Thursday, April 5, 2018

Taking the Show on the Road

At left, overloaded truck from the Beitbridge highway (Zimbabwe) as photographed by Macvivo in 2006. Image hosted on wikicommons.

Thanks, Macvivo.

It's time to address the baggage issue and get the Amber Liquid show on the road.

I've been hiding from the ink pot. I've a lot of work to do finishing some fiction projects and then there is a non-fiction bit that needs attention.

Nothing for it but to get to work and churn out prose line by line.

Writing is a type of disease that infects your soul. It's as bad as rain on Saturday three weeks ahead of the opener.

The river pulls to you and you find your hand forming a grip around cork as you drive to the hardware store. Maybe your off hand makes a gesture of handling line while you're at your desk.

You stop on the bridge and look at the river until the minivan behind you provides the "blatt" of encouragement to move on ... You relive that one fish from last fall you should have landed but who  won the fight of the driftwood snag above Daisy Bend.

The stories come back. I find myself with works from two decades ago in my head and the prescience of writer-ly tricks I will use to resolve the flaws that relegated the story to the "later" bin of the great incomplete. 

I've got work to do.


I'm having an additional batch of winter here in lieu of spring. Snowing this morning as I write this.

I've been wallowing with the Amber Liquid dilemma. Our group covers a wide range of competencies and interest. I'm pretty much "trout happy" and define my year by time on the water.

Not so with everyone.

Trout outings need to hold more than "fishing with Jack" to really generate interest. Part of that is our level of mastery. Part of it is the pressure of vocation, family, competing interests.

Everyone loves a good time. Trout angling needs to consistently be that good time to justify the continued investment by our crew. These guys don't know yet why old bears end up solitary figures ... the connection to others of their kind naturally wanes with age. You have to fight that tendency. You have to work to maintain connections. Otherwise, you sit in the cave with a pocketful of "I wounder where Stu ended-up ?" questions.

I'm turning to professional help.

Turns out, there is a a whole profession of highly skilled commercial anglers who provide coaching and a mix of guile and local knowledge necessary to create the "happy outing" in fly fishing.  (There's an entire other profession dedicated to happy outcomes who are not commercial fisherman. Mostly, this second group works for a set of Scottish distilleries.)

I'm going to co-opt these commercial angling individuals into my plan to turn treasure and time into happiness.

It helps that trout live in "happy places" to borrow a Bob Ross-ism. There are often bars close to these places, too. That helps.

We'll make new stories and disrupt new civilizations ... 

We're going to go to beautiful locations. We're going to sample local culture and meet new eccentric people. We're going to catch fish.

I think that last part is probably the least important for the Amber Liquid crew. They like "catching" but they like a good time more. Catching is merely the justification for the time on the water. The stories off the water hold more interest.

Hey, something for me .... something for them.

We can have adventure and find a few minutes for fishing, too.

Maybe some of that leads to photos they can share on the social media pages. Yea, clearly there's something to that I don't understand in that. I don't have a "social" media account. I favor the monograph as a preferred means of communication.

As a bum writer, I'm fine locking myself in the laundry room late at night toiling alone in obscurity in order to convey deeply personal sentiments to a mass audience I'll probably never meet. Yep, something very wrong with us. Very, very wrong.

I have a wife. Pretty much covers my social media exposure because there's nothing like a wife to relate details of the lives of others which you just don't give a shit about.

I mean, do I really care about someone else's cat? Really? I hear about it though. Just like you.

Probably the bear genes again.

I'm not going to my grave saying that the most memorable scenes of my life came as I drove by something on vacation. 

Mine will be the smell of spruce before dawn in the still morning on a Canadian wilderness lake. Maybe the knowledge of how loud rapids really are when you try to sleep beside them. Oh, the sound downed timber makes when a black bear rends logs to splinters just over the hill.

I'll have to include the feel of a horse dancing six feet to the right under you as a pheasant flushes in the hanging fog and you're half-asleep in the saddle.

I'm getting the boys on the road. I'm getting help from professionals.

People have told me I should turn to professionals for help.

I'm taking the advice.


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