Youst, Lionel 1934-
YOUST, Lionel 1934-
PERSONAL: Born January 19, 1934, in Woodland, WA; son of George (a logger and sawmill owner) and Doris (maiden name, Eagles; later surname, McGuire) Youst; married Hilda Gaitan, July 7, 1961; children: Alice, Julia, Oliver. Education: University of Nebraska—Omaha, B.G.S., 1971; graduate study at Creighton University and Humboldt State University. Politics: Democrat.
ADDRESSES: Home—12445 Highway 241, Coos Bay, OR 97420. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Logger in Oregon, California, Washington, and British Columbia, 1949-53; U.S. Air Force, career officer in aircraft maintenance, 1953-75, retiring as major; owner and operator of a charter transportation service in Oregon, 1978-92; writer, 1992—. Also worked as theater director, actor, and playwright.
AWARDS, HONORS: Recipient of military honors, including Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, and Joint Services Commendation Medal.
Above the Falls: An Oral and Folk History of Upper Glenn Creek, Coos County, Oregon, privately printed, 1991, revised edition, 2003.
(And producer) When Everybody Was Working: A Vintage Film of Logging and Lumbering (documentary videotape), Siskyou National Forest, 1994.
She's Tricky Like Coyote: Annie Miner Peterson, an Oregon Coast Indian Woman, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 1997.
(With others, and producer) Steam Logging in History and in Models (documentary videotape), PCI Imageworks, 1998.
(With William R. Seaburg) Coquelle Thompson, Athabaskan Witness: A Cultural Biography, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: In All the Wars: The Life and Times of Sergeant Joseph Clesson, 1683-1758.
SIDELIGHTS: Lionel Youst once told CA: "My motivation for writing is the same as it was for Herodotus. His was 'to preserve from decay the remembrance of what men have done.' I work from interviews, oral histories, local histories, anthropological field notes, newspapers, census records, and other documents both published and unpublished. My goal is to depict the speech, the thought, and the values of ordinary people who otherwise would have no 'history' in the traditional sense.
"In my youth I devoured the 'biographical novels' of Irving Stone; Clarence Darrow for the Defense probably influenced me more than any other. Being from the northwest and from a lumbering family, I also devoured the books of Stewart H. Holbrook. Holy Old Mackinaw and The Age of the Moguls were probably my favorites. In later years I have admired the work of Studs Terkel, and it is because of his example that I have tape-recorded scores of hours of interviews with old-time loggers. I have wanted to preserve the story of their lives and the manner of their speech. I love the sound of colloquial speech and of dramatic action, and so it seems natural that I have had a long avocational interest in the theater. Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Strindberg are my favorites among the world classics. I have acted in the plays of all three and have directed plays of Ibsen and Strindberg. Among contemporary playwrights I am most fond of Sam Shepard and David Mamet because the rhythm and sound of their speech rings true.
"My writing proceeds slowly, usually after years of reading, interviewing, and thinking on a particular theme. I write and rewrite, and I read every draft aloud. If it doesn't flow nicely when read aloud, if there is an awkwardness there, I redo it until it sounds right.
"I have been inspired to write on the subjects I have chosen—the local history of a wilderness homestead in Oregon, the biography of an Oregon Coast Indian woman, and the biography of an Oregon Indian chief—because of disappointment with the manner in which such subjects have been treated in the past. It has been my objective to present my subjects in their own voices, their own manners of speaking, their own modes of thought. My current work, a biography set during the colonial wars, stems from the same objective."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, June, 2002, Anthony P. Grant, review of She's Tricky Like Coyote: Annie Miner Peterson, an Oregon Coast Indian Woman, p. 405.