We want to be a part of the land into which our towns disintegrate, to shed our walls and windows and, when we travel to bigger places with buildings made of the same stuff as our mountains, to know our absence has left a scar. We want the land to miss us when we’re gone but eventually realize that the pain of separation goes unmatched by the places we love. We’re the ones who are lonely.
Naomi Kimbell is from Western Montana where she lives, writes, and pursues the sustained yet ephemeral experiences of place, loneliness, and loss that are intrinsic to the West. She grew up in the midst of Montana writers and poets. Richard Hugo, James Welch, William Kittredge, Annick Smith, James Crumley, her father, Rick DeMarinis, and many others, influenced her love of the art of writing and taught her about the commitment it takes to push the limits of your own creativity.
Although her experience growing up was of a decidedly male-dominated writing world, that didn’t stop her from pursuing her own writing career. In 2008, she earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana under the mentorship of Judy Blunt (Breaking Clean, 2002), where she has since taught creative nonfiction and developmental and college writing courses. Additionally, she has facilitated memoir and cross-genre workshops for individuals with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury, people with severe and disabling mental illness, children and adults with chronic and terminal illness, and elementary school students.
Her essays have been published in the Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review, The Baltimore Review, The Indiana Review, Crazyhorse, Calyx, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, and other journals and anthologies. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her essay, “Whistling in the Dark” was a notable essay in Best American Essays, 2010. Her work is often experimental and genre-bending, influenced by poetry, academic and science writing, and ancient texts and themes. When she’s not writing, she makes ambient, hypnotic films and scores using her iPhone, and has produced two short films inspired by her essays in addition to a video chapbook. She is currently learning Middle English as well as learning to play concertina. Recently, she took a leap and began working on a novel.