Mushrooms of New Zealand with Liv Sisson

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Mushrooms of New Zealand with Liv Sisson

Today we travel to New Zealand with Liv Sisson to talk about the fungi of Aotearoa better known as New Zealand. We chat about the folklore and indigenous uses of various mushrooms and her newest book all about the topic.



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TRANSCRIPT
Alex 0:11 Welcome, welcome. You are listening to the mushroom revival podcast. I'm your host, Alex Dora. And we are absolutely obsessed with the wonderful, wacky, mysterious world of mushrooms and fungi. We bring on guests and experts from all around the globe to geek out with us and go down this mysterious rabbit hole to figure out what the heck is going on with the fungal kingdom and all the mysteries that we are unlocking on a daily basis. So today we're to name with from a with live from New Zealand and she's a day ahead. She's a time traveler. So what's the future like live in New Zealand? Yeah, Speaker 1 0:50 thanks so much for having me on Alex. Friday the future and New Zealand is looking at it's pretty sunny. It's summertime here. So yeah, futures I can get from where I set. Alex 1:02 This is good. Good news on that front. And for people who don't know you your newest book that was released in and yeah, what who are you? What are you up to in the in the fungal world? Speaker 1 1:12 Yeah, so I'm live. And I grew up in Virginia in the US, but I now live in New Zealand, and I'm a writer and an author. And last year, I put out my first book, which is called fungi of Alta Ottawa. And so fungi, obviously very familiar. And then Alta Ottawa is the indigenous name for New Zealand. So it's a full color guide, and fun, informative exploration of the amazing Sungai that we have here. So yeah, I'm a curious forger, very keen, interested fungi spotter, a writer and just a lover of all things nature. Alex 1:48 And what prompted you to get into the mushroom world? Speaker 1 1:52 Yeah, how did I get into the mushroom world? I think so I was a child. I was always really curious about small things in nature. And my mom was a great and dad were great encourager of that. And we used to get big summer storms and Virginia that would bring down big old trees. And I just remember my mom and I visiting this kind of fallen tree multiple times throughout the year and carefully excavating it to see what was growing and what was decaying it. So I've always had an interest in small stuff. And then I actually came to New Zealand for the first time when I was in college for a semester abroad, and the native Bashir is just so different to the forest that I grew up in was, even though it was 20, it was almost like I was five years old, again, walking around in the woods, just being completely amazed by every single little thing, you know, take me forever, just to walk half a mile. So yeah, my, my interest in fungi has definitely always been around. And then once I came back from New Zealand, I actually saw chicken of the woods for the first time in Virginia. And then I was totally hooked and into the foraging aspect. And just curious about all sides of it. And this was back in 2017. Alex 3:00 Can you tell your story about how you first found your first white basket mushroom? Speaker 1 3:05 Yes, great question. So the white basket fungi is a really unique species that I believe is only found in New Zealand, I believe it's endemic. And it almost looks like a zombie soccer ball, but only the outline of the soccer ball. If that's the best way to describe it. It has this 3d shape with little hexagon. It's got a hexagonal shape. And it's like a white structure that pops up out of almost like a puff ball shape. So I had seen photos of this species online, and I knew it was in New Zealand. And I had been wanting, I kind of been looking for it for like two or three years. And it just looks so funky and strange that I figured it was probably found only in a few select spots, probably deep in the bush somewhere, you know, not not going to be right under my nose by any means. And I was actually up in Auckland, so I'm in North Island of New Zealand and I was getting ready to fly back to the US and I was walking into the airport terminal at like 5am. And I looked to my left and I saw one and a flowerbed, just growing in the malt. And it was this just amazing moment. I was not expecting to see anything exciting or interesting at the airport terminal at 5am. And here was this crazy, funky alien looking fungi that I had been searching for for two years. And it is so cool. It's a stinker. And it smells a little bit weird, but totally fascinating. Alex 4:34 Are there any other mushrooms left on your bucket list that you're dying to find? Speaker 1 4:38 Oh, totally. I always think that at some point I'll kind of have reached the end of the line. But this never happens and I hope it never does. But I actually have never found a morale. And we have them here in New Zealand too. And I have such a distinct memory of eating one for the first time as a kid and just being like, this is delicious. This gigantic raisin is the best thing I've ever tasted. And Alex 5:03 I've never heard anyone describe a morel as a giant raisin. That's perfect. Speaker 1 5:08 I mean, what's their cook? They do look like a giant raisin. Yeah, it tastes a lot better though. And I also just remember my my grandmother who grew up in North Carolina and then spent the latter part of her life in Virginia telling me about a friend she had who knew where to hunt them, and was very secretive about her spot. So I've you know, I've never found one that I am very excited to someday Alex 5:28 they're very elusive. Yeah. And they're, I feel like they're camouflage experts. I've, I've been looking straight. You know, me and a friend were looking for some and he's like, Oh, it's right there, like a foot in front of you. And I'm like, scanning the foliage. I'm like, where are you lucky. And he picks it out. And I'm like, wow, that just blended in perfectly. You know, all all the different textures and the brown colors. Just blends so well in with the leaves and sticks and stuff. And you really have to have an eye for it. And yeah, Unknown Speaker 6:00 get your eye and listen. Alex 6:04 Yeah, okay. Okay, I'm, I'm unfortunately one of the I don't know what percentage of people that can't eat morels. Unfortunately. I think they taste amazing. And then I feel just like crap after. And so I always, if I find them, I give them to other people, or I've cooked for other people. And that's great. They do taste amazing. Speaker 1 6:28 Oh, I'm sorry for you that you can't eat them. But I'm glad that we're glad you're auditing one fighting, but I've also never, there's some really cool, parasitic Cordy sub species in New Zealand. And there's one in particular called off auto is the indigenous word for it. That's an ovo coreset species. And it kind of looks almost like a cat tail sticking up from the Alex 6:51 ground. Huge. Yeah, huge work like Oh, yeah. Speaker 1 6:55 And the one here is, once it kind of spores, it's black and steady. And it's actually been used in the past to make ink for traditional indigenous tattooing. So it has some pretty unique applications. And yeah, I would love to see that one in the bush someday. Alex 7:11 It's actually on my bucket list to get one of those tattoos. I don't know if I can, if you know, based on cultural practices, if they are open to that or what the cultural significance of that is, but to get a tattoo with cordyceps think would be insane. That would be awesome. Unknown Speaker 7:30 Do you know anyone who has one? Alex 7:33 No. Well, I mean, yeah, I'm not. I don't have any Maori friends. So but hopefully one day, I will. And we'll get that tattoo. Yeah. And so why why New Zealand? Why Why did you take the trip? Why has your life been directed to the complete other side of the globe? Speaker 1 7:56 Yeah, great question. I yeah, I've actually been thinking a lot about this recently. But um, I think the kind of you know, logistical answer is that came and did a semester here on exchange in college and just had the best time and then when I went back to the US to finish my degree, I crossed paths with my QE neighbor from that time who was living and working in the US we reconnected and yeah, I came back here with him. He's my my life partner. And so yeah, came back here for love but um, yeah, recently I've just been thinking like yeah, interesting that my path is unfolded in this way. And my mom was saying to me recently that one when I was really little she went to a fortune teller in the Fortune shell I told her that I would move very far away someday so I wonder if it was kind of always in the in the stars for me but um, yeah, that's the kind of kind of how I got here. And then once you have any other once I did get here, just like totally you know, for for nature lovers. It's an amazing place to be like, the access to nature is just incredible. And there's so much on wander kind of around every corner here just you really unique environments and hikes and lakes and glaciers and coastline and it's just yeah, I nature lovers paradise. Alex 9:17 Is there. How big would you say are mushrooms in the Maori culture? Speaker 1 9:25 Yeah, so this was I really enjoyed learning more about this piece of the puzzle. And I was researching my book. And, you know, as someone who didn't grow up here, it was a really unique way for me to learn about Maori culture and sort of the history of this place. And they're essentially about 12 species that have really good documentation as having been used as food resources. Sort of like the puffball wood ear. A lot of them weren't maybe like prized food resources, but we're kind of used in lean times and Also some medicinal applications that I came across and in different books and reference materials, like AMI AMI as an Usnea lichen species that was used for bandages, and it was really just such a exciting opportunity to chat with with people who have some of this knowledge and yeah, so really grateful that I got to know. Yeah, people who who are Maori and have this knowledge and yeah, I'm kind of rambling. Maybe we cut this but Alex 10:31 no, it's good. Yeah, no, it's it's perfect. And I'm curious, I I went to New Zealand when I was a super young kid. And so my memories are very brief. I don't remember it too much. And I wasn't into mushrooms at that time. And so yeah, it wasn't it wasn't in my mushroom brain. So I'm just curious what the