Read Gimme Refuge: The Education of a Caretaker by Matt Love Online


Frustrated with life, teaching, and the inability to become a writer, Matt Love escaped Portland in 1997 at 33 years of age and moved to the Oregon Coast. A year later he became caretaker of the 600-acre Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. During his decade (1998-2008) as caretaker, he helped restore the grounds to fuller ecology, discovered a love for teaching, and reiFrustrated with life, teaching, and the inability to become a writer, Matt Love escaped Portland in 1997 at 33 years of age and moved to the Oregon Coast. A year later he became caretaker of the 600-acre Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. During his decade (1998-2008) as caretaker, he helped restore the grounds to fuller ecology, discovered a love for teaching, and reinvented himself as a writer and historian who established Nestucca Spit Press and eventually won the 2009 Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award from Oregon Literary Arts. Gimme Refuge is his passionate 177-page account of his teaching career, experience as caretaker, and awakening as an Oregonian. The book also includes 17 original illustrations by Cindy Popp....

Title : Gimme Refuge: The Education of a Caretaker
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780974436449
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 177 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gimme Refuge: The Education of a Caretaker Reviews

  • jeremy
    2019-05-29 00:59

    the enthusiasm that permeates matt love’s writing is both contagious and inspiring. as an author focused almost exclusively on oregon and her history, love’s works have established him as one of the region’s eminent writers. in gimme refuge: the education of a caretaker, his first book since winning the 2009 stewart h. holbrook literary legacy award, love tells the tale of how a chance opportunity to serve as caretaker of a neglected wildlife refuge on oregon’s north coast radically transformed his life.after nearly a decade of teaching and fruitless attempts at writing, a disheartened love left portland and moved to the oregon coast where he took a job at a small, private school in neskowin. prior to the start of his second year there, love accepted an offer to move to and act as caretaker of the nearby 600-acre nestucca bay national wildlife refuge. gimme refuge is set almost entirely in the year between the summers of 1998 and 1999, love’s first year on the refuge and his last as a schoolteacher. love’s memoir chronicles his tireless efforts to battle not only his professional frustrations and doubts but also the himalayan blackberries that had all but overrun the refuge. charged with restoring the refuge to greater ecological stability, love also set about renovating the dilapidated house he was sharing with then wife cindy (the book’s illustrator) while fulfilling his commitment to finish out the school year. as the book’s narrative shifts between the classroom and the refuge, it becomes evident that the devotion and ingenuity love employed in his teaching were well suited to the seemingly endless tasks of manual labor. suffused with rock n’ roll references and a vivacious, contrarian spirit, gimme refuge seems to synthesize all that love holds dear: oregon, the beach, dogs, the rolling stones, teaching, loyalty, hard work, storytelling, and the wisdom that comes only from doing what one knows to be right. at turns hilarious, touching, poignant, and insightful, love’s candor commands adoration. like all great writers, particularly those gifted with an affinity for nuance (be it in perception of a driving guitar solo or espying the formation of flocked geese passing overhead), love effortlessly imbues the commonplace with a touch of due reverence.the quintessentially oregonian tale of striving to blaze a trail for one’s self is not new, yet it never fails to charm and inspire others wise enough to see themselves as capable of the same. in yielding to chance, love’s discovery of how to enact his own passions created a lasting legacy that goes far beyond his own personal accomplishments as writer and educator. gimme refuge is more then mere memoir; it’s a testament to how a single person’s actions can permanently enrich the environment of students and ecosystems alike. "i consider my role as caretaker as the greatest one of my life. i had a direct hand in planting some 15,000 trees on the refuge and it’s awesome to think that they’ll long outlive anything i’ve ever written."

  • Jocelyn
    2019-06-04 18:51

    Matt Love is just slightly more full of himself than is charming. I want to find him charming, and might actually do so in person, but in this book he's kind of a whiner, though it must be said, at least he's a whiner who does something about his frustrations (I hesitate to count the number of teachers I know who hate their profession but continue, blindly, to teach, and without any of Mr. Love's apparent energy and personality). Aside from that, the book is entertaining, both in its delicate story arc and writing style, though from time to time I'll admit that I made some unfair comparisons to Desert Solitaire. I'd recommend this book to anyone familiar with Matt Love's other work, especially his Powell's column and Citadel of the Spirit -- I think having a prior association between the author and his love of Oregon history allows for a little more patience with the author, and more enjoyment of the book.

