Winter Musings

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.

Nose-Pinching Air

Sunday, January Something-or-tuther. Shanny and I took our daily walk this afternoon. Usually he’s off chasing around looking for rabbit or deer scent (best of all: something gross to roll in), but today he stayed close and, by the time we got back, I had to pull snowballs from between his foot pads. He nearly broke the front door down with his nose to get it. Temp today was 12, 1 this morning, a little wind from the west, not bad, but enough to pinch your nose and freeze your eyebrows, reminders of how easy it is in the soft days of summer. When I first moved to Kalamazoo 38 years ago, everyone told me how horrible the winters were. Then we went through the first one, which was the lightest I’d experienced in four years and the locals solemnly adjudged it “moderate.” I just laughed, and told them they’d never seen or experienced REAL winter. After 38 years, they still haven’t. Truth told: I’m not unhappy about that.