ecology is like in New Zealand and when you are wanting to find mushrooms, can you find them all year round? Or is there is there like a wet season and the dry season and only the wet season? Or or you know, only parts of the island are, are rich with mushrooms and other are the two islands have and other parts are not or only the North Island is super ration in, in fungi and the other is not? Speaker 1 11:24 Yeah, I feel like I mean, obviously, I'm biased. But I think on the whole New Zealand is a fun guy lovers paradise, because you can find you can find fungi pretty much a year round across the whole country. And I guess you know, for anyone who hasn't been to New Zealand, like it is just incredibly biodiverse. And the ecology is so unique. It's like when you if you do come for a visit, you'll notice in the airports that biosecurity is really, really tight. So for example, when I came back from the US recently, I had some hiking boots in my my checked luggage, and you even have to declare those and even if they have like a tiny bit of dirt on them, customers will have to clean them. Because the flora and fauna and fungi we have here so unique and unusual that they're often really vulnerable to foreign pests or fungi or disease. So we have really, really tight biosecurity to protect the unique ecology here. And it's so unique because New Zealand flora and fauna and fungi has essentially just evolved in isolation. So like, we just have, you know, things like the kiwi and all of these flightless birds and a really high percentage of endemic fungi, species of fungi that's only found here. And the topography of New Zealand is also pretty severe. So like, for example, I'm right by the coast right now, but I can be, you know, looking at snow caps within about an hour. So just incredible range of environments. And, you know, you can, you can find all sorts of fungi here year round. Alex 12:57 I didn't I didn't know Kiwi birds were a thing. Like you grow. I've seen pictures of that. I didn't know they were Do they not even have wings? They don't look like they just look like a ball. Yeah, their flight and a beak. What happened? You know, Vendrick by us. They're Speaker 1 13:13 super cute. I believe. Bats were the only mammals here, kind of endemically When humans first arrived. So just super unique animals and plants and fungi. And then you know, of course, with the unique plants come unique fungi. So it's all interconnected. And yeah, I think one thing that really showed me how unique New Zealand is in this regard, as we have some really cool conifer trees here called pota carps. Some of them are called, like Cody trees or mero trees. And they're these they're called the Giants. So these gigantic conifers, and when we think of a conifer and evergreen tree, think of a pine cone, right, that's how they reproduce. And so when I learned that these trees were paintwork conference, I was really confused because they don't have pine cones. They have these really pretty berries. So like a pink, you know, blush pink berry with a little green bit on the end is one of them. And they they're not actually berries there actually comes so the poem has evolved to look like a berry. And so those berries would fall to the forest floor. And then the flightless birds, like the Kiwi would accidentally eat those cones, you know, because they looked good. And then they would spread the seeds essentially. And then what's really cool so we have all these really colorful fungi species that grow in association with those trees that have similar colors to those berries, those you know, quote unquote, pine cone berries. And so, yeah, so mycologists hypothesize that the colorful fungi have actually evolved with the colorful podocarp berries to encourage dispersal. So there's just all of these really cool connections of really unique flora creating really unique fungi and and vice versa. Alex 15:00 And one of those insanely vibrant colored mushrooms which is on the cover of your book not not the ones in association with this this tree but and to Loma Horch Tedder I Speaker 1 15:15 maybe thought it Yeah, that's the scientific name, Alex 15:19 but probably the most vibrant blue mushroom ever I mean it's it's stunning it's it's really really beautiful what besides you know it being completely stunning what? Why did you choose that mushroom for the cover? Speaker 1 15:35 Yeah, so when I arrived in New Zealand, this species was absolutely top of my bucket list. The blue color is actually really hard to describe. If you haven't seen it yourself, it is unbelievably electric, neon blue. And I would venture to say it's the bluest thing in nature, maybe ever. It is Aqua marine just completely striking. And it's often found actually pretty deep in the bush so in quite dark environment. So it almost looks like a like an alien. You just can't. It took me about two years of living here to spot it. And I just when I saw it finally in person I couldn't, couldn't believe how blue last night I think I spent like two hours with it, just observing it and taking some photos and just marveling at it. So yeah, it's on the cover of my book. And it's this beautiful guild kept mushroom that this electric blue color. And I almost couldn't believe that it wasn't already on the