  • Melody
    2019-06-18 22:54

    Love writes from his heart, and it shows. This book is sometimes uneven but always passionate and intense. I thought what I was getting was a chronicle of his time spent as caretaker of a wildlife refuge, and what I got instead was a love song to teaching. Love's affair with teaching is plenty tempestuous, they fight, they break up, there's sulking and stomping and fuming, but ultimately it's the most meaningful relationship he has. Beating back Himalayan blackberries is a worthwhile stress-reducer, but it's teaching that owns his soul.Well worth reading, especially if you're involved with students, wildlife or Oregon.

  • Wendy
    2019-06-09 22:59

    Matt Love writes an enjoyable personal narrative about teaching and being the caretaker of a wildlife refuge on the Oregon coast. He imagines quitting his teaching career to live a writing life. I found his writing to be immature at times, but I did find the book engaging nonetheless. I especially appreciated his descriptions of his life on the refuge, as well as his adventures as a teacher at a private school. I do think this book is valuable beyond just being a local writer. I think teachers might find his ideas interesting. I found his development and growth as a human being to be an absorbing part of the book, and the ending to be quite unexpected.

  • Erin
    2019-06-12 17:05

    I love Matt Love. Yes, he totally comes off as pompous. I don't care. This book makes me laugh. And, boy, I wish he had been a teacher when I was at WLHS. I'm kind of frustrated that I missed his year there (by nearly a decade).

  • *nicole* Yasuhara
    2019-06-18 22:56

    there is a passage near the end of the book, a letter from a publisher letting matt love down, and i couldn't agree with the comments more. meh. also, i couldn't understand the author's need to infiltrate his students' youth as much as he does. like, sorry, but maybe get a life?

