Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Talking to Myself

I've been living alone for the last 12 years, and fishing alone for much of that time.  The auto-conversations
 started soon after this lengthy exile, and continue to this day.  I'm so used to it I don't pay it much mind.  At home I know I'm talking to myself, but on the river, I'll often pretend I'm talking to the fish, cursing the bugs, or blessing the river. But it's all just one long note to self. 
That's not to say that I don't have friends and fishing buddies.  There's Stevie, the Mad Captain, Terrance, the Terror of Echo Valley.  There's Phil the boatbuilder.  Keith the Kayaker. Tim, Andy, Eddie, Al- you all know who you are.
Most of the time it's just me, wandering off to the woods or rivers to do my thing.  I've done this since early childhood, and am grateful to have lived in a time and place where it was ok to send your eight year old outside to play for the entire day with no one asking where I went, with the only stipulation being that I be home by dinner time.  So I'm pretty sure the externalization of inner thoughts started then.

I'm not talking to myself as much anymore, and sometimes it bothers me.  Sure it's nice to be heard, listened to, even acted upon.  But really, who ever paid attention?

I'm blaming the Internet.  I've joined Facebook, for instance.  At first I connected with people I knew personally, and all seemed swell.  Then one day I decided to start networking in the fishing community.  Fairly early on I exchanged a couple of posts with a well-known guide about where we had fished the night before, and man did I hear about it.  In the past, I've told all kinds of people where I go, what I use, the size and number of the fish I catch- no one ever seemed to care, and I certainly never ran into these people parked in my favorite spots.  Now to hint of anything I do seems to land me in hot water.

The same with this blog.  I'm used to talking, and not being answered.  So Imagine my surprise when Kirk Werner, the Unaccomplished Angler himself, commented on my blog post of yesterday.  I had hinted at a negative reaction on my part to his children's books, and he called me out on it.  Awkward! It never occurred to me that he might actually bother to read something I wrote.

I'm used to reading books, watching TV, buying magazines, consuming their contents, bloviating in my self-important manner, and moving on.  Until now, those people never heard me.  They were Other, they dwelt in a realm apart from my existence and certainly couldn't be bothered with my thoughts.

Much is made of the internet, of globalization, networking, communicating.  I go to the outdoors to escape all that, and I come back and share it with you because I would like you to join me.  I want you to see how wonderful and peaceful it all is, a shelter from the pundits, politicians, 24-hr news, Friending, Tweeting, traffic, Survivor, and that Theater of Horrors, American Idol (comments from Simon Cowell will automatically be deleted).  My mind, our minds need a rest from all of that, and nothing soothes it like green leaves, flowing water, the smell of watercress, red and black spots on an electrum flank.  I need to go and talk to myself.
don't you feel better already?

I'm trying to adjust to this great interconnected world of ours and keep my sanity.  It's thrilling to be able to communicate with anyone anytime- especially with anglers, guides, TV personalities, tiers and authors I admire.  I'll just have to remember that nowadays, it seems like everyone is listening.


  1. Does this mean there will be no sharing of insider info on UP brook trout streams?

  2. I could do it as and act of revenge. The truth is that I've never done very well in the UP. It's and odd place with different geology and weather, a lot of the streams are infertile. The truth is, I haven't scratched the surface there, and most of my trips there have been kayaking trips.


  3. Ah, I'm actually going up there to pick up a kayak and go on a kayak tour of the Pictured Rocks Lakeshore.
    I've looked at the DeLorme MI atlas that shows the different streams and has a key to what species are supposedly in each stream. I was really hoping to catch a Brookie up there, but I'll fly fish for anything. I'm really a Smallmouth bass fanatic so I'm flexible. Maybe I could ask you about some particular rivers and you could say "yay" or "nay." I really don't trust the atlas.

  4. @ Jay- you'd have to contact me privately concerning the fishing, as it seems every thing I say gets scrutinized these days. I can point you in the right direction.