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Book Talk

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Filmmaker, ski tuner, Web designer and librarian: Scott Levy’s name packs a lot of talent, knowledge, and skill. Those who know him well would add: good friend, extraordinary skier and whitewater boater, brilliant, passionate about his work. Currently, that work is showing his film RedFish BlueFish, a documentary on the plight of Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead, to as many people as possible.

Born and raised in the countryside around Merced, California, Levy associates the best times of his youth with the outdoors: skiing at Badger Pass in Yosemite, riding a bike to school, backpacking in the high Sierras. Levy says that living in the city through college (UC Berkeley) and afterwards in the Bay Area and Chicago was good for his social skills, but the outback called. After numerous visits with his brother, who had been in Ketchum since the late 1970s, Scott moved here permanently in 1989.

Levy’s favorite book as a young person was Harold and The Purple Crayon, but he credits the school librarian with teaching him a reverence for books, i.e. no eating while reading, no folding down pages. It struck him then that books were special receptacles of knowledge and communicators of ideas through the ages. Studying in college amidst immense library stacks, Levy knew that he could strive all of his life and absorb only a tiny portion of the enormous amount of available information. That, however, served only to increase his thirst.

Reading Levy’s most recent readings were mainly related to his film, RedFish BlueFish. He has read nearly all of René Descartes and continues to study geometry, knots, strings, donuts, and fractals. Earlier standouts include the writings of Herman Hesse, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Plato/Socrates, Jean Paul Sartre, Carlos Castaneda, David Bohm, and Fritjof Capra. He also recommends Orwell’s 1984.

Favorite Book “If you want to try your mind in the nonfiction world, you have to try Godel, Escher and Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. It took me a year and a half to read it the first time, but it’s magnificent. Loops are the book’s theme, exemplified by M.C. Escher’s drawing of a visitor to an art gallery viewing a painting of the art gallery that he himself is in. Bach’s music is similarly self-referential, and this leads the reader to an understanding of the brilliant and important work of mathematician Kurt Godel. This is the first book from Douglas Hofstadter, a cognitive science and computer science professor at Indiana University, and it won a Pulitzer Prize—quite inspiring, really.”

What comes next for this “good friend, filmmaker and ski tuner”? “I don’t know how long I will stay here, but I am very happy to have met and gotten to know so many wonderful people. Times are changing, though, and so am I. And who knows where time leads?”

 

Clarence Stilwill, who can’t hold a job anywhere, is currently disguising himself as a writer and farmer in Fairfield, Idaho.

 

 

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