My guest for this episode of Life Stories, a series of podcast interviews with memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, is Steven Rinella, and we’re talking about Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter. Steve’s books draw upon personal experience, but he’s not just setting out to tell his own story:
“You mentioned talking to memoirists, and… I never, ever think of that word. Everything I do turns out to be personal or have memoir elements, but I sit down and think, ‘I’m going to write a book about buffalo,’ or ‘I’m going to write a book about the history of human hunting,’ and in the end it just… I creep in. I don’t have a lot of self-restraint, so I always find my way into things. Honest, starting this book? I wanted to write a treatise on the meaning and history of hunting, and then once I got into it I realized the best way to do this would be to talk about myself… It just comes out.”
The result is a highly personal book in which Steve continues to reflect on his relationship to nature and the food he and his family consume (he’s strictly a sustenance hunter; everything he kills, he eats or prepares for others). During our conversation, we touched upon—among several other topics—the development of Steve’s hunting ethics when he was growing up in Michigan, what his brothers (with whom he’s spent his entire life hunting) think of his work as a writer and television presenter, and his thoughts on when he’ll introduce his own son to hunting. Oh, and what he’d ask Ted Nugent if he ever gets the chance to talk to him…
Listen to Life Stories #13: Steven Rinella (MP3 file); or download the file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click).