THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

Expansions

Well, come this Sunday, “Native Waters: A Chitimacha Recollection” will begin broadcasting nationally.

A buncha stations across the United States have already picked it up, a quick Google search reveals.

In case your memory is as unreliable as mine, that’s the Louisiana Public Broadcasting documentary I co-wrote and narrated back in 2011 and aired statewide in March. We have since been nominated for an Emmy Award, and won a Telly Award. My good friends and extraordinary filmmakers Tika Lauden, Rex Fortenberry and Charles Richard created quite a masterpiece of a documentary, even with me in it!

I’m kinda feeling like I did when the two episodes of Fly Fishing America I appeared in were broadcast in 2006: Nervous, apprehensive and ready to change my email addresses, phone number and move to Bolivia. But I survived that little jaunt into the wide world of television, and the state broadcast last year, so I imagine I’ll survive this one, too.

So check your local public broadcasting station’s listings and see if it’s on in your area. It might not be right away, but stations have the option to get it at any time, so it might show up later. That is, if you’re interested in seeing it, of course.

I am also about to (tooting my own horn, now!) release the sequel to my first book, “Native Waters,” this next one being called “The Great Sadness: Indigenous Angling and the Loss of Home.”

“The Great Sadness” takes up where “Native Waters” left off, and covers the year 2005 and early 2006. Yes, I’m six years behind on my memoirs! But that’s fine, I at least remember to feed the dog in a timely fashion. Mostly.

Both books chronicle an indigenous perspective of the lands and waters around us, in particular the loss of culture and environs. Many indigenous people call that moment some 500 years ago when the first wooden sailing ships appeared off the coast of this continent “the great sadness.” The moment when we began to go away, if not completely, then becoming invisible, or for ‘Breeds like me, just barely tangible.

I’ve taken the term and expanded its meaning to include the destruction of my “native waters,” the Atchafalaya Basin, and the great sorrow that this has caused not only Chitimacha, but anyone of any culture with ties to and love of that magnificent ecological system.

They call is solastalgia. Similar to the word “nostalgia” it differs in that you have not left home and thus miss it, home has left you.

As I read through “Native Waters” and “The Great Sadness” I see the solastalgia growing, deepening as the basin thins and grows weak and tired.

Suzie asked me one day, “What happened to the guy I first met who swore he’d never leave here no matter what, was gonna die in this house and all that?”

I thought about it long and hard and there was only one answer: Solastalgia. I don’t want to leave home; but home has already left me.

I won’t say I’ve given up, because I never will. I still sit on a state legislatively created committee searching for solutions to saving Lake Fausse Point and Grand Avoille Cove, in the same way that the Atchafalaya Basin Program is trying to save the basin. But since Fausse Pointe sits outside the basin levee, it is not included in the program’s authority area.

But yes, I and losing home. That’s why the next volume of my memoirs will be entitled something to the effect of “For Want of A River.” Because I don’t fish here much anymore. I don’t want to go out there much these days. I don’t want to see it dying, drying up. I really just can’t take it anymore. Instead, I get in the truck and drive hours and hours north to fast, wild, laughing water, water that is vibrant and full of life…like mine, like ours used to be.

It’s not just the basin, either. When I think about what all of this area was like just 30 years ago…well, you’ve heard me moan about it enough. You know. West St. Mary is but a shadow of its former self. A thin reflection in a broken mirror. Again, solastalgia: Home has left me.

Also very soon, I’ll be debuting four novels: Two are science-fiction entitled Firekill and The Thunderchild Fables and two fantasy (i.e., Lord of the Rings-style to those unfamiliar with the genre) entitled For There Is Still The Sky and The Dark Lands.

These were written between 1988 and 1992 with co-author Kenneth Brown, who was the minister at Calvary Bible Church in Centerville for some time. They have languished on a computer hard drive for all those years, and we have finally resurrected them and are putting them to press. The last two mentioned above are books one and two of a series that will end somewhere down the line. Who knows when or where? We certainly don’t.

Kenneth and I are hard at work on the third book in that series, entitled Fortresses, right now via email since he now lives in Texas.

All right, shameless plug over. Thanks for not dozing off, anyway!

2 comments to Expansions

  • That’s pretty good stuff, Scoop!
    You’re gonna end up being more famous than me! Then, that might be good, ’cause I need a break!
    Bon chance with the books – hope you make enough to retire early, buy a 22-foot bayboat, and let me show you how to catch cobia on fly.
    Pass a good week.
    Pete

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