Writer and environmental activist Rick Bass discusses the environmental, scientific, and historical issues that inform his work in this On the Fly interview. The interview was recorded in March 2011 while Bass was a guest of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Bass took up writing short stories while working as a petroleum geologist. His 2002 collection, The Hermit’s Story, was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. In 2006, he was a Story Prize finalist for his collection The Lives of Rocks, and in 2008, he was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for his nonfiction book Why I Came West. His most recent novel is 2013’s All the Land That Holds Us. All told, Bass has written more than 30 books.
In the interview, Bass defines a writer as “someone who has made his or her peace with that 98 to two percent ratio of unsatisfying grunt labor to momentary gratification…knowing that even that two percent diminishes across time.”