Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trout fishing. Or found along the way

There's a Safeway receipt tucked between pages of my copy of Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America. I didn't buy the book at Safeway and, odder, it's not really a book about trout fishing. I did go shopping at Safeway though, and the receipt seemed like it could be useful as a bookmark. So "cream cheese" and "Shake n Bake" are extra words hiding between book covers.

Spontaneity is a groove I have stepped inside for notebook scrawl and for this blog. A week ago when I sat down to write I wasn't planning on writing the Christmas post; I had vague, half-formed ideas of writing something else entirely. But as I got writing I followed the strand and that's where it led.

I am a strand follower. Sometimes to the detriment of depth. I'll get following a new strand like a string around the corner, up the stairs, out the window, across the river and up a mountain. Hopefully I'll remember to look around on the trek (and to bring coffee and clean underwear) to see where I've gone, but frequently said trek can get re-routed by another strand found along the way.

Not just any strand will do. Like trout, I am prone to certain kinds of bait, eschewing others, and I will go after them repeatedly. Right now the strands, the bait that has me hooked includes: Charles Simic, Delta blues music, Richard Brautigan, David Shields' book Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, The White Stripes, Terrance Hayes, Christmas trees, the urge to go for a long, grueling trail run on new terrain, co-reading books out loud with our eight-year-old. the lyric essay, C.D. Wright, Skip James, stout beer, found objects, collage and how about "list making" for 200, Alex.

Anyone who stops by here frequently or on Facebook or Twitter is likely already hip to some of these strands. I tend to display the bait I've taken, like a transparent trout inside whom you can clearly make out the swallowed bait.

These strands repeat themselves, they loop over one another, crisscross and actually change and inform each other. They are indicative of the kinds of things that grab me over time and at a given time.

So in the mornings I sit down in the bottom of a lake, river, stream and I try to let the splash settle. I grab on to the chosen bait without any real idea where it will lead. I'm off. And that's pretty cool.

Unless I were a real trout.

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