Carson Gardner


Carson Gardner, a genuine Minnesota-native codger, is a board-certified small-town family doctor and a founding member of the Park Rapids Jackpine Writers’ Bloc. He left the practice of corporate medicine in 1999. Since then he and his wife, Gail, have been living and learning on Gaa-waabaabiganikaag—Land of Abundant White Clay—the White Earth Ojibwe/Anishinaabe Reservation. He has actually had a few poems published—even fewer prose works—and wrote lyrics for an album entitled The Heron Smiled; which helped its singer win a 2001 Native American Music Award. Gardner is bear-clan, a cedar flute player, a traditionally-observant pipestone carver, a joyful dog rescuer, a perennial student of Ojibwe language, culture and spirituality, a hard sci-fi and straight- ahead jazz fan, a compulsive storyteller and an ingenuous dreamer who frustrates sophisticated cynics right and left. He even has a day job—medical director of the White Earth Nation Tribal Health Department and Reservation Ambulance Service.

Smashwords Interview

How do you approach cover design?
I am not a visual artist--I do word pictures. But I joyfully push the limits of simple visual-art software, like Paint, just to see what comes from my creative yearnings onto the screen without too much adulteration from my obsessively-analytic intellect! My Pictures folder is choked mostly with weird, strange, lame stuff...and an occasional pseudo-brilliant serendipity. Sometimes I capitalize on one of those lucky breaks crystalized by untold hours of intensely sincere doodling. Other times, as with the cover of Roadaor, I realized I was under the deadline gun, I wasn't going to be hiring a graphic artist this time around, my visual art skills are much more conceptual than manual, I needed to avoid all my kindergartenoid hand-eye clumsiness and produce a multi-layered, metaphoric symbol rather than a landscape, portrait or historical icon. Heck, I can barely do stick figures! But I work pretty well under immensely imminent deadline pressure! I was also ticked off about my most recent rejection letter--that helped, too. I looked at the paint-program dashboard and mumbled, "Yeah, I can klutzify that." The rest is...mystery!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My mother read me a book called An Otter's Story, by Emil E. Liers. I think I still have it on a shelf somewhere! It opened my mind to the fact that creatures other than humans also have goals, challenges, joys, sorrows, families, enemies, lucky breaks, tragedies and courageous recoveries.
Read more of this interview.


Braided: Anishinaabe Heart Truth Meets Western Science
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 47,020. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2018. Categories: Essay » Sociology, Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Philosophy of Science
To “braid” means to interweave separate, independent strands to make a new whole. The author's own personal heart truth essays that follow are an attempt to interweave traditional spiritual observations and Western scientific teachings, with a third strand--call it "dark synergy," in honor of Western science's dark matter and dark energy--that includes a bit of teasing humor and challenge, too.
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 13,770. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
The author, a published poet-philosopher and award-winning lyricist, recently formally achieved his daunting geriatric goal of actually completing one hundred one (101) original Shakespearean sonnets--an achievement similar to jumping from a second-story window 101 times, without a net. May you choose an easier, more accessible, less-bruising obsession than this. But, hey, take the jump--soar!
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 5,990. Language: American English. Published: May 2, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature, Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Gardner's spirited poetry offers simple, clear street-level personal solace and challenge found in responding to timeless, often tantalizingly obscure words of the Dao de Jing. His work is a gift, a tool for survival and a "blue note" of truth. Improvise!

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