clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lucky Read

I have an uncle who would call things that he found to be useful a "lucky read." I enjoyed that phrase and will probably use it forever.

He was the same uncle who enjoyed changing words (snattlerake for example in referencing our local rattlesnakes). He was quite the eccentric. He was also an oil company owner and tool pusher in his earlier days. If you need a character who is all-go no-stop and for whom God himself would do as he was told on a drilling platform, talk to a tool pusher.

Back to Lucky Reads.

I've had a couple this week. My pile of TinHouse material is quite nice. However, in a sojourn to a favorite book haunt I bought an armload of books and the latest _Gray's Sporting Journal_. Look at the profile and you'll see I have a thing for fish. [ Large symbolic fish, thank you very much Steve Almond].

Ron Carlson has a fiction article in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue called "Six-Pound Test." The story is an extremely nice piece of craft from where I stand. He also has his protagonist express exactly why fishing and writing are so linked in my mind. I will quote here:

Miles before he returned to his room and his writing, he thought about it all, how there is always something in a real life that calls to us: desire, hope, some fish. He had his story and he had to be careful with it.
I've been in Canada with a light six pound rig holding a ten pound fish on seventy square kilometers of nearly open water. It's the sort of experience where even the slight bobbing of the boat can over-stress the line and create heartbreak from joy. You and your boat partner have to move easily and not roll the boat about with your preparations in readying the landing net.

I enjoyed Mr. Carlson's work immensely. I enjoyed it to the point where, upon finishing and looking out the window to reflect, my wife saw my face and asked if anything was wrong. I said "no." She said she didn't believe me.

You and your characters have to move easily and not roll the reader about with your preparations to land the plot. It's exactly the same as managing a glorious fish on six-pound test. (4X tippet, in my case).

Gray's Sporting Journal.

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