“Many men fish their entire lives without ever knowing it is not the fish they are after.”
“D’uh. And, no fishing story is about fishing.”
I know, it really goes against blogging best practices to divide a blog on multiple subjects, but I’m not yet up to keeping up two blogs, so here you will find the draft manuscript of my book of fly-fishing short stories, Still Falling.
It seems like everything is a procrastination not to write. Even successful ventures such as starting the bar seems like a ridiculous exercise if you consider how much writing I could’ve accomplished with that same creative energy. Yet, I’ve also found that I can only write when I’m busy. In a recent down period, I wrote hardly at all, except for starting this blog, which I did mostly as a resume-builder, lacking any recent writing samples since the fire. And now, of course, the blog has become its own procrastination.
Still, I do write. When I look back I have 30 or so completed stories. A few years ago, I’m not sure when, I decided to switch from largely science fiction/magic realism stories to concentrate on a book worth of fly fishing short stories. Don’t worry, under the skin no fishing story is ever about fishing. And then, somewhere along the line, I realized that the stories were falling under different genres: a love story, magic realism, noir, farce, a beating-the-devil tale. So, I started thinking about that more consciously. My murder mystery was not just a murder mystery, but a classic locked-room mystery. I decided to write a classic poaching story, a staple of fishing literature, and made it a flash fiction piece to boot. My second poaching story became a farce which I am in the middle of and long overdue to finish. I serialized a classic Golden Age science fiction story on Facebook, which I will post here as soon as I fix all of the huge problems with it.
This decision has been a great exercise. Along the way, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about writing. Various influences (John Spasari, Clayton Emery) have gotten me to study movie story theory, which I have found very applicable to the short story and solves a lot of problems I previously could not write around. Die with a Human Heart, the piece I originally posted on Facebook, has been rattling around inside my head since I dreamt it in college. It’s definitely the story I’ve worked the hardest on. First, because it didn’t come to me complete like most stories and I had to make it up from a decades old dream and add the fly-fishing component to it. Second, because, well it was a hard story to tell and I wasn’t half the writer I needed to be to tell it.
I also decided, I’ve also had some pretty interesting adventures of my own, so I’m separating the fiction out with the true stories. Well, as true as a fishing story can get. You may recognize these as blog entries. Interestingly, this came from the fact The Very Cruelest Thing was based in fact.
I wouldn’t be doing this if there hadn’t been a lot of people who have really convinced me to keep at it. Rhonda, my muse, whom I should’ve listened to a lot more on everything, and whom I really hope to collaborate with some day. She was, and always will be my muse. John Spasari who changed his life to follow his writing dream. Loren and Ellen Goodman who didn’t really know me well enough to be stroking my ego. Beth Alison who probably “gets” my stuff better than anybody. My sister, Beth, who is published, prolific, and very talented. We have, in fact, finished one children’s’ book already. Mark Hoffman whom I used to work with and give him stories I’d complete between emails. He was the one who convinced me to take my detective character to novel length. His opinion means a lot to me as he is a published author of a very good book Moanin at Midnight. Because of him, my detective character is now in two more stories, one a thriller (The Devil Knows), the other I’m trying really hard to get to novel length (Black Flies at Night). In stretching them out, I’ve decided to use backstories based on actual conservation issues, something dear to the heart of any fly fisherman. Finding these stories and researching them in detail has been much harder than coming up with the mystery itself (if you’ve got ideas…). They were also the stories I started to think of as movies in my head as I wrote them
So, these are all drafts, in a place that makes it easy for me to work on them, and with luck where I’ll get some great feedback. New stories should be coming soon. I hope to finish Die with a Human Heart very soon. And I’m writing Michael Kilkenny’s Wake directly here as an experiment. I have another farce with albino steelhead, Bill Gates, a stolen yellow Ferrari, and Tina Turner. Just got to remember that dream. Still Falling, the title story is nearly done. I finally figured out how to add secondary navigation so you can see when knew ones arrive, as updates don’t show up in the publicizing features.