"Spirit Things" at Village Books

Event Details

Oct 07, 2022 from 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM
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A Nature of Writing Speaker Series event at Village Books in Bellingham - free, pre-register on Eventbrite to reserve your spot

A collection of essays that evoke an adventurous spirit and the craving for myth, Spirit Things examines the hidden meanings of objects found on a fishing boat, as seen through the eyes of a child. Author Lara Messersmith-Glavin blends memoir, mythology, and science as she relates the uniqueness and flavor of the Alaskan experience through her memories of growing up fishing in the commercial salmon industry off Kodiak Island.

“Spirit things” are those mundane objects that offer new insights into the world on closer consideration—fishing nets, a favorite knife, and the bioluminescent gleam of seawater in a twilight that never truly grows dark. Spirit Things recounts stories of fishing, family, synesthesia, storytelling, gender, violence, and meaning. Each essay takes an object and follows it through histories: personal, material, and scientific, drawing together the delicate lines that link things through their making and use, their genesis and evolution, and the ways they gain significance in an individual’s life.

A contemplative take on everything from childcare to neurodivergence, comfort foods to outlaws, Spirit Things uses experiences from the human world and locates them on the edges of nature. Contact with wilderness, with wildness, be it twenty-foot seas in the ocean off Alaska’s coast or chairs flying through windows of a Kodiak bar, provides an entry point for meditations on the ways in which patterns, magic, and wonder overlap.

About the Author
Lara Messersmith-Glavin is a writer, educator, and performer based in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Across the Margin, Still Point Arts Quarterly, MaLa Literary Journal, Anchored in Deep Water: The Fisherpoets Anthology, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Selkie, Radiant Voices: Twenty-One Feminist Essays for Rising Up, and elsewhere. She was awarded the ATM 2018 Best Nonfiction Award, a writing residency from the Sou’Wester in 2017, and the Chinalyst Award for Best Travel Writing in 2008.

Praise For…
“Many fishing memoirs are filled with high seas drama, but Messersmith-Glavin focuses instead on what Blake called the 'luminous details' as revealed in the 'spirit things' she chooses to carry her story, objects as seemingly mundane as a glove and as complex as a wave. Spirit Things will appeal to anyone who’s fallen hard for Alaska and wants to be reminded what they love—and miss—about wilderness, fishing, and those who are drawn to the far North.”
—Holly J. Hughes, author of Hold Fast, Passings, and Sailing by Ravens