  • Nikole DeBois
    2019-06-15 23:40

    "Gimme Refuge: The Education of a Caretaker" filters out the robotic narrations that plague memoirs nowadays. It’s derived from where writing should originate, inside the moral fibers and tenacity of its author. Matt Love shares a genuine story about a man full of aspirations who suffers bewilderment at the draw of practicality and audacity. Unlike most memoirs, this internal struggle of what life one ought to lead is applicable to any reader. It’s a scarce occurrence when a reader can connect with a memoir’s content on bases other than sympathy or feeling. It’s rarer that an internal struggle isn’t dramatized to the point of inauthenticity due to the consumer market. Matt Love’s memoir proves a work of writing can still be a fragment of life produced as art. This piece has evaded the unfortunate fate of many writings. It escaped mechanical lifelessness and brings to its readers the relativity of the human condition, of human consciousness.Have you ever had the urge to pursue something seemingly out of reach? Have you ever reasoned your procrastination away with the sensible obstacle of living life? Our author endured several of what I call false starts concerning his writing career. We are introduced to this struggle in the book’s beginning chapters. As the content continues to roll, however, we see an intimate transformation within Love’s psyche where he lands on the spot which mobilizes his writing life. This place is the Oregon Coast. This place is the Nestucca Bay Wildlife Refuge.Love always wanted to write. He wanted to be an author but was hampered by the sales fiends that control the publishing industry. He includes rejection letters and phone conversations in this memoir. Love writes in this memoir about one agent explaining to him that the stakes for the piece’s main character, Love, were not high enough. I disagree with that agent.Love shares how he became a teacher. At the memoir’s beginning, it seemed to be more from practicality than verve. He wanted to be a writer. He wanted to live the writing life, not the teaching life. We are presented the impression of an omen over the Love family because Matt Love’s parents and siblings are educators. An eventual fate is that our protagonist and author also becomes a teacher. That supposed compromise is the first stake our author endures.How many American adults have compromised their futures? How many American dreamers stop dreaming? How many working citizens do the sensible thing? Too many. This is the story of every American who heeds to the extortion of money and practicality. Love’s story is one circumstance of all possibilities, and that is the first stake of this memoir for our writer and us.Throughout his teaching career, as discussed in "Gimme Refuge," Love leads us down the many trails he walked along and stopped on either by a barrier or lack of interest. This is the second stake for our character. In fact, it’s the stake of every human with goals. Have you ever tried to achieve something with so much persistence only to realize its futility? Have you ever waned interest because of the time it takes for you to achieve something? Have you ever set out to achieve a goal, only to be twisted in a different direction from something completely out of your control? If so, Love’s stakes are also yours.All of these false starts appear early on in Gimme Refuge before Love accepts the offer of becoming the Nestucca Bay Wildlife Refuge’s caretaker on the Oregon Coast. It’s when he arrives to the Oregon Coast to teach and restore 600 acres of wildlife and write that his life changes. It’s when he doesn’t have the restraint of social and financial demands to deter his dreams that things really unfold for Love. It’s when he finally treks down that path regardless of every obstacle and sense of doubt that has been fogging his way for so long. These examples of stakes might not be life or death situations in the physical sense. But, they are life or death stakes in the deepest spiritual sense. The literal life force is sucked out of the working class and all that can be seen are 401K promises, health insurance premiums, and mouths needing fed. Out of this cycle of intellectual servitude practicality reigns and any person waltzing along something less understood than the conformity of monetary enslavement gets jilted with judgment of an oblivious mind. The superficial security that we must compete for fogs our paths. It prevents us from living in a sense beyond material gain and reproduction. It prevents us from finding our own purpose. This resistance to succumb to such mindlessness is the literal life and death stake of Matt Love’s essence. He escaped Portland to re-find himself, to find his purpose. He found it.The uninhibited honesty in "Gimme Refuge" is a style of Love’s writing that has me addicted to his work. I can reread every word he writes and know that he does what most writers are taught not to do anymore, pours his whole soul into every piece. Gimme Refuge made me cry. I did not cry because something was sad or depressing. The stakes of our writer are so relatable that I felt a part of my own life being told as I read each page of "Gimme Refuge." Nothing in it was dramatized. Love led us through his life in a way that would make a rookie feel naked. Nothing is embellished and so nothing climaxes with a whimsical twist to make a reader impressed by some mechanical narrative arc that memoirs shouldn’t even require. Aside from demonstrating humility, relativity, openness, and a piece of a man’s life, we also get comedy and the most beautiful writing voice I’ve ever set eyes upon. His work really is an addiction, and all these stated examples of self-awareness are why.The third stake (but not final; you have to read the piece for yourself to find all the stakes laid out for you) – and possible lesson – within Gimme Refuge is this: While it may be challenging, time-consuming, socially hindering, romantically corroding and stressful, achieving more than one dream at once is possible. The knowledge Love imparts onto his students with the talent and patience he has demonstrates that for so many years, instructing turned out to be an existential purpose. Its purpose served his writing life as well. Love found himself while damning the expectations of the outer world and moving to the Oregon Coast. Love achieved his dream of becoming a writer without the help of literary moguls in New York. Matt Love is the author of 14 – soon to be 15 – books. He is also the publisher of Nestucca Spit Press. Matt Love’s memoir "Gimme Refuge" carves out one way to connect with your inner workings to discover your own purpose. His journey is a testament that goals can be achieved. His journey is a testament that you can discover yourself in the midst of monetary servitude to which the American working class has fallen victim. It’s all explained in his artistic account of being a caretaker, teacher, and writer. It’s all explained in "Gimme Refuge: The Education of a Caretaker."

  • Michael
    2019-06-13 19:03

    I would give this 2.5 stars if that were an option, but I'm going to go ahead and be generous with a three star review. I made the mistake of googling Matt about halfway through the book, as I was really enjoying it, and was saddened to see reports of his inappropriate relationships with female students. After some deliberation, I decided to go ahead and finish the book despite the bad taste and I did still enjoy much of it. However, the combination of his absurd narcissism and these news reports made him a much less than credible narrator. Regarding his ridiculous ego, as an example within just the last 10 pages or so of the book he claims that his family has the most noble aristocratic teaching blood in all of Oregon, that he will probably be the last person to ever see a cougar or certain other wildlife on the refuge, and that he cleared more Blackberries during his time there than anyone else in the entire state of Oregon. In short, he is an egomaniac and clearly makes shit up. Otherwise, I enjoyed his writing, humor and verve.

  • Bill Hall
    2019-06-19 23:42

    Matt Love fled Portland in the late nineteen-nineties, burned out on teaching and seeking a path to a writing life. This book tells the story of his funny, sad, moving, passionate journey that not only led him to find his author’s voice but eventually brought him back to the classroom. Love left the city behind and became the first resident caretaker at the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge in South Tillamook County. He also took a post as teacher at the Nestucca Valley School, a private institution with no standardized tests or grades and a commitment to producing well-rounded human beings.Both engagements proved to be beautiful fits.The narrative moves back and forth from the refuge to the classroom. In the refuge, Matt poured his physical and psychic energies into healing the scarred land that had once been a dairy farm. In the classroom, he brought all the creativity and passion he could muster to what he thought would be the final chapter of his teaching career.Matt Love has produced several wonderful books about one of Oregon’s golden eras, the 1960s and 1970s, but as he showed in his volume, “Super Sunday in Newport,” he also has a gift for memoir. That talent also shines in this book.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-29 22:37

