In this episode, Cody has a conversation with Alaskan author Don Rearden. Don attributes being an author to his experiences and upbringing in rural Alaska. When he was a kid, he and his family moved to a number of small communities in Southwest Alaska. There, he dealt with the loss of friends to suicide, drug and alcohol abuse and going missing. As a youth and as an adult, he made sense of this real-life horror and tragedy by turning to creativity. He says that that has allowed him to explore and embrace the darkness—both figuratively and literally.
In addition to his fiction work, Don has also co-authored two non-fiction books—Never Quit with Jimmy Settle and Warrior’s Creed with Roger Sparks. Both Jimmy and Roger are former pararescuemen—or PJs—with stories of perseverance, wisdom and heroism. Both books detail the path that led Jimmy and Roger to become PJs and the extraordinary experiences that made them who they are today. Don says that when people have experienced that kind of high-level, intense trauma, we have to listen and learn from it.