Alaska Story Project

ASP 24, Lara Messersmith-Glavin, "Spirit Things"

January 17, 2023 Host Dan Kowalski Season 3 Episode 24
Alaska Story Project
ASP 24, Lara Messersmith-Glavin, "Spirit Things"
Show Notes

This podcast features the work of author, editor, and teacher, and FisherPoet, Lara Messersmith-Glavin.  In each essay from her recently published book, "Spirit Things", Lara holds an object or detail from her early life aboard the family's Kodiak seiner and then takes us beyond into realms of history, science and story.  

In the Introduction to "Spirit Things",  Lara writes, 'When we live with things, imbue them with use and care, when they become extensions of our bodies to work, to create, to touch the world, they take on their own quiet power.  I like magical objects and the histories they carry inside of them."  

Lara reads  Chapter 4, 'Wave'

  • Early Kodiak reflections of living in a liminal zone between an ever-bright sky and a dark horror of water
  • "It was many years before I learned to put up barriers between myself and this terrible feeling of limitlessness."
  • Norse seafarers and their use of naming and stories with which to engage the immensity of the sea
  • Reflecting on modern means of navigation:  charts and GPS
  • Polynesian means of navigation:  "This way of knowing the waves, of seeing forces that are invisible to the eye, represents an entirely different form of understanding from the charts and equipment...  It was an experiential form of knowledge in which the cognitive structures are of actions and tendencies, ways of interpreting shifting conditions in the moment rather than mental maps of places or things."

Lara reads Chapter 9, "Shell"

  • "When the land and the ocean meet, they speak with many voices and arrive in many moods."
  • Beachcombing:  "It's about being there, on the edge of the infinite, staring out into the closest thing to a straight line that nature has to offer, the water horizon."
  • A story of how Lara's parents met in Kodiak and the loss, overboard, of a precious wedding ring
  • Fotsam, getsam, lagan, derelict.  Plastics:  The Pacific Trash Vortex
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, Ocean Acidification, mollusks, crustaceans
  • Shells on the beach a century from now?  "As with what we scavenge, what we choose to protect says so much about us, about what we value and find precious and worth rescuing."

Lara's website:
Show notes:
Podcast music by Christian Arthur: