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Nature Essays

I Never Met a Rattlesnake I Didn't Like

A Memoir

by (author) David Carpenter

Publisher
Thistledown Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2022
Category
Essays, Personal Memoirs
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781771872270
    Publish Date
    Aug 2022
    List Price
    $24.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781771872324
    Publish Date
    Aug 2022
    List Price
    $10.99

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Description

David Carpenter’s collection of essays explores a city boy’s love of the wild, a passion that has enriched his life from boyhood. At 80, this irrepressible Saskatchewan raconteur examines his intense fascination with predators large and small, and his awe in the face of the variety of creatures that may be out to get us—or who are out to get one another. How does this combination of fear and wonder affect our relationship with the natural world? And why has Carpenter personally been both drawn to, and repelled by, so many wild animals, including alligators, wolves, cougars, spiders, black bears, grizzlies, weasels, and of course, snakes—particularly deadly rattlesnakes? The stories that fuel the essays in this entertaining memoir are as diverse as the animals—and insects!—at the heart of Carpenter’s inquiry. As a young man, Carpenter is working in Jasper National Park, and he’s lugging his banjo—hustling on his way to a paid gig—when he takes a short cut through the woods, makes a wrong turn and ends up at the dump. He looks across at some large animals. Horses? No, five, count ‘em, five grizzlies. Luckily a ranger on an actual horse leads him out of danger. He’s fishing for brook trout in the mountains with a friend, cooling their catch in a convenient snow bank. But the fish keep disappearing. He finds them cached under a nearby rock, and when he tries to pull one out, he’s in a tug-of-war with some hidden creature, small but fierce—is it a mink? Encounters like these drive the author into philosophical conjecture, into reading everything he can get his hands on about these and other creatures as he contemplates our place in the wild, and the value of the wild in our lives. These essays are essential reading for those of us who share David Carpenter’s fascination with the predators that so fundamentally shape our understanding of wilderness and the necessity to preserve it.

About the author

David Carpenter spent his first twenty-three years in Edmonton, working during the summers as a car hop, a driver for Brewster Rocky Mountain Grayline, a fish stocker, a trail guide, and a folksinger. He read French and German at the University of Alberta to indifferent effect. He graduated and taught high school in Edmonton until 1965, then migrated south to do an M.A. in English at the University of Oregon. He returned to Canada in 1967 and once again taught school until the summer of 1969, when he enrolled for his Ph. D. at the University of Alberta.

Between 1985 and 1988 Carpenter published a series of novellas and long stories -- Jokes for the Apocalypse, Jewels and God's Bedfellows. Jokes for the Apocalypse was runner up for the Gerald Lampert Award, and his novella The Ketzer won first prize in the Descant Novella Contest.

In 1997 Carpenter turned to writing full-time. A first novel, Banjo Lessons was published in 1997 and won the City of Edmonton Book Prize. During the early nineties he also finished the last of his personal and literary essays which make up Writing Home, his first collection of nonfiction. The essays explore his engagements with such writers as Richard Ford, the French writer/scientist Georges Bugnet, and the late Raymond Carver. Several of these pieces won prizes for literary journalism and for humour in the Western Magazine Awards. One of these essays was featured on CBC Radio's `Ideas`. He brought out a second book of essays about life around home, a month-by-month salute to the seasons entitled Courting Saskatchewan. It won the Saskatchewan Book Award for nonfiction.

Throughout the years he has always been a passionate outdoorsman and environmentalist. This abiding love of lakes, trails, streams and campsites translates into city life in Saskatoon as well, where he lives with his wife, artist Honor Kever, and their son Will.

David Carpenter's profile page

Other titles by David Carpenter