Thursday, December 04, 2008

"The Late, Great Ed Park"

Last Tuesday, I posted a "Not Me"—a link to an article by Ed Park about hunting as a "green" activity—and, later, a "Totally Not Me," which listed the table of contents from a 1965 copy of True, The Man's Magazine." (EP had written a piece called "Shoot Swans? Why Not!"—perhaps satire?!)

I didn't know it, but this Ed Park—judoist, Korean War vet, outdoors writer—passed away last Tuesday. From his very interesting obituary:

Raised in Portland, Park was just out of high school and working as a fire lookout on Black Butte in 1948 when he wrote his first outdoor story.

The account of a bobcat attacking Park’s dog was rejected by Outdoor Life magazine, but Park persisted, writing and publishing thousands of articles for nearly 100 publications.

It's an odd feeling for me, reading this obit—every line is strange, or sad, or strangely sad:

“Ed was fascinated with nature; he was interested in every little thing,” Lewis said.

“I was astounded I’d be getting a call from Ed Park,” Monroe said. “I cut my teeth on Ed Park when I was in Vietnam. That’s what we’d do, read the big outdoors magazines, Field & Stream, Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, and Ed was writing for all of them,” he said.

Here's another tribute, more personal, from The Source Weekly. (And here's an old interview with Ed Park (I think I already posted this.)

This article confirms what I only recently suspected—that this Ed Park had written The World of the Otter, a book I bought earlier this year:

(There's an article about otters in literature that I am—seriously—contemplating writing.)

Also: I am now pretty sure that he is the author, with Lue Park, of 1992's The Smoked Foods Cookbook, copies of which were prominently displayed next to Personal Days at my Brooklyn B&N reading.

* * *

After suffering a stroke in 1991, Ed wrote his articles with one finger.

* * *

For a while, I believed that there were at least three authorial Ed Parks—the article writer, the cookbook writer, and the man behind The World of the Otter (and The World of the Bison). I liked having this unlikely fraternity...It is weird to say this, but I will miss him.

—Ed Park

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