bustier?
Josh: You’re supposed to feed goldfish??
Eric: What's the last thing you think about at night? Is it your llama?
Josh: I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. The last thing I think about at night is that if I don’t wake up in the morning I will have achieved everyone’s ultimate goal of dying in one’s sleep. Then I wind up losing sleep trying to figure out how one goes about gloating over such a thing.
--This text refers to the
Raised in rural Wisconsin, Kilmer-Purcell moved to Manhattan to work in advertising in the 1990s. In his memoir I Am Not Myself These Days
, he wrote about moonlighting as a nightclub drag queen. Now he recalls how he and his partner, Dr. Brent Ridge, a Martha Stewart Omni Media v-p, became weekend farmers after purchasing the 19th-century Beekman Mansion on 60 acres near the hauntingly beautiful town of Sharon Springs, N.Y. Kilmer-Purcell writes with dramatic flair and trenchant wit, uncovering mirthful metaphors as he plows through their daily experiences, meeting neighbors, signing on caretaker Farmer John, herding goats, canning tomatoes, and digging a garden, as they fix up the 205-year-old house. Cleverly contrasting ad agency life with rustic barn mucking, he must choose: I just can't face spending the rest of my life behind a desk selling dish soap to Middle America. Hell, I want to be Middle America. This entertaining book gets an extra big boost from the forthcoming Beekman Farm
, a Planet Green documentary TV series about the dynamic duo's eco-adventures scheduled to air this spring. (June)
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