Brad Listi (BL): Okay. I figure we should get this show on the road. Shann Ray, thanks for joining us today and congratulations on your success with AMERICAN MASCULINE.

Shann Ray (SR): Thanks, Brad.

BL: How’s it been going so far?

SR: Whirlwind. Like one of those dust devils on the Montana plains, and I’m standing in the middle of it.

Hey, I’m interested in books, and maybe your book, and you need to know I like to know a little something more about the personal life of authors.

Why?

 

An obsession of fascination I guess.I’ve read some biographies that scalded me, and a few that took me into the abyss, and a few that gave me the wings of a phoenix.

Name them you fool.(Okay, that might have been harsh).Name them you fool for books.By the way, if you want a friendly lesson on trash-talking about your mom (or your dad for that matter) consult me directly.Here’s a mini lesson even if you didn’t ask for it:

Viktor Frankl conceived of three elements every person must face in life, and in fact must resolve in order to find life meaning.  Frankl’s tragic triad[i] is comprised of pain, guilt, and suffering.  I believe how we face these generational and humanity-wide inner crucibles with determination, individually and in community with others, builds our capacity to heal and be healed, and affirms our capacity to love and be loved.  In coming to a better understanding of our own existence, we must pass through the history of our mothers and fathers, and our choices in this regard are of paramount importance.

I grew up in Montana, a state where high school basketball was a thing as strong as family or work, and Jonathan Takes Enemy, a member of the Crow (Apsáalooke) Nation was the best basketball player in the state. He led Hardin High, a school with years of losing tradition, into the state spotlight, carrying the team and the community on his shoulders all the way to the state tournament where he averaged 41 points per game. He created legends that decades later are still spoken of in state basketball circles, and he did so with a fierceness that made me both fear and respect him. On the court, nothing was outside the realm of his skill: the jumpshot, the drive, the sweeping left-handed finger roll, the deep fade-away jumper. He could deliver what we all dreamed of, and with a venom that said don’t get in my way.