Daily Archives: June 20, 2012

Kristen Iversen on Writing Full Body Burden

Full Body Burden is a work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated “the most contaminated site in America.” It’s the story of growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and—unknown to those who lived there—tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium. Author Kristen Iversen shares with us her thoughts while writing Full Body Burden:

Rocky Flats was the great monolith of my childhood. Everyone in my neighborhood knew of Rocky Flats and was fearful of it—and fascinated by it—but no one knew what really went on there. Some thought it manufactured cleaning supplies. For decades, Rocky Flats had been releasing toxic and radioactive elements into the air, water, and soil, but it had all been covered up. The government, Dow Chemical, and later Rockwell International, one of the nation’s largest industrial corporations, assured us that Rocky Flats was safe, despite constant and ongoing leaks and fires. There was a lot of cancer and illness in my neighborhood, and we all wondered if it was related to Rocky Flats. But no one talked openly Continue reading

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