I had email from a young man this morning who used to play hockey for me — long long ago. He’s working on a novel and says he keeps re-writing the same 100 pages. I gave him the advice someone gave me a long time ago: Write the story through so that you have a full manuscript to work with. Most people who start out to write novels never get a full draft done and end up spinning their wheels trying to get each word and sentence perfect. If that works for you, great. But if you tell me you keep going over the same material and getting nowhere, I suspect it’s time to get the draft done, then go back and do the things you need to do. Another piece of advice: Once that first draft is finished, put the damn thing in a drawer and leave it there for at least a month. When you go back to it, you will see it differently.
So, writing was the first subject, but then my friend pointed out that he sees very few young people fishing; he lives in a fishing paradise on the west coast. Neither of us got our fishing bug from our fathers, so there has to be some sort of ancient gene from the hunter-gatherer days that propels some of us. And most people in know who my age , or even a little older, have few outdoor interests and seldom venture far from golf courses or backyard patios. Perhaps the gene for the outdoors is being bred out of Americans? The answer to what gets people out there? Got me: It’s a mystery.
And it makes rivers less crowded for those of us who do get out there.