Up a Creek with Brett Nunn

Today I found out I will require bilateral laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery. Ugh. Not a fan of surgery but quickly becoming a fan of Project Access NW, which has determined that I am eligible for coverage. They have been wonderful, as has every person I have seen so far at Swedish Hospital and Medical Center. From the Project Access NW website: “For Project Access Northwest, opening doors means removing the logistical and financial barriers to specialty medical care for patients and physicians.” Boy, is it coming in the nick of time for me.

Panic Rising

I mention this because as Mer and I arrived home today from watching the film Lincoln (we were impressed), she went to work on watching Chopped and I went back to the digitizing of my interviews conducted over the years with activists, poets, authors and other “American Prophets.” The first one in my huge stack was an interview with Brett Nunn about his book: Panic Rising: True Life Survival Tales from the Great Outdoors.

He did a chapter on my lost-in-the-woods episode, which he titled: “Up a Creek.” The connection between my current situation and the one in 2000 was that they were both challenges, for sure, but I think they are indicative of how people in modern society often experience vision quests. Illness is a huge way in which this happens. I have done a couple intentional vision quests, and it’s clear I could be doing more of them, (or working on preventing the rupture of relationships as some believe is the mental limitation causing hernia events) but I see these events as opportunities to re-evaluate our lives and priorities and make needed course corrections. That Mer and I welcomed our daughter Ella

Ella at ten months old

Roque into the world last St. Patty’s Day requires more urgency in our ongoing quest to become fully human.

As always, comments are appreciated. Surgery should happen within a month. Thanks for your ongoing support. Running a non-profit organization while recovering from surgery is no mean feat, so if you’re flush and appreciate the work we do, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to SPLAB to support our ongoing work on the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the digitization of this vast audio archive. We will have some details on the next iteration, in May 2014, soon. Enjoy this interview from our archives.

In part one of our interview, Brett Nunn discussed his curiosity of survival tales, how he learned about the subjects in his book, including avalanche tales, how his process of researching and writing the book worked and how his wilderness experience allowed him to better describe the accounts he wrote. He read a segment from Chapter 4 on Base Jumpers in Glacier National Park. Part 1 (9:44)

In the second segment he discussed the structure of the stories in the book, the hours of interviews required for each story and the Edward Abbey quote he used in the book: An “adventuresome minority will always be eager to get off on their own and no obstacles should be placed in their path. Let them take risks, for God’s sake, let them get lost, sunburned, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches. That’s a right and privilege of any free American.” He also gave his take on who should foot the bill when they get in trouble, as well as a helicopter skiing/avalanche incident and how panicking does not help these situations. Part 2 (12:15)

In segment three he discusses the way in which adrenalin works and how it was engaged in a surfing incident. He read from Chapter 6 “Out of the Blue.” He also discussed his own experience in the Olympic Mountains in which he got into a little bit of trouble in a climb of Mt. Constance when the clouds dropped on them. Part 3 (8:23)

In the final segment he discussed Park Rangers who fell into a crevasse in Mt. Rainier National Park, how to prevent such survival events (plan your hike, hike your plan), a helicopter accident on the Juneau Ice Field, the volunteers who are waiting right now for you to get lost and the story of an NPR DJ, lost in the Olympic National Park who was rescued by military helicopter in September 2000, and lived to write this post, and why Brett liked this story as a meditation on how one can get lost by degrees. Part 4 (14:06)

Ella’s Attitude at ten months

KOMO-4 News

About Splabman

SPLAB and Cascadia Poetry Festival founder Paul E Nelson wrote American Sentences (Apprentice House, 2015), Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, Germany, 2008), a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme, Brazil, 2013). Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, in 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, Brenda Hillman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others, including many Cascadia poets. He lives in Seattle and writes at least one American Sentence every day. https://www.paulenelson.com. Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, he is in year five of a twenty year Cascadia Bioregional Cultural Investigation. www.CascadiaPoetryFestival.org (Oct 12-15, 2017, Tacoma, WA)
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2 Responses to Up a Creek with Brett Nunn

  1. Judith Roche says:

    Paul,

    I’m sorry you have to go through this. And happy you found a way to pay for it.
    Judith

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