cover of something because the color is just so striking. And Alex 16:35 yeah, I mean, just don't you are in the future. So you did yeah, manifests? Yeah, Speaker 1 16:42 yeah. From the future. We've got lots of blue mushrooms over here. But um, yeah. So you know, we don't see super blue things in nature that often because usually the chemical compounds that produce the color are really unstable in the presence of oxygen. But this mushroom just retains this neon blue color for, you know, up to a week in some cases. So yeah, it's also on our $50 note here. $50. Nice to be well, I'm so not often that you see fungi on currency. And it's the national fungi. Its indigenous name. And today oh Maori. So in the Maori language is with a with a Kokako. And where they were a is a wattle that bird has. And then the Kokako is a bird that has a very similar color on its model. So on his cheeks cool. And yeah, the kind of story from local iwi. So local tribe on the North Island is that the bird flew past the mushroom in and picked up the color on the way through. So it's just really unique to this place. And yeah, it's quite a special species that you can always see here. Alex 17:46 Is it Is it edible? Is there any usage with it of making dyes or anything like that? Or is it just visually stunning mushroom? Not Not that that is. Speaker 1 18:01 And I don't believe it's been studied for edible application. But I think you know, it's important, especially with this species, it's a sacred treasured species by Maori. So it's a Tama ta o Nga. So it's, you know, not one that you can gather or disturb or touch. Or you can gently touch it, but you don't want to disturb it or remove it as it is protected and sacred. So there's a couple of studies going with the kind of collaboration with with MALDI to ensure that the organism is being looked after and respected. There is a study going to see if maybe the chemical compound that creates the really stable blue color could be used, and food applications because normally if you're seeing blue at the grocery store, it's an artificial color. Because again, those compounds are usually really unstable in the presence of oxygen. So if you're eating a blue candy, it's most likely almost 100% artificial Alex 18:58 What weird candy doesn't grow on trees. No. Yeah. If if someone were to pick up your book, and we're interested in your book, what what should they expect? How many mushrooms you go over? What do you cover? Kind of Yeah, give give the little SparkNotes version of Speaker 1 19:24 SparkNotes version of the book. So the book opens with a big intro into the kind of world weird and wonderful world of fungi for a New Zealand lens. So understanding how it's been used here as food as medicine, looking into the magic mushrooms of New Zealand and their use, kind of historically and presently, so caught like a big kind of tour of the fungi kingdom to open up and then I go into a section on how to look for fungi and how to find it. Then I go into a section on how to forge it and forge it safely. And then there's two field guide sections the back where I cover everything close to 150 species, about 30 of them at the front are edible. And then the other ones in the back are all being unique and Demick native species that are very unique to this place. Yeah. Alex 20:10 And how was how was the process of writing the book, you went through a publisher was self published? Speaker 1 20:17 Yeah. So it's, it's published with Penguin Random House. So it's available worldwide, I did look at the self publishing route. But I just thought, I'm good at writing. But I'm not sure if we'll be good at designing a book or taking the photos for it. So I do get to work with an amazing fungi photographer, Paula Vargas, who's whose work is just incredible. And there's hundreds of photos in the book, and that many of them are focused apps. So they're hundreds of images that have been, you know, composited together to create a really high def image of a really tiny little mushroom. So it's, you know, just little works of art throughout the book, really? Alex 20:54 And did they pitch this idea to you? Or did you pitch it to them? Or how was the whole process? How did that Speaker 1 21:01 question? So I got, yeah, during COVID. Here, I was just going on lots of walks looking for fungi. And I just realized there weren't tons of books on New Zealand fungi, there were a couple of field guides that had you know, photos and the key information, you would need to identify things and then a bit of a gap, and then that you would get right into very dense academic guides. So I thought it'd be nice to have something in the middle that had a bit more of a story and more images and a bit more information. So I, yeah, worked on a pitch and then tried to get the right introduction and eventually met the right person at my local bookshop, who introduced me to a publisher, and then I pitched it from there. Alex 21:41 Cool. And how long did it take you? What? What was the process like day to day? Was it visit? Did you have a lot of time and or was it crunch time? I'm doing all day every day in writing mode? Yeah. Speaker 1 21:56 Oh, my gosh, such a big question. I guess a key thing is that I had been curious about fungi for a long time. So I