Alaska Story Project

ASP 23, Bruce Rettig, "Refraction, An Arctic Memoir"

January 05, 2023 Host Dan Kowalski Season 3 Episode 23
Alaska Story Project
ASP 23, Bruce Rettig, "Refraction, An Arctic Memoir"
Show Notes

Bruce Rettig recently published Refraction, An Arctic Memoir.  Refraction is a Pushcart prize nominee, and has received recognition and multiple awards including an award for non-fiction with the San Francisco Writing Contest, an International Chanticleer Book Award and a Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Award.  Bruce also writes literary short stories, creative non-fiction, essays and flash fiction/nonfiction.  He continues to be at the helm of his advertising and graphic design agency with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association as an important client.           

Refraction recounts his experiences as a young man working in Prudhoe Bay. His writing includes both the human intensity of heavy industry as well as the vastness of the non-human world. 

  • Bruce defines "Refraction" and why he chose it as the title for his memoir
  • Early experiences as a new hire on the North Slope
  • The complexities of a major industrial push in a harsh, demanding environment
  • Remembering a couple of notable characters as co-workers, Lee and Swan
  • Reads an excerpt from Refraction,  "The Dynamics of Steel and Ice"
  • Relates some of the properties of arctic ice, reading an excerpt from the chapter "The Properties of Ice"
  • Barter Island and the Iñupiat village of Kaktovik:   Helping recover the Crowley Prudhoe Bay fleet and getting to know some of the Kaktovik villagers
  • Complexity and paradox:  decisions, choices and divergent paths:  thoughts on the fossil fuel era
  • The importance of  conversation and listening:  "We all share the same home"

Show notes at
Bruce Rettig:
Special thanks to Christian Arthur for his music: