Independence for the Rest of Us (with Guests Heather Lende, Rep. Attica Scott & Rep. Leslie Herod)
On The Issues With Michele Goodwin
What does independence mean for the rest of us? Women have long asked this question—as have groups that have felt or experienced being shut out, excluded, colonized or enslaved. On July 5, 1852—a time in which the U.S. reaped benefit from the enslavement of kidnapped and trafficked Black people from the shores of Africa—Frederick Douglass put it this way: “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” That was long ago, before the Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War and ratification of the 13th Amendment. However, the question—what does it mean to be free, equal and a citizen?—remains a vital point of discussion not only in the United States, but around the world. We dive into freedom, the 4th of July, and what it means to be represented in this episode. What does liberty mean to and for you, your family, your communities? To answer that, we are talking to folks making a difference at the local level: Colorado state Rep. Leslie Herod was elected in 2016 as the first LGBTQ African American in the General Assembly, after receiving the highest number of votes of any candidate running in a contested election. She serves as the chair of the House Finance Committee, vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and chair of the Committee on Legal Services. Herod also chairs the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus and the Arts Caucus. Since her election in 2016, Herod has sent 68 bills to the governor’s desk, marshaling through numerous pieces of legislation addressing criminal justice reform, mental health and substance abuse, renewable energy, youth homelessness, and civil rights protections. Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott serves in the Kentucky legislature, representing House District 41. In 2016, Scott defeated a 34-year incumbent to become the first Black woman in nearly 20 years to serve in the state legislature. She serves on critical committees, including Education; Local Government; Elections; Constitutional Amendments; and others. Before becoming a state rep, she served as an English immersion teacher in China, as well as an adjunct faculty member at both Bellarmine University and Jefferson Community and Technical College.Heather Lende, a former elected local official and member of the Haines, Alaska Borough Assembly, was one of the thousands of women inspired to take a more active role in politics during the Trump presidency. Lende is also New York Times bestselling author; a contributor to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines; and a former contributing editor at Woman’s Day. A columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News, she is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines and the recipient of the Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award from the Alaska Press Club. Recently, Lende was named the Alaska State Writer Laureate for 2021-2023. Her most recent book, Of Bears and Ballots, was released in paperback in May 2021. Rate and review “On the Issues with Michele Goodwin" to let us know what you think of the show! Let’s show the power of independent feminist media.Check out this episode’s landing page at MsMagazine.com for a full transcript, links to articles referenced in this episode, further reading and ways to take action.Tips, suggestions, pitches? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Support the show (http://msmagazine.com)
N4L 039: Repost - “Find the Good” by Heather Lende
SUMMARY For more than 20 years, Heather Lende has written obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News in the tiny town of Haines, Alaska. Now, the New York Times bestselling author weaves her own life lessons together with recollections of the deceased. And we get Find the Good: Unexpected Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer, a gentle, insightful memoir mixed with humor and sensitivity. More than a storyteller, Lende is a “story catcher” who knows the challenge of describing life with words that both honor the dead and bless the living. But she manages well. "Find the Good" reminds us all to live more gratefully by seeing life through the lens of optimism. 00:25 Intro to author Heather Lende from Haines, Alaska 01:25 Obituary writers describe a life in 500-600 words 01:30 Lende’s mantra: “Find the good.” 02:00 Writing our own obituaries, every day 02:25 Unpacking the title, “Find the Good” 03:45 Countering sadness 04:15 Lende’s career begins in 1996 05:45 Characteristics and qualifications of a good obituary writer 07:45 Be a “story catcher” 08:45 Who approves obituaries? 11:00 Lende’s own brush with death changes everything 12:20 Recovery breeds empathy and gratitude 12:45 Wounds, seen and unseen 14:00 Deaths hit close to home 15:00 “I’m just the chronicler of these tragedies,” trying to give families hope 15:40 Using her art to make a difference and move hearts 16:30 Lende faces her own grief with unwed daughter’s pregnancy 17:00 “Draw lines in the sand so you can move them.” 17:45 Wisdom from an elderly Southern lady 19:00 Sometimes the “Big Worry” isn’t a worry at all 19:40 “Practice staggered breathing” 20:25 Life lessons from choir metaphors 22:00 “Writing obituaries is my way of transcending the bad news.” 22:25 The story of Richard Boyce, a fisherman lost at sea 24:45 The power of a father’s love 25:20 Story of Russ, the town cemetery gardener 26:00 A long-lost son returns, dies, and gives his home to hospice 27:00 The power of simple greeting cards and the family Bible 28:32 The story of Rene—writing a pre-death obituary for a breast-cancer victim 29:02 What would you do with your remaining days? 30:42 Quantity vs. quality of life 30:59 Everyday blessings 31:20 Life’s two greatest regrets 31:45 Longing for small-town living 32:10 The downsides of small-town living 34:05 Navigating “spiritual boot camp” 35:00 Nurturing the skill of “finding the good” 35:20 Hearts turn to stone, but stones also turn to hearts 36:15 The story of Vic—proof people can change 37:15 How to get a good obituary 37:45 Who will write Lende’s obituary? 