wasn't starting the research from zero, I had just kind of been researching for fun, and for my own curiosity for about five years. So when I started the writing process, I had a pretty good foundation. So I actually wrote the thing in a year, which I would not probably recommend in hindsight. Yeah, the books 50,000 words, so it's pretty chunky, it's a big volume. But you know, still quite, you know, trips along at a nice pace. So there's a lot of information in there, but you can still work through it without getting too bogged down. But um, yeah, the writing process was a roller coaster. And it was just a totally epic journey. But had, you know, all the trappings of that, like, really low loves really high highs. I think, you know, when I signed the contract, I was so stoked, I was foraging all the time, I was writing a lot, it felt really easy and fun. And then I actually did a lot of travel in the US catching up with family post COVID while I was writing, and so I had a lot going on, I was also working another job. And at some point, I found myself, you know, like, sitting outside like a strip mall and Virginia like crying, which sounds super dramatic, but it was just, you know, such a, such a big task that was really overwhelming at times. But yeah, I just feel so, so lucky and privileged that I got to, to work through that challenge and have this experience of producing a book because it's pretty cool to see something that only lived in my mind and on my computer screen out in the world now. Alex 23:32 Ya know, I think book writing is such a beautiful experience. And I recommend anyone do it. Even if it you know, self published or not even, you know, one person reads it or nobody reads it even just the process itself is you learn a lot about yourself and to dedicate yourself to one topic and just pour everything you have into that one topic to create something physical is such a beautiful art form. And that's coming from someone who got a D minus in English class for like, multiple years in a row. And I was like one point away from failing. And all by English teachers were like, Yeah, you don't, don't take up writing ever. And I've published multiple books already. And it's like, you know, anyone could do it. And it's whether it's good or bad. It's just It's the process that I think is so enlightening to go through for anyone of just yeah, just pouring yourself into one topic. You can you can learn a lot about yourself and the topic and I Speaker 1 24:42 think it was like a lot of self discovery. But then also what was so cool about it was just the number of people that I got to collaborate with and and work with in the research phase and the creation phase. Like I felt like by the end, there was actually an entire mycelial community kind of sitting Around the book, you know that Paul, the photographer I worked with, you know, we're really good mates now and got to interview so many, so many different people in the fungi world for it and just create some new friendships. And, you know, early on, I was a little bit nervous asking people who are deep, deep experts on the topic, if they wanted to chat with me and be part of the research, I thought, you know, they would think like, oh, you know, this book coming out? Maybe it's, you know, not for the deep experts, like, why would I have a chat with this person? But um, yeah, I just got found that a lot of people in the fungi world were just so excited about it. And that was really special. And just, I think the community element of it was so, so rewarding as well. Alex 25:42 Did you find it hard to find people to interview and find information about these mushrooms that you're curious about? Or, you know, was it pretty easy? And to find these resources and these people? Speaker 1 25:59 Yeah, so I think early on, in my research, I really started with them, what was kind of immediately and available to me, so I live really close to the city's central library. So I just library lot and got to know the librarians and they helped me really work through the collection and figure out what was their, you know, historical texts that talked about fungi and their use of your time as well as newer ones. So I started there. And then I started reaching out to some of the authors of those books, and I started reaching out to mycologists. And so I found Yeah, it was kind of like an investigative journey. For on the whole, there was quite a lot of information to work with. So it wasn't, wasn't too challenging. But then there were some topics that I wrote about in the book, like magic mushrooms and psychedelics in New Zealand, where there wasn't nearly as much in the public domain. And so yeah, that was a bit more of a challenge, as you might guess, that part of it. Alex 26:52 And what about, you know, any folklore or, you know, mushroom use with the Maori? Like, is that written information? Is it mixed? Is it mostly word of mouth when you have to interview certain elders or people in the communities? How is that information stored and transferred? And? And? Yeah, yeah, Speaker 1 27:18 good question. So I think, you know, maybe it was a year or two before I started writing, I read, as I'm sure many people listening will have read Michael Pollan's book, how to change your mind. And in