Friday, November 19, 2010

Some conversations.........

I think it's ironic how conversation topics come and go, then come again.

Last Friday night, I went to hear Seth Kantner and Nick Jans speak at an Evening at Egan about their adventures in Northwest Alaska. When the lecture started out, I was wondering if I would really enjoy it. The library was packed so I took a seat on the wide window ledge. It was a good vantage point from where I could see the speaker and his pictures. It wasn't the seating that at first got to me, but the environmentalism (I care about the environment, but I put people above wolves). I'm a determined person, however, so I kept listening. I'm glad I did. As Seth spoke about his life in the village, my thoughts began to go wild. The part that hit me the most was the subject of suicide in the village and how the younger generation doesn't get the way of the older one.

As I drove home, I couldn't get this subject of teen suicide out of my head. I was suicidal as a teen and sometimes still think about it as an option, but I have a good support system around me that keeps me afloat. But these kids don't have that most of the time. So what does this have to do with me? I want to change things. I believe that God has everything for a purpose and maybe this was one of those steps in a direction for me.

The night after the lecture I went to the Island Pub with some friends for a snack and a hot chocolate and Bailey's (delicious!). As we were sitting there in the pub listening to the bluegrass that was playing, who do you think walked through the door but Seth Kantner himself with a few of his friends. Not only did he walk through the door, but came and sat in the chair right behind mine. After a little while I leaned back and said, "Hey, thanks for the chat last night." He looked at me a little strange and said "I talked last night?" I was a bit confused until his confession came. He had been drinking previous to coming to the pub. It all made sense. We introduced ourselves and went on to have a wonderful conversation about writing, what it was like to live in the village, what being a counselor in the village would take, and how he can't learn music because he never grew up with it. We popped around to all different subjects, but it didn't matter. I was glad to be talking about what I loved most - psychology and writing.

Today I was sitting in my office and a coworker came in. As we started talking, he mentioned a particular TV show that Sarah Palin puts on about Alaska. He said that it bothered him that she only highlighted the good things about Alaska and not the problem areas like the high suicide rates or the drinking problems. But who wants to enter into this territory? Then we would actually have to be accountable to something. If we try to sweep it under the rug, then we can try to forget about it, right? Wrong!

So conversations come and go, and then they come again.


  1. Anna,
    How courageous of you to address the issues that you put forth in the last paragraph! Thank you for putting these serious and realistic aspects of life up here BEFORE the agenda of that paparazzi-seeking ass-hat.

    Personally, I'd like to see the Palin conversation GO and not come back.

  2. Interesting topic, relate-able and intense. Conflict and tension without anything really happening in the piece. Well done.