When Nick Offerman made a trip to Glacier National Park in 2019, the actor set off with a fancy daypack and a handful of trail mixes. Offerman was accompanied by Wilco singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy, Booker Prize-winning author George Saunders and an adventure guide to lead them there — and back to their beds after enjoying the park.
“I’m an actor who lives in Los Angeles. And yes, I have a woodworking shop. Yes, I can use tools, and yes, I love the outdoors, but I find myself in a living situation.” I don’t even camp. I don’t even camp in tents,” Offerman says. “Bear Grylls is charming, but I never expected or needed his knowledge.”
The visit became the opening section of Offerman’s latest book, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside”, which is now out of Dutton. Offerman also spends time on the working farm of “Pastoral Song” writer James Rebanks in England and a pandemic-era cross-country RV trip with his wife Megan Mullally and Doug Clover in a tricked-out Airstream called “The Nutmeg of Consolation” Takes. A ship in Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander series.
So about that first adventure, which included hiking, climbing, and whitewater rafting, was he worried about losing or getting hurt two American icons in the Montana wilderness?
“I cannot take credit; That was Jeff’s idea. I’ve been talking about this book for years. I had this loose idea for this book and so Jeff said, ‘What if I, you and George’ – we already had a three-way bromance going on – ‘Walk somewhere beautiful and you’ll go to your book. Can you record the conversation?'” recalls Offerman. “It’s like you’re Pete Best and John [Lennon] and paul [McCartney] Are like, ‘Hey, what if we just noodle along to some tunes and you can be listed on the keyboard?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, that sounds cool. Jeff.'”
Saunders, author of “Lincoln in the Bardo”, several short story collections and “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain” echoed the good vibes. “They are both deeply generous and funny and enlightening companions – so grateful to have good hearts and to be able to live and make art. Whenever I am with them, I learn things about creativity and openness and gratitude,” The author said in an email, as well as providing a question to ask Offerman below.
Although best known for playing gruesome mustache icon Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation,” Offerman has cultivated an extensive career in the years to come. He starred in the Hulu sci-fi limited series “Dev”, voiced the family patriarch on the animated Fox series “The Great North” and co-hosted NBC’s “Making It” with former “Parks and Rec” costar Amy Poehler. did. He appeared in films, recited audiobooks, maintained a working woodworking shop, and wrote best sellers. She is also a reader and during our conversation named several writers including Wendell Berry, Aldo Leopold, Madeleine L’Engle, Neil Gaiman and others.
Offerman discusses his latest book, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play,” his journey and more. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Q. George Saunders said that he went on the trip hoping to deepen a wonderful friendship and other good things. He said there is a detail that you have taken out of the book and I must ask you about it.
A damn. oh well The good news is that they allow me to revise for the paperback.
Jeff and I are modern people with little disposable income. And so when we show up at the trailhead, we’re like, “Oh, cool engineer jacket!” “Check out my CamelBak water reservoir system!” “Red!” We both clearly did some internet work and enjoyed the fruits of modern capitalism, while George posed straight to an Allman Brothers Record cover with a jacket and a flannel shirt and boots, which you can tell he’s been in for a long time. was on time.
Basically, I make food through being complimentary — the practicality of George’s gear. The economy of their accessorization is a short story in itself.
So I was overjoyed to watch and write it and later on while traveling one of his shoes got hurt. George had to fix it and spent like the last two or three days of hiking with just a duct-tape boot on—just a final triumphant testament to what I was making. But somehow he escaped from my notes. And so when George read the proof, he was like, “Love it. Love it all. Where are my duct-taped shoes?” I was like, holy [crap]That’s why I am an actor, not a journalist. Color me sad
Q. Before reading your new book and learning that you know each other, I was reading “Pastoral Song” by English farmer, shepherd and author James Rebanks, and he thanks you. To be honest, I didn’t expect Nick Offerman to come across an eco-minded farmer’s nonfiction book.
A. Really, I just got emotional. We share our writing with each other and collaborate and ask for notes and stuff. So I was unaware; I haven’t seen a complete copy, and I was emotionally shaken to hear that I was in acknowledgment. This had never happened to me and it is very thrilling.
I love reading about people who are paying attention, like James Rebanks. That’s why I was so thrilled to befriend him because he’s this forward-thinking shepherd, closely examining the triumphs and errors of past generations, which is something we should always do with everything.
Q. You spent part of the pandemic on your Airstream, named after a ship from the Patrick O’Brien novel, across the country. What stuck with you about that experience, and what did your wife, Megan Mullally, think of that experience?
A. First of all, it was his idea. I was writing my book when Megan was learning about RV parks and planning a route and ordering stuff, because she’s a talented interior decorator. She was making the cutest, most outstanding Airstream while I was writing and then I had to shoot a season of my show “Making It,” the crafting competition show I do with Amy Poehler. I kept saying, “Honey, I’m so sorry I’m not available to do this with you.”
It was deep. It’s good to sleep where you can wake up in the morning, put on your shoes, get out of your camper and you’re up a mountain and you can start walking. That’s great. I camped as a kid, so I made my share of pancakes over the morning campfire, but came out cold and came across a full little kitchen setup where Megan made gourmet pizza or some amazing pasta dish? I’m not a good enough writer to describe how satisfying that experience was.
But still a Ford campaign and the claustrophobia of living in an eight-by-30-foot rolling studio apartment, sustaining the marriage through her few months. Like any relationship, it wasn’t all pizzazz and sausage oozes out, but we have a beautiful marriage and we feel so lucky because we have a lot more sunshine than storms in our house, and we both have something to be thankful for. to know enough. Nothing will grow in the garden without seasons.
So I mean, it was just incredible. And to be honest, we can’t wait to do it again.
> The cliché is that when an actor has an iconic role like Ron Swanson, you can be typecast for a lifetime. But it sounds like you have a lot of different things going on – TV shows, books, tours, etc – that have come before.
Without flattering himself in any way — just being the author of the show and Ron Swanson — being the vessel for that material is a lottery ticket. I was glad that a mug was ready to hold the beer I drank from them. But it’s the beer that people are freaking about.
So it’s an incredible privilege. I have been given this platform, people will come to meet me. And I can make them laugh relatively successfully. But I’m not. I’m not a great thinker. I am not the creator of “Parks and Rec”. I am not George Saunders. I’m not Jeff Tweedy. Like, I want you to plan Central Park, and then I’ll show up with my shovel and a bunch of other guys and we’ll make it beautiful together.
And so keeping that in mind, this is what fueled my tour as a comedian. and my books. I love books. I love communicating ideas and getting ideas through the written word.
And given the opportunity to participate in that, I’m like, hell yeah.