38:30 The immediate value of an obituary 39:10 What Lende hopes her readers feel 39:40 How to create small towns anywhere QUOTES FROM LENDE "If indeed all the wisdom I had in my heart was to be summed up in final words and it was difficult to speak more than, say, three, what would I rasp before my soul flew up the chimney? Find the good. I surprised myself with this pretty great notion. Find the good. That’s enough. That’s plenty. I could leave my family with that." "Awful events are followed by dozens and dozens of good deeds. It’s not that misery loves company, exactly; rather, it’s that suffering, in all its forms, and our response to it, binds us together across dinner tables, neighborhoods, towns and cities, and even time. Bad doings bring out the best in people." "I have a friend who says we spend the first half of our life building it and the second half preventing it from falling apart. I’d rather be under construction when I die." “We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there’s still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press.” "The invisible part of a mother’s heart is the strongest and most flexible because it enlarges with each child and grandchild. Rather than divide the heart’s chambers into smaller rooms as the family grows, love multiplies them." "No matter how many obituaries I write, I will never get used to talking to someone one day and learning that they’ve left town, and the entire planet, the next. It may not shock me the way it does others, but that doesn’t make it any easier. There is no good in missing someone so badly you can’t even hum." BUY Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer Other Books by Heather Lende BUY If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska BUY Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: A True Story of Bad Breaks and Small Miracles RECOMMENDATIONS Listen to Nonfiction4Life podcast episode 102, Farewell: Vital End-of-Life Questions with Candid Answers from a Leading Palliative and Hospice Physician by Dr. Edward T. Creagan with Sandra Wendel. Check out Nonfiction4Life podcast episode 172, The Parlay Effect: How Female Connection Can Change the World by Anne Devereux-Mills. Connect with us! Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Website Special thanks… Music Credit Sound Editing Credit
Episode 18 | Alaska Reads 2020 Finding The Good with Heather Lende
Homegrown conversations for curious minds.
A conversation recorded live on KFSK Public Radio Thursday, November 5th, 2020 with Alaska Reads 2020 author Heather Lende about her book Finding the Good: Unexpected life lessons from a small-town obituary writer. This conversation was sponsored by Alaska Center for the Book, Algonquin Books, The Usibelli Foundation, and Alaska State Libraries Archives & Museum.
The Chris Voss Show Podcast – Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics By Heather Lende
The Chris Voss Show
Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics Heather LendeHeatherlende.comThe writer whom the Los Angeles Times calls “part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott” now brings us her quirky and compassionate account of holding local office. Heather Lende was one of the thousands of women inspired to take a more active role in politics during the past few years. Though her entire campaign for assembly member in Haines, Alaska, cost less than $1,000, she won! But tiny, breathtakingly beautiful Haines—a place accessible from the nearest city, Juneau, only by boat or plane—isn’t the sleepy town that it appears to be: from a bitter debate about the expansion of the fishing boat harbor to the matter of how to stop bears from rifling through garbage on Main Street to the recall campaign that targeted three assembly members, including Lende, we witness the nitty-gritty of passing legislation, the lofty ideals of our republic, and how the polarizing national politics of our era play out in one small town.With an entertaining cast of offbeat but relatable characters, Of Bears and Ballots is an inspirational tale about what living in a community really means, and what we owe one another. The writer whom the Los Angeles Times calls “part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott” now brings us her quirky and compassionate account of holding local office. Heather Lende was one of the thousands of women inspired to take a more active role in politics during the past few years. Though her entire campaign for assembly member in Haines, Alaska, cost less than $1,000, she won! But tiny, breathtakingly beautiful Haines—a place accessible from the nearest city, Juneau, only by boat or plane—isn’t the sleepy town that it appears to be: from a bitter debate about the expansion of the fishing boat harbor to the matter of how to stop bears from rifling through garbage on Main Street to the recall campaign that targeted three assembly members, including Lende, we witness the nitty-gritty of passing legislation, the lofty ideals of our republic, and how the polarizing national politics of our era play out in one small town.With an entertaining cast of offbeat but relatable characters, Of Bears and Ballots is an inspirational tale about what living in a community really means, and what we owe one another.
Author Heather Lende discusses the Local and Community in Small Town Alaska Politics
Alaska Authors and Themes
Author Heather Lende is a dedicated member of the Haines community and serves on the Haines Borough Assembly. Since 1996, she regularly posts obituaries and a social column for the Chilkat Valley News. Her nationally acclaimed books: If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name (2006), Take Good Care of the Garden and Dogs (2011), and Find The Good Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-town Obituary Writer (2015) mirror her outlook on life.She is a graduate from Middlebury College and she earned a MFA degree from UAA. At the event she reads Learnuing Moments.
Author Heather Lende presents her book Find the Good
Alaska Authors and Themes
Author Heather Lende is from Haines, AlasKa. She is author of If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, and the book Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs. Her newest book is called Find the Good which is discussed here. “In this cynical world, Find the Good is a tonic, a literary wellspring, which will continue to run, and nurture, even in times of drought. What a brave and beautiful thing Heather Lende has made with this book.” —John Straley, Shamus Award winner.Heather Lende has contributed essays and commentary to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines, and is a former contributing editor at Woman’s Day. A columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News, she writes obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News. This event is held during UAA Development Day
What happens when we pray? Why do some prayers get answered and others seemingly go unnoticed? Recounting her near fatal accident when her bike was overtaken by a semi, NPR commentator and author Heather Lende discusses our human attempts to understand the spiritual nature of happenstance. (A thought provoking conversation that serves to remind you that we don't have all the answers either. But we sure do ponder the questions.)