    There were too many grammar and punctuation mistakes to be ignored and a lot of times I didn't care for the author's attitude. That being said, I related to his observations MANY times having moved from a large city to the rural Oregon coast. It is quite an adjustment and I appreciated his struggle. I wholeheartedly agreed with one of the letters that observed he wasn't the best of writers, but he was clearly an AMAZING teacher. I also contemplated many times what it must be like to yearn for greatness when you're not so great. His single mindedness was a bit frustrating, but his frustration with the teaching system was relatable. I'm glad that I read this, it was worth the time.

  • Crystal C
    2019-06-10 23:58

    I bought this book the last time that I went to Manzanita and finished it that same night. I think it might have been the thing that I was looking forward to the most about the vacation, and it did not disappoint. I think that Matt Love is one of the most honest and authentic Oregon authors currently writing. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the Oregon coast, likes dogs, or has ever thought of becoming a teacher, or a writer, or had any dreams or aspirations of any sort. I love this book.

  • Anne
    2019-06-20 22:54

    This was kind of an autobiography...of a man finding himself and his future --the wonderful part of it is the Oregon coastal land that brought him to this. Being an Oregonian, I especially liked this story--I think we even had the same english teacher (Mr. Winn--or I know he taught at my school)! His thought processes about teaching and nature were inspiring...and of course his dog, Ray. Good read.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-31 16:57

    This book sure did resonate with me, as a fellow Oregonian, as a sometimes-inspired, sometimes-burned out and disenchanted public school teacher, as a struggling writer and as someone who imagines herself living "off the land" one day. This book is inspiring at times, surprising at times and never dull. I like supporting Oregon writers and would be happy to buy Matt Love a beer the next time I am in Newport.

  • Kathleen
    2019-06-12 19:01

    Melody recommended this to Laurie, and I stole the recommendation!And I agree with Melody's review -- it's not so much a chronicle of Love's time as a caretaker, it's a chronicle of his time teaching. And I was pleased to see in the epilogue he had gone back into teaching, because he sounds like a heck of a teacher.It was a very enjoyable read; I read it straight through in one evening.

  • brendan
    2019-06-16 23:59

    Matt had it easy with me.I am his slice of the population to whom he is writing.If you are an educator...If you are or want to write...If you are feel lost...If you live in Oregon...Pick it up and give it a try.I found myself agreeing with everything that the editor wrote Matt in her patient rejection letter.

  • Sunset
    2019-05-28 16:43

    I've been following Matt Love's environmental, philosophical, and very personal opinions printed in a little coastal rag over the last twelve years. As I'm familiar and empathetic with his world view, this book is a sweet validation of his effort to communicate.

  • Jen
    2019-05-29 19:48

    I may be a bit biased since I know Matt well, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gave me a perspective on teaching that I had never seen, it was written from the heart, and anyone who follows their instincts and dreams without knowing where they will lead will relate to Matt's story.

  • Laurie
    2019-06-12 22:52

    I am pleased to report that this book was recommended to me by Melody, in person--she was actually standing in my living room holding it!--not just virtually. Though I enjoy getting virtual recommendations from her too.

  • bookinglibrarian
    2019-06-16 22:03

    I stumbled across this writer on the Powells books blog, and now am trying to track down some of his other (self-published) books, particularly about Oregon history in the 1970s--an area overdue for discussion.

  • Shauna
    2019-06-23 22:03

    I went to a writing retreat with this author as the guest speaker/teacher. He was good. Creative non fiction.

  • The Lau Azure Door
    2019-06-03 17:45

    One of the best book about being a teacher. For those who love the wonderlands of Oregon.

  • Joel
    2019-06-05 21:54

    Oregon, environmental issues, cutting writing - everything I like in a book

  • Anne
    2019-06-06 23:39

    Oregon boy slash "rock 'n' roll teacher" rebuilds a wildlife refuge on the coast. I couldn't put it down.

  • Carol C
    2019-06-04 22:06

    . Reading Matt Love is my tonic for being trapped in Texas and only getting to visit beautiful Oregon & her coast for 2 weeks in the summer. What a great teacher!