May 15

On Writing

Cover art by Bob White

Cover art by Bob White

I wish I was a better writer. Getting better at writing, really honing the craft, requires a lot more work than simply pounding out some blog posts. I’ve been doing that for years, but I don’t think there has been too much evolution. I once heard a coach say “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” It might sound a little cheesy, but it still rings true. It is true of casting (double hauling on the pond is different than waiting for a windy day and THEN going out on the pond) and writing (blog posts not counting as perfect practice) and probably a great deal beyond.

Growing as a writer requires feedback. It requires an editor, another set of eyes to look at what you’ve scratched down and ask questions, poke holes, or, more commonly, show you the holes you glossed over. You tend to find that sort of attentive eye in the context of education or in professional writing. I expect to find myself in neither situation in the near future.

The last real editing I experienced was while working on the first edition of Pulp Fly. Pulp Fly was my idea, although the name and form and organization came from others. My story for that effort benefited immensely from something like professional editing (thanks Pete) and I loved the experience. Someone taking what I’d written and really going through it critically, letting me know what they took from it and what I had failed to convey, it was a revelation.

After the first edition of Pulp Fly I was told I wasn’t part of the second project, that I wasn’t going to be part of the group. There was some paperwork I hadn’t signed (although I could have sworn I did) and it meant I was on the outside. It was a bit humiliating to be chucked out like that, but the worst part was losing the “thing” to write for and the opportunity to get a critical eye going over my work. I found without the “thing” to write for I just didn’t write, save for the blog. While the blog is writing, it is seldom story telling. I’m usually the character and the story is simply what happened. Every once in a while I’ll write something that I feel really good about, but those posts get buried under the next ones and after a week or a month I don’t even remember them anymore.

Now it looks like Pulp Fly is wrapping up. That’s a shame too. I recently bought Pulp Fly III and read it and I liked the stories, most written by people I know (in a Facebook kind of way) and respect. They are good people and good writers and I enjoyed what they put together.

I find myself thinking of writing again and I’m wishing I had had an editor these past few years. We’ll see where things go from here, but I have some stories bumping around in my head and I’d like to write them down.

Oct 13

Why so serious?

Life. Death. And Fly Fishing.

Thanks for the pull. Sorry it didn't work out.

Thanks for the pull. Sorry it didn’t work out.

We tend to take ourselves really seriously. I don’t know why, but we do. It feels serious. It all feels so important. I have to think this is some throwback to hunter-gatherer days when it really was that serious. There is some hold-over, some evolutionary current running from the planes of Africa up through your feet and your arm and out your fly line as you cast toward a fish you aren’t even going to eat.

I think of The River Why and A River Runs Through It, the two big works of fiction I think of when I think of fly fishing. They both are concerned, to one degree or another, with either death or the existential questions of life.

I think of my story in the first Pulp Fly and I’ll tell you, I had an impulse to send the character’s car into head-on collision at the end of it.

I don’t know why we place such life and death import to casting fur and feathers around at fish. I can also say, fully understanding the contradiction there, that it feels well placed despite the obvious ridiculousness of it.


Nov 12

Sage, Deadman’s Cay and the Future of Blogging

I saw this come through my twitter stream yesterday… a story on the Sage Blog about bonefishing in the Bahamas (that’s kind of my bag).

Now, I pretty much love seeing this sort of thing and as I was reading this I had a question.

Will the multitude of independent fly fishing blogs ever be superseded by industry blogs?

The industry has been a bit slow to pick up the value and/or importance of having blogs to tell their stories. There are a few who do this well (The Headhunter Fly Shop is crushing it, Costa has done well, Orvis has been a trend setter), but most of the industry has yet to embrace the blog format and no one in the industry is really playing on the same level as the indie blogs out there.

That’s now, but the whole “now” thing has a way of changing. There could come a time when the indie blogs are dwarfed by the output and readership of the industry players. It makes sense in a lot of ways since the industry has access to the content and blogs pretty much live on a steady stream of content.

There are a few blogs with such a unique perspective that I don’t think they’ll ever go away… TFM comes to mind, or something like Mysteries Internal with such a dedication to narrative and writing. I don’t think they are going away, but the few dozen of new blogs established each year that are playing around the margins… I think those could really go away. The age of “everyone has a voice” might be replaced by “everyone who has access to the mountain of content and a marketing budget has a voice.”

What do you think?  Where do you think things are headed.

PS – remiss in not mentioning the Deneki blog, which is a collection of awesomeness.

Oct 11

Fishing Jones and good words.

Nothing brings insecurities to fore like standing on the bow of a flats skiff, especially with a head made weak from dehydration. Bonefish T found a school and turned his skiff and called out instruction. I lay down a cast and missed and awaited castigation.

A piece over at Fishing Jones, which is always a good read, even when he’s going after fish that I don’t target in places I’ll probably never fish.

Go… read it.  Enjoy.

Jul 10

‘Island Salt’ book launch packed with support

Want to read a book set in a Grand Bahama bonefishing lodge?  Well, there happens to be such a book… Island Salt. The author of the book is Sydney Watson.

The little story about the book was something I found on Bahamas Islands Info.

Island Salt, is set in a legendary bone fishing lodge on Grand Bahama, which becomes the vortex for murder and misplaced loyalty.

via ‘Island Salt’ book launch packed with support.