Alaska Story Project

ASP 19, Stories of Healing and Connection with Hank Lentfer

March 10, 2022 Host Dan Kowalski, Author Hank Lentfer Season 3 Episode 19
Alaska Story Project
ASP 19, Stories of Healing and Connection with Hank Lentfer
Show Notes

Award-winning author and naturalist Hank Lentfer returns to the Alaska Story Project with an audio piece, “10 Sounds That Make You Feel More Alive”.

Hank reads from his book, Ravens Witness, the Alaska life of Richard K. Nelson, a passage from his earliest memories living with the Iñupiaq in the Arctic. 

“We yearn to pull together with neighbors and celebrate our collective success. So why do we find ourselves living in such rancorous times? How did stories of unity get buried by the din of voices tearing us apart? When did caring for our country become a partisan issue? And by country I don't mean a flag, song or pledge but our actual home ground the soil, rivers, forest, tundra, air and climate that make life possible.”

Reflecting on what makes a good story, “I'm drawn to stories that blur boundaries, stories that work against our tendency to cut the fabric of life into neat squares and organize it— to label people as Democrats or Republicans or evangelicals or atheist, or the world as natural or unnatural. So any story that helps stitch those squares back into their proper orientation. And a good story in my mind reveals the pain, the folly and darkness of isolation. A good story can illuminate and celebrate the restorative powers of connection. And the best stories do both.”

From a published essay, “if I were imprisoned in a windowless cell and allowed out for just one week a year, I choose seven days centered in September. I come home to my Alaska cabin in the woods and clean a few pounds of spruce needles out of my neglected kayak, oil up a fishing reel, pack a three day lunch and paddle up river.”

And finally, “Pay attention, hone in on any story that blurs boundaries or awakens us from the delusion of separateness. Retell the story at the dinner table, at church, the grocery store. And remember this you don't have to write a book or produce a podcast to be a storyteller. Our lives are stories, every decision, each interaction, the choice between generosity and greed, between gratitude agreements, kindness or callousness, tells a story. And our stories are not finished. We get to write a little each day. I try and remember that when I wake up, that the hours in front of me are a blank page and I get to choose the story I tell before I go to bed.

ASP host Dan Kowalski, “We're recording this in a time of increasing darkness for the human condition. We're in the midst of a historic shift, as a despot has unleashed mind-bending brutality and suffering on the souls of Ukrainians and also hapless Russians. The Alaska Story Project is dedicated to offer stories that have the power to connect and heal as something of a counterpoint or antidote to what's all over the news right now.”

Show notes: