Friday, March 12, 2010

the inbetween.

It is once again that time of the year that the discussions begin. These are the early nights at the bar spent comparing schedules and making breakable plans for the coming weeks, discussing the whens and the hows and the whos of the upcoming fishing season. Generally, I like to focus on the local rivers and ponds, fishing Tennessee stockers, bass, and bream. This year I want to catch a mess of early season Bream on topwater flies for the freezer. The plan is a season long fish fry, without the ordeal and the mess. Just clean and tender bream fillets in the freezer to indulge at either my leisure or necessity. I got the idea from John Gierach (who figured out most of this stuff in the seventies) and got the beer batter recipe from Langdon Cook. Things are looking up.

I also like to plan a trip or two to the gulf. Usually I can go fish with Sam or Clay in the salt, and Clay and I really want to experience some night fishing with cork and shrimp for speckled trout. Hopefully his brother will show us the ropes (and the lines, and the bait, and the fish…). 

Sam and I went out on what we thought was a great adventure last summer on July fifth. We woke up in a hazy stupor thinking that it was a great day to go trolling about a mile off the beach. The idea was to bag some mackerels by breakfast, but after two hours we were skunked and would have stayed that way had it not been for some very unexpected and creative chumming. Our rods doubled over and we ended up with two great king mackeral, and as soon as mine hit the deck I immediately doubled over with sea-sickness. Trip over.

The in-between season is always refreshing, and mostly because anticipation is sometimes more fun than the real thing. Its when the planners come out, and people like me actually believe that this is the year that they will finally kill that long-beard or get on the water twenty five days. Speaking of water, there’s not nearly enough of it, and what we have is never quite close enough. We are blessed with probably the best tailwater in the southeast, and we never make good enough use of it. I bought a map of the Caney for the first time and it cost me 16 dollars, which says that it might be a little too good. But nonetheless, catching fish is better than not catching fish, even if it means making a few friends that you would rather not have.

Found a great blog today, sparse and to the point. That can only mean that the person responsible spends way more time hunting than writing, which is how it is supposed to be, sort of like a functional woodstove, if you get my dead-drift.

Off to the best sandwich in the city. It’s the best we can do sometimes.

Happy Hunting.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

naked and pure.

Writing, as a profession, is the by far the most disrespected and enviable. The ideal type begins like this: poor middle-aged bastard who chain-smokes and hates people like Anglicans love whiskey, suddenly strikes it rich with a stroke of brilliance that comes from seemingly nowhere but that has, in fact, been there the entire time. I think that writing as a profession attracts the most confused sorts of folks. It’s that everyone wants to be heard, but no one actually likes to write. I don’t believe that I speak to many who say that they love to write. But they all want to be writers. That famous quote, ‘the hardest part about writing is starting and not stopping.’ I’ve always thought that there is one major similarity between real writers and lawyers. Both have an immeasurable capacity to do boring stuff.

There are a ton of issues. That’s both the beauty and the shit of it all. The good news is that there will always be a market, there will always be something to write about, something to interpret or make sense of, and people with perspective and a creative way of conveying that perspective turn into writers. There are things that will never go away, even if the form changes or mediums disappear. People will always listen to music and people will always read. That’s just the plain and simple truth. 

And its patience too. I think a lot of problems that need to be solved have to do with patience. We want right now what took our parents and grandparents 25 years to build. It is the problem of wanting something for nothing, of being an adult. It’s about taking punches and not quitting. About being told no and choosing not to pout and walking back into the fire to make a day of it. And it comes back to how people look at money, like more if it will solve your problems, like money isn’t the problem in itself. Something for nothing.

Because when life is standing before you, naked and pure, take a mental picture. Have  something to wake up for every morning, that one thing, and the world seems to make a little more sense. Try everything, especially when you are young, because youth is (or should be) urgent. But don’t be like Andrew and Jodee’s dog Boston, because he tried the turd in the bushes and got both a mouth and an ear-full. Some things are best indulged while no one is looking.

Just so you know (perhaps you don’t care, and if that is the case, then now is a good time to bounce off of this page to one that more specifically engages your fancy, or you can read a book, someone will appreciate that), I am making changes. I am finding some help to rework the page, and I want to make the content less about me, because I’m the first to admit that no one gives a damn about memoirs and they just come across as pretentious and untrue. Unless you are Nelson Mandella or someone who actually knows something, odds are we don’t care about your life*. A bummer about being born in 1986 is that I don’t know very many people who both survived the depression and fought in a war. Those are the people who know a thing or two about stark-naked life. I would probably read memoirs written by people who fit these criteria.  I will also be posting more often, perhaps even imbedding some extra doo-hickey gadgets that don’t really matter so that I can get more people engaged in reading what I have to say.

Because here is the plan. I want to write, I really like it (in a therapeutic problem solving way, not that I usually enjoy it because that would be contradictory to paragraph 1). Writing is only two things, perspective and craft, and I figure that I have a lifetime to perfect the craft. I figure that if I get an essay collection by the time I’m 70 I’ll be a real-life Norman McLean, and I’ll die content and with the most rods. I can’t help it.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I can’t focus today. I think this is mostly penitence for failing a lot in the past three days, perhaps a shot of self-pity and a questioning of how the hell I got here. Its four eighteen and in thirty minutes I will be either at the bar or finishing a John Gierach essay. On the one hand, craft brew really makes me feel better about myself in a ‘memoir’ sort of way. But the John essay is good, and I have some tobacco that actually tastes like it should, so option two is also a feasible outcome. This has become the question of the day, a day that has produced nothing except tiny victories and mounting defeats.

And the answer to the question is to go fishing.


*I publish this paragraph at the risk of sounding oft-putting, rude, and generally like an asshole. Before you write me off, just know that I'm talking about print memoirs, like augusten burroughs and other worthless work like that. Its just a rant. I'm not writing about LC or NorCal or other who pour their hearts and lives into their online medium, because these are real people with real lives who tell the truth and love to write. That is the best part of an online outdoor community, sharing stories. So please, accept this little post-script and take my writing for what its worth (which is exactly what you paid for it). Thanks.