Photo: Jake Sherman.

Paul Saso releases Kootenay Inspired at Touchstones Nelson

Eight years in the making, Saso’s book looks at the people who inspire him in our community

Paul Saso says magic brought him to Nelson, and he may very well have a book written about his own life one day.

But rather than tell his own story, for the last eight years the local environmental consultant and massage therapist has been recording and telling the life stories of the people in our community who inspire him.

“Basically I just went around asking people: who inspires you?,” said Saso, speaking to about 75 people at Touchstones Nelson on Thursday during the launch of his book, Kootenay Inspired.

“And I came up with a huge list, because there really are so many amazing people here. So I went through and asked people whether they would be interesting in chatting. I was surprised and delighted that most of them were interested in my project.”

The book features the life stories and portraits of the late Mary Woodward, Ricardo Hubbs, Karuna Erickson, John Cooper, Tanya Wilson, Lucas Meyers, Marilyn James, Jon Meyer, Luanne Armstrong, Brian Cross, J.J. Verigin, and Mary Ann Morris.

Saso says he came up with the idea for the book because he regularly hitchhiked up to Whitewater and would meet these incredible people along the way who were open and willing to share with him.

But hitching was nothing new to the man who had recently made Nelson his home, about a decade ago.

Saso’s been hitchhiking since he was 18-years-old. He’s hitched across India, the world and Canada.

And he says he’s learned more doing it than he ever did in university.

He was in Yellowknife when someone finally put his education into perspective for him.

“In school I took geography, writing and psychology,” said Saso.

“It never made much sense to me until at one point this guy in Yellowknife 15 years ago said, ‘that’s so you can write about crazy people and places.’ It was always in my head, and then it just happened.”

A number of years later, after spending time exploring India, he came back to Canada with a vague notion that he would like to settle in the Kootenays.

It was the first time the Ontario native had been back in B.C. in years and he was in Vancouver when a job in his field — environmental science — opened up in Nelson. Five days later he was here.

About a year later he came across a book called Hope and Shadows that combined images and short biographies and it occurred to him that that was a medium that he’d be able to explore the inspiring people in our community through.

He contacted photographers Louis Bockner and Kari Medig to help capture some portraits of the people who had ended up on his list of inspiring people, and the project was born.

Now eight years after contacting Bockner and Medig, and about a decade after the initial inception of the project, Saso has released his book capturing the diverse perspectives of the people who make this mountain community so special.

He writes that it was easy because of how eclectic the community is, and the fact that no one here is ambivalent about what they do.

“I really wanted to keep a good variety, because I think that is one of the things that is important about the Kootenays and interests me,” said Saso.

“There are a really diverse set of people and perspectives. And I think the work is representative of the Kootenays and a neat way to show people what life here is about through learning about our stories.”

And those diverse perspectives have been captured skillfully by photographers Louis Bockner and Kari Medig.

Saso said Bockner has a really great way of connecting with people in a short amount of time and that the portraits are reflective of that.

Bockner said that the experience was nothing short of amazing and he’s become good friends with some of his subjects, who he had not known before.

“Paul’s incredible. This has been eight years in the making and he did it all by himself. So to finish something like this is pretty amazing. Lots of people start these kind of projects, not everyone finishes them.”

Kootenay Inspired can be purchased for $25 from Saso, at Otter books, the Enlightened Coconut, and Leaf Cross Health Society.

50 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to Wildsight’s environmental education program for kids and Tipi Camp’s Wilderness Immersion for Self-Esteem program.

 

Saso reads from his book at Nelson Touchstones. Photo: Jake Sherman.

A portrait of local nurse and professor Mary-Ann Morris featured in Saso’s book. Photo: Louis Bockner.

Just Posted

Kootenay Lake’s first marine waste pump-out opens

Sewage facility is located at the Prestige marina

1919: Nelson doctor drowns in Kootenay Lake saving child

And other news from a century ago in the Nelson Daily News

Lily Taylor, Levi Taylor win medals at Ogopogo Open

The local weightlifters were among seven Nelson athletes competing at the event

CHECK THIS OUT: Read B.C.! A roundup of books about our fair province

The Nelson Library’s Anne DeGrace gives us a B.C. Day book list

Nelson Leafs trade goalie Hunter Young to Rockies

Nelson will have an all-new duo between the pipes next season

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read