I Wonder if Queen Elizabeth Will Remember Me

When I was in the fourth grade my family moved from Dallas to London where I attended an American school. My teacher was named Sheila Ihde and I absolutely worshipped her. Previously she taught for many years at St Albans, the prestigious boys school in Washington DC, so I think she was tickled to have girls as students and I was quite the teacher’s pet.

Elementary school teachers are supposed to be well-rounded and fairly democratic in their passion for various subjects, but let’s face it, every teacher has a certain bent and Ihde’s was writing. Apparently I showed some promise early in the year as she was very bullish about my writing skills. She’d rave and coo and spend extra time editing my little red composition books which I would fill with as many words as I possibly could, utterly convinced more was better.

One day Ms Ihde announced that there was going to be a creative writing contest. Students were to submit a Halloween-themed short story and the BBC was going to select the two best writing samples to be read on BBC radio on Halloween.

I won.

Technically some other kid “tied” with me as his story would be read on the radio as well, but in my mind, I won. It was most exciting thing that ever happened to me.  I was a writer. A real live writer. Broadcast all across Britain, perhaps even to Buckingham Palace. I had visions of Queen Elizabeth inviting me to tea, desperate for me to sign a copy of my short story.

I knew in the 4th grade I wanted to grow up and become a writer. Yet I cringe at how many years (decades even) I spent not pursuing that passion. It makes me sentimental considering Little Chick is now in the 4th grade. Does she have ideas that are shaping her adult soul as we speak?

I can’t even recall what my 4th grade winning story was about. I remember my parents laughing about it a lot, saying it had a very “O’Henry” ending. Maybe I killed everyone off? I don’t think it ended pleasantly. Foreshadowing the future doom and gloom and romantically depressed tales I would output years later in college.

I did study Creative Writing for four years at Carolina. Despite studying under the best of the best, Southern writer Doris Betts who absolutely hung the moon as far as I was concerned, I still managed to get off track from my writing immediately after graduation. I found corporate life and marriage and motherhood and writing went by the wayside.

But over the past few years I have slowly been chipping my way back to my old childhood dream. I started a blog, having zero idea what a blog even was. Tom Chandler from The Trout Underground found it and encouraged me to start a fishing blog. I resisted for a bit but he was enthusiastic and I was feeling somewhat fearless so lo and behold this site was born.

And thanks to yall, this place has some life to it! It’s been a treat and a gas to share stories about fishing and other non-fishing adventures as they unfold. Which is why I am particularly excited to share a bit of news with each of you. (This is way better than the BBC radio.)

Tosh Brown of Departure Publishing has decided to publish a book of mine. It’s official, he just announced it yesterday. He wants me to document my year of training and preparation for the Texas Water Safari in a funny, raw, genuinely-me sort of way. So it’s happening. I’ve already submitted 15 chapters and the editing process has begun.

Of course I have no idea how the story is going to end until we actually get the race behind us but hopefully we will fare better than the characters in my BBC short story.

I wouldn’t have had that opportunity in 4th grade without Sheila Ihde cheering me on. Similarly I wouldn’t have this opportunity with Departure Publishing without each of you cheering me on….tuning in, leaving comments, laughing along at the stories I share on this site. I am so grateful and hope I can make you proud with this next adventure!


15 Responses to “I Wonder if Queen Elizabeth Will Remember Me”
  1. Monty Montana says:

    Proud hell…we done passed that milestone. Marry me, please…oh shit what am I saying I am already married and the “little redhead” wouldn’t be to keen on another cook in the kitchen.
    So how aboout this…I get to carry you on my shoulders at the parade, “celebrating” the release of your book.
    Now if this is going to take place…someone is going to have pony up some CUPCAKES…a man needs his strength.
    This may sound corny…but I can see the grin on your face in every sentence of the story…congrats.

    Now how do the say it? Stroke, Stroke

  2. Rodster says:

    Chick – - I read Tosh’s announcement first thing this morning on his site and was very pleased and excited to find out you’re putting your magic into a book. I’ve already ordered 5-copies of “Four Days in Hell.” Now get to work! Best fishes, Rod

  3. Sagebrush says:

    Well well…. congratulations.
    Will there be pictures inside of Drunken flyfishingphotojournalistauthors laying amongst furry plush stuffed animals?
    ‘Cause if’n so, I’d buy a copy.

    Great news, can’t wait.

  4. Bjorn says:

    That’s fantastic. TC and the Underground have been a source of inspiration for me… he lives in my home town, fishes my home waters. Very cool on the book deal. I look forward to reading it.

  5. Itchy Dog says:

    That’s pretty much cool as all GET OUT! Congrats to you, FFC, and here is to much success as a big shot author in the years to come.

    You write really good.

  6. Harry says:

    Fantastic news! And you were beginning to wonder if your writing was ever going to lead to anything!

    We (you’re loyal readers) never had a doubt. We’re all proud of you.

    Cupcakes for everyone!

  7. Bryce says:

    FFC, I stumbled across your blog few months back and have fell in love with the way you tell a story. Your love of life comes through loud and clear, not to mention there’s just something about a chick who LOVES to fish. I live in Oregon and reading your fishing tales has made me wonder why I haven’t made an effort to get to Montana yet! It is great you fish with your parents and daughter too. I have my own “little chicks” and dude that I hope will learn to cast a fly. My wife says she just likes being the photographer.

    I think it is amazing you have this opportunity to write a book! Maybe this could be the start of a new adventure. Well, thanks for sharing a little of you with the world.

    Tight lines,

  8. Mike Herron says:

    Hi Chick once again our fearless leader has taken a turn. Isn’t it funny how life throws you a curve ball that turns in to something else. One minute you’re paddling and the next you’re writing a book about the journey to get to paddling. I am impressed by your writing and have been from the first time I read one of your adventures. I have thought many times about doing what you are doing writing about something I love. I just find it hard to get away from the water. I fish by myself often it is a solitary journey for me. I don’t know anyone that has fished for fifty years and loves it as much as I do. I am sure there are many men and woman out there that feel like I do. I just don’t know any. In the last month I have fished from PA Lime stone to Co free stone. The numbers have been spectacular all released unharmed. Standing in cold water with aspens gold all around or the multi color hard woods of the east. Casting your fly dodging one leaf after after another. Watching the end of your fly line for the slightest twitch as it returns back to your rod tip. I love it so chick, I can’t even begin to tell you how much. Thank you all for listening to my rambling. Chick what ever you write will be great and I’m buying what you’re selling. Have a great week Tight Lines……. Mike

  9. Good news! Still, I’m concerned – 15 chapters and you haven’t even hit the hard training yet, which means you’re officially writing a trilogy.

    And remember, when the Hollywood types come calling, you want a percentage of the gross, not the net…

  10. Murdock says:


    Woot! Can’t