that book, he writes something along the lines of, you know, there isn't a single culture on earth that hasn't used plants or fungi to change the contents of their mind. And, you know, I was here in New Zealand when I read that, and it kind of made me think, oh, like, that's really interesting, because I really haven't seen much about Maori awareness or use or understanding or wisdom on this topic. But I, I think, at the same time, I was thinking, it seems unlikely that it wouldn't exist. Just kind of like as a brief aside, like, it's been really fascinating for me, and I think important for me, as someone who's not from here, originally to learn about that culture and in the Maori worldview, all of life is is interconnected and Maori people are also referred to as tenants of Finola, which means people of the land, so a very, like deeply held innate connection to the land and this place, which includes fungi. So I thought there must be some, some knowledge and wisdom there. But as I went on this learning journey, I just learned, you know, through the process of colonization, a lot of this wisdom has been stored away and protected and held very carefully. So there's not a whole lot in the public domain around that. And I think, in hindsight that that really makes sense. And it's sad that it makes sense. But um, Topanga are the medicine people be healers of the Maori communities. And they actually weren't allowed to practice until the 1960s. They were barred by colonists. So that knowledge was really Yeah, pushed underground, but it is re emerging. And so I do talk a little bit about it in the book, through an interview I did with them. Dr. Mitchell head who is a neuroscientist here, who's also brings in a Maori worldview to his work and he's studying some of the indigenous, excuse me, endemic magic mushroom species here to see if they could be used to treat addiction. So there is some new sort of, like a revival of that knowledge. So yeah, it's not really for me to share, but I did really enjoy learning about it. And I'm very excited to see what comes through in that space over the next you know, five to 10 years and there's a lot of really cool research happening here around these topics. So I think stay tuned for that one is the long the short of it. Alex 29:50 Well, if you could redo your book from scratch, knowing every everything you do now. Would you do do anything differently and say, say your same publisher came to you? And was like, let's do another book. What? Yeah, what would you do differently now, going through this, Speaker 1 30:12 give myself more time, I, I just was in a bit of a bit of a rush. And I just have a lot of other things going on in my life. And in hindsight, I probably would have said no to a few other things. So I could focus a bit more and not, you know, be totally rushed. But at the same time, I do well with a deadline and a little bit of pressure. So I think more time, but also, yeah, I think when I look at the book, now, it's so interesting, because I know all of the conversations and decisions that went into every single thing. And it's pages, you know, from the font to the photos, we chose to the headers, we chose to the words that I picked. Whereas to the reader, they don't know that context. So in my mind when I look at it, and like, oh, we we put that photo in, but we cut to use this photo, or I said this, but I could have said that. And so it's kind of just like learning to let those things go. And I can't change them now, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out overall. But um, yeah, I tell a little story. In the interest section about the pop out effects. Do you know the pop out effect? No. Yeah, it was kind of thinking about it when you were talking about Morales. But it's kind of that feeling of if you're out looking for mushrooms or shark's teeth, or whatever you're searching for. It takes you a while to find that first one. Because your eyes aren't tuned into the shape yet. But once you find the first one, your retina has acquired the search image. So then you're more likely to find some in the immediate minutes that follow. So it's that feeling of like, okay, I'm not finding anything. There's one Morel. Oh my gosh, there's 20 here, right? Yeah. Yeah, it's that don't have you experienced this feeling? Totally. Yeah. That's pretty magical. It's pretty, like, just amazing when it happens. I feel like Alex 31:54 yeah, it's, it's amazing for mushrooms that grow in clusters. Because once you find that first one, it's like, Oh, there's another there's, you're standing in a whole field of them, you know? And yeah, it's if anyone hasn't experienced that feeling. It's a good one. So I haven't heard that term before pop out effect. It's Speaker 1 32:11 a good yeah. And then once the pop out effect happens to you, then you can say, Oh, I've got my eye my eyes on now. You know, I've got the got the feel for it. But um, yeah, I think when I was writing, I realized that I had like a story from years ago when I had experienced it for the first time. And I was looking for starfish with my siblings in Maine on the coast. And I tell that story in the book. And there's just a great photo of us of the actual moment when we found our first starfish. And I wish I had put that