A moving, beautifully written memoir of grief and love, understanding and forgiveness, and the curative power of creativity, detailing how the author coped with the death of his estranged father by building a wooden boat with the tools he had inherited.
Trent Preszler thought he was living his best life in a seaside Long Island home and working as the C.E.O. of a winery. After fourteen years of silence, his estranged father called to say his cancer had worsened and he made an unusual request: would he return to South Dakota for Thanksgiving? Though Trent was uncertain, he went. It would be the last time he saw his father alive. In the months that followed, Trent tried not to let his father’s death affect him, but the anger and disappointment, unresolved issues and things left unsaid overwhelmed him. Nearing forty, he was broken down, adrift, and alone.
His father was a Vietnam veteran, cattle rancher, and rodeo champion who had struggled to accept his son as a gay man. He had left Trent only one item: a toolbox, an inheritance that befuddled him. He wasn’t the kind of man who worked with his hands, ever. But maybe that was the point. And with that came an epiphany: he would build something.
That something would be a wooden canoe, and he would complete it by the anniversary of his father’s death. Little and Often captures the struggles and triumphs of one man’s maddening and unpredictable journey of self-discovery and healing. As he learns the meditative rituals of woodworking, Preszler finds peace through a new life lived in communion with nature, and forgiveness through a newfound appreciation of the man who raised him.