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It’s been a hectic several weeks around SOF, with various staff vacations and Krista traveling to New York in mid-July for an event at the Council on Foreign Relations and her moving in to a new home. So, before she hits the road again, Colleen made an appeal to the staff for a guest Krista could interview by the end of the week.

Somewhat hesitantly, I sent an e-mail containing a brief pitch early Monday morning:

Over the past five years, I’ve had ample opportunity to grab a few volumes from the dead books pile. The most memorable one was snatched during the first month of my tenure in 2003 — back when Tippett and Farrell shared the top of a file cabinet. And, to boot, it was a story about fly-fishing (Fly-Fishing the 41st Parallel).

I don’t fly-fish, but he makes me wish I did. Here’s a brief sketch.

James Prosek tells stories and ruminates about life through the lens of angling. His appeal to me is that the ritualistic act of fly-fishing serves as a meditation on place and self, on people and the world around us, on our communion with nature, on art, on home and the necessity of leaving it. Yet, I don’t sense an agenda or a lecturing, didactic man.

He’s in his early 30s, has a somewhat soft, pubescent voice (which I find endearing) and has published nine books — his latest a work of fiction. He writes and talks about trout in such intimate ways that he gives me a sense of the importance of solitude and contemplation.

For Prosek, fly-fishing serves as a way of crossing class boundaries. He won a Peabody and an Emmy for his film, The Complete Angler. Watch the first chapter to gain a better flavor of his voice and sensibility: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwZAR4mJEa8.

NPR produced a 12-minute piece with him as part of their Creative Spaces series: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3622503. What does he mean when he talks about “creation is the act of playing God?”

He’s a wonderful artist who illustrates in the style of James Audubon. Although he’s renowned for his portraits of trout, he currently has a series “Life & Death–A Visual Taxonomy” exhibiting paintings on birds in various states of life (quite reminiscent of J.A.): “The boxes conceptually reference how man tries to fit nature into neat little containers through collecting, naming, classifying, and cataloging.”

He’s also partnered with the founder of Patagonia in a conservation effort called the World Trout Fund: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpx_fsMRkYs.

By the time we had our staff meeting at 11 (Krista hadn’t read the e-mail yet), I did a quick 60-second recap. I got a fair nod from Colleen and Kate, and Krista gives the go-ahead to book the interview.

So, here we are, just minutes before 3 p.m. Central and Krista will be talking to James Prosek from the studios of WSHU at Sacred Hart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. I hope it’s magic, and I’ll be uploading some video of the interview in the coming days!


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3 Comments

Thanks very much for the presentation of James Prosek's writing and work. It is indeed a contemplation of life which we can cherish. It is a gentle reminder to me that as we enter more deeply into the richness of this world we find Divinity in touch and sight and scent and sound.

Peace,
Stefan Andre Waligur
www.songsofpeace.net
www.speakingofpeace.blogspot.c...

I'm pretty excited to hear the final production, which is scheduled for air and download beginning August 28th. It should be a rich program with readings and sound.

I'm not a fly-fisherwoman either, but I begin to think I must take up the sport. Many fly-fishermen have written of their spiritual journeys: The River Why, A River Runs Through It, The Compleat Angler. And now you've introduced me to another! Thank you.