in the book. It just didn't occur to me at the time, but it kind of captures for me that joy of looking and how going on a little nature hunt with with people you care about can just be the best thing ever. Alex 32:53 Well, you can add in the next one, for sure. Yeah. Unknown Speaker 32:56 Hopefully it does an excellent. Alex 33:00 It's funny because I, for my latest book, I had a, I think a little over a month deadline. From the second they pitched it to the second it was it was due. And it was the craziest month of my life. Like I think it was 16 to 18 hour days nonstop writing seven days a week. And I was so stressed out. But if I were to do it again, like I kind of liked that month, because I just got it out of the way that I had the rest of my year to not think about it and relax and you know, yeah, I need deadlines. And for me, that was just Yeah, I kind of liked it in a sense of like, no, I need to get this done by this date, or else, you know, it's not going to happen. So so Unknown Speaker 33:51 you've got the kind of quick pace was good for you. Alex 33:54 I mean, it was not good for my health. But it was only a month it was it was a sprint. Yeah, it was it. And it was yeah, it was like I kind of like the adrenaline of it of you know, and it wasn't that long, you know, a month in the grand scheme of things is totally fine. So, but it was insane. It was an insane month, but it all worked out. Yeah, no, it was great. It was totally they it was my first time working with a publisher which my first book was self published. And it looked like a mess. I didn't know how to format or anything like I did it all in like Microsoft Word and every time I put like a photo in it would mess up everything you know, and that happens. Yes. And I had no idea how to format a book and I just like you know, pushed it out. So it was definitely a humbling scholarship at the you have to Yeah, and this time working with professionals was amazing. Highly right commended for anyone that works with a publisher that does a good job. It, it feels good to have that team and that community that you're talking about of people working together that know what they're doing to create just such a beautiful thing that you could bring into the world and share with other people. It's really special experience. Speaker 1 35:19 Yeah, it's funny that you say bring into the world because one of my one of the things I publisher said to me kind of like midway through the process is that creating a book is kind of like having a baby like, it's just this big, huge thing. And at the end, something comes into the world that wasn't there before. And you get to share it with other people. And that analogy is really, you know, held across across time and across this project for me. And another thing she said to me it was so wise is like, even once it's printed, you'll look at it and see things that you wish you could change or you wish you didn't get it and I you know, a year on I'm still having those thoughts. And when they come up, I try not to worry about them too much. And I just write them down in a note on my phone and then trying to carry on with my day. Yeah. Yeah. Alex 36:01 Would you say your perfectionist? Oh, yeah. Speaker 1 36:05 Like, you know, sometimes a helpful thing about me, sometimes very unhelpful thing about me. And that was that was such an exercise. And then recognizing that I wanted the whole thing to be perfect. But was such a big project. There, were always going to be bits that weren't exactly perfect. But getting things to 80% was actually going to be good enough. And yeah, like, I just can't believe the response the book has had here in New Zealand. It's been incredible. And people just seem to totally love it, which is really special. Alex 36:33 That's awesome. If you so you don't know if you're gonna write another book. But if you Speaker 1 36:39 had, definitely well, it's just okay. Have a good idea first. Okay. Alex 36:44 Well, if you had unlimited funds, and team and equipment and everything, what would you do? And it could be a book, it could be something else. But I'm just curious about where you see your future future projects in the fungal space. Speaker 1 37:04 Yeah, well, I would love to do maybe a mini series on the fungi of New Zealand. Like, they're just so incredibly diverse and unique and a bit different towards seen in other places. And I would love to see see them in a really high def mini series with some great storytelling and local experts. And I mean, I'm sure as you know, like, there are a lot of fun people in the fungi world and some kick massive characters. So I would love to see some of those characters that I met along the way on the big screen. But then I also think we're Alex 37:38 such normal boring people mushroom and yeah, we're just like, just a bunch of squares. You know, we're just super warriors. Speaker 1 37:46 Yeah, like, they're super, ya know, in the box. But um, I also just thought a lot about when I was writing how the piece I think I love most about fungi is just the sort of micro adventures it introduces into my day to day you know, I'll be walking to work to the city and I'll see an interesting fungi or like and, and it just is like a little mini vacation, you know, spotting something a bit, or inspiring or wonderful and that that sensory activation piece for me has been so huge and I actually did a lot of it when I was writing and finding the project very challenging. It was like, Okay, I just need to go for a walk and, and get out of my head and off my screen and reconnect with the present moment. So I think, you know, taking schoolkids on fungi, spotting adventures and sharing some of those tools with them would be really powerful because they're just little you know, little skills you can keep in your back pocket to support yourself through time and and those are quite powerful because you don't have to pay to access those you know, you can just go through walk for a walk in the park and look for five things that are blue or five things that are yellow and you know, use your senses and reconnect with what's actually happening in front of you and yeah, so I think someone like that would be pretty cool. We Alex 38:55 is Kiwi a slang for little kids. Or something? Or foreigners or is Kiwi a slang Unknown Speaker 39:02 word for for something. Kiwis are New Zealanders. Alex 39:05 Oh, okay, Speaker 1 39:06 there you go. Yeah. Yeah. Not to be maybe there's new birds or kiwi fruits. Alex 39:11 Yeah, yeah, definitely. I love I love kiwi fruit. And I it's so funny. I eat the skin. And I think it's one of the best parts of kiwi and I've heard so many people that are like you eat the skin ill and I'm like, that's the best part. That's so good. Unknown Speaker 39:28 I really really good for you. Yeah, no, it's Alex 39:30 like that. tankiness that that sourness is is super, super good. But um, have you tried? Speaker 1 39:38 Have you tried the ruby red kiwifruits Alex 39:41 I've tried yellow Kiwi but ruby red now I keep an eye on. I'm gonna write it down right out because I do. I do love kiwi. Hopefully I can get it here. I'm sure I can find a way to get here. Yeah. Yeah. Who are Oh, that's beautiful. It's like orange and red. Unknown Speaker 40:02 Yeah, stunning. Alex 40:05 Yeah. Well, I will get that Kiwi wall and eat it while I'm reading your book. So if I wanted to get your book, where can I get your book? And keep following your work? Speaker 1 40:17 Yes, yeah. So best place to get my book is on Amazon. So just search for my name lives the Sinn LIVSI s s o n. And my book called fungi of alto with a bright blue mushroom on the cover should come up. So that's the best place to get the book from Amazon if you are, you know, anywhere you are in the world. And then I'm also on Instagram and Tik Tok as Libsyn. So yeah, always love to connect with fungi fans on the interweb. So, yeah, send me a message and I'll be happy to connect. Alex 40:52 Amazing. Well, I can't wait to flip through your book because the cover in and of itself is just absolutely stunning. And, and eventually I will get Speaker 1 41:01 like, you know, I thought early on, I thought the book would really only appeal to people in New Zealand. But it's been really interesting. Just to see people around the world check it out, too. And I feel like you know, there is now a direct flight from San Francisco to Christchurch where I am. So there's a direct route to some pretty unique fungi spotting for America. Okay. Yeah, so yeah, it's worth kind of visit and check out. Alex 41:26 I spent my entire birthday on the plane going to New Zealand when I was like, I don't know how old I was. I was young. And yeah, I have to go back because New Zealand is absolutely stunning. And find some really cool mushrooms hopefully the the white basket mushroom and that blue and Tullahoma. And those corneocytes Gotta get my tattoos. So I have some Ruby Red kiwis. And last, but thank you live. I really appreciate it. Unknown Speaker 41:56 No worries. Thanks so much for having me on Alex. Alex 41:59 Yeah, of course. And thank you everyone for tuning in and tuning in for another episode of the mushroom revival podcast. If you like the show, and you want to support we don't have a direct way to support we don't have a Patreon but we do have a website mushroom revival.com, where we sell a bunch of organic functional mushroom products from powders, tinctures, capsules, and gummies. And they're all super delicious. If you want to try them, we have a special VIP coupon code just for listeners of the podcast. And that is pod treat for a surprise coupon code. And if you don't want to spend any money, we have a giveaway going on, where we pick a winner once a month, that and you can win a whole box of goodies to go home with. We also have a bunch of free resources on our website from a ton of blog posts and free ebooks. From everything from mushroom recipes to ecology to psilocybin, microdosing etc. And my newest book The Little Book of mushrooms is on there as well. And if you learn something in today's episode or another episode or just have a fun fact about mushrooms, please spread the word tell your friends, tell your friends tell your family if you are at the grocery store and you're checking out tell tell the person checking you out or the Bagger have fun fact about mushrooms and get people in love with mushrooms. So, as always much love made the spores be with him. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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