Timeless

John Adams, and his wife, Martha were kind enough to read the original Moon and Sunn manuscript when it was still in pretty bad shape. I think Martha did most of the reading! After deletions of numerous stories and the arduous process of rewriting others, I began the process of asking for endorsements. I love the following endorsement because it indicates John realizes something about Moon that’s hard to understand or describe unless you know him. Unfortunately, John’s endorsement didn’t make the book because the editors said it was about Moon and not about the book. I argued with them, “The book is about Moon so how can you say this endorsement isn’t about the book?” I lost the argument but John’s endorsement compelled me to consider more carefully his observation.


“Moon” Sunn is one of the most amazing and timeless men I have ever known! I learned so many lessons from him about fishing, life, and circumstances. Moon could turn a single word or sentence into a life lesson. I remember describing to Moon what a celebration we had in Ackerman on July 4, 1976 during the bicentennial while he was in Alaska. I told him about placing an aerial photo of Ackerman in a time tube that would be dug up a 100 years in the future. I asked Moon if he regretted not being there and placing a bit of his own history in the tube, he replied, “Not at all! I plan to be there when they dig it up.” If anybody alive today will be, it will be Moon Sunn. –John Adams


I knew John was on to something that I too had recognized during the writing process. I briefly mention it in the book on page 336. “The whole incident awakened me to the coming inevitable reality that somehow I had never considered, except in a general sort of way. Moon seemed to me invincible.” I go on attempting to describe my perception of Moon’s haunting timelessness as I retraced my steps beside Alaskan waters during a Sabbatical. Here are a few examples: “Scanning the clouds and pale blue bay below, I visualized Moon out in the cold water, helping to clean the shores from an eleven-million-gallon oil spill.” “As we cast away, in the thin line between the gray ocean and sky, my mind’s eye could see Moon there in the distance doing the same.” “Continuing to stare at the river below, partly to avoid looking ahead, I thought about the timeless salmon. I thought about Moon.”


So what is it about Moon that makes him seem so timeless? Two things come to mind, fishing and stories. Where I grew up most folks dreamed of being able to fish all day every day. For the devoted angler, a dream of freedom not experienced since the Garden of Eden. However, the dream wasn’t too far-fetched because they all knew one person who did fish all day everyday-Moon. And therefore in everyone’s imagination Moon seems as timeless as fish and fishing and maybe even water.


The second thing is the stories. As I mention in the book, “Moon’s stories have been told, retold, and embellished. Each time, the fish grew a little bit or a lot, and Moon’s harrowing adventures increased in magnitude.” My wife, Jean, recently alerted me to an NPR interview of the author’s of How to Tell a Story: The Essential Guide to Memorable Storytelling. One of the authors quoted Banksy, “They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time.”




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When I first penned Moon and Sunn I included a truck load of chapter endnotes. I felt I needed to verify just about every historical detail of the entire book! After endless research editor Bobby Ha