Sunday, April 1, 2012
Stream Weaver: Living Art with Rod and Reed
I'm an author.
Do you have any idea how odd, and exhilarating, that statement feels? After eighteen months of ripping and tearing with editors, publishers, and my own personal demons, it’s finally a reality and I can spill the beans. I’m an author.
But that statement does not come without a price. To make the admission, I must now make another. I’m also a basket weaver.
While that might raise a few eyebrows, you should not be surprised. Fly fishing and basket weaving fit like hand in glove. Bamboo rod and natural weaving materials come from the same soil – the same earthy center – and their employment elicits the same emotional satisfactions.
They are a perfect compliment to a simple and creative existence – both the active and passive expressions of our connection to our natural surroundings and loftier ideals. Each is rhythmic. Each is subtle. Each is all-encompassing if we allow ourselves to be enveloped within the rudimentary, repetitive motions. The practices are elementary, but each carries within it profound implications that can reach deep into our souls and our lives, if we let them.
That's what Stream Weaver: Living Art with Rod and Reed is all about. The book is a series of essays and images that celebrate the intersection of stream and studio and natural living, some of which you might recognize from previous posts here on Mike’s Gone Fishin’, most of which are new views of life lived deep in the Carolina woods.
To my great surprise, the concept has resonated with everyone who has touched the project, from my new good friend Bob Clauser (who has a secret connection to the woven art, one that I won’t reveal here but that you will learn in his surprising Introduction), to Jeffery Long-Berger (who, honestly, could give a shit about fly fishing but is a weaving god and writes a darn good Forward), to the publisher, Natural Presses, who will print the book on 100% natural kudzu and wisteria fibers and who’s owner, Kevin Smallie, is a member of the 20/20 club – coaxing a 22 inch brown on a #20 BWO from the South Holston last November.
So here’s the pitch. We’re going straight to paperback (fly fisherman and basket weavers are both notoriously frugal, except when it comes to their “gear”), but Kevin thinks we can pre-produce a number of first edition hardbacks for special distribution - coffee table books, if you will - and is ramping up a short-run production process for them. These will be available, before the general publication of the paperback, to family and friends. You, dear readers, having put up with me here for more than three years now, are considered friends.
To sweeten the deal, the first ten pre-orders will also receive a very special gift. I started basket weaving shortly after I started fly fishing because I wanted a creel. I couldn’t bring myself to pay the crazy prices I encountered for them and, with a forest full of natural fibers sitting just outside my door, decided to weave one myself – and was hooked on the craft.
So the first ten friends will get one of my handmade creels. Be forewarned, however, that, as a strict catch and release fisherman, I will lash its top permanently closed so that it cannot be used to actually store fish. But it will definitely look “classic” on your hip. Or on your coffee table. Next to the book.
But here’s where reading Mike’s Gone Fishin’ finally pays off. If, when ordering, you type in the secret regular-reader’s code, you‘ll also receive your choice of a wide-brimmed faux Tilley hat, completing your classic look, or a genuine T.F.M. Comrade baseball cap, for those a bit more hip.
To pre-order your hardback edition of Stream Weaver: Living Art with Rod and Reed, a one-of-a-kind handmade creel by the author (I still get goose bumps when I type that word), and the hat of your choosing (all for a mere $29.99 - credit cards and PayPal happily accepted), go to The Outdoorsman's Bookshelf and type “April Fools” into the special offers box.
I’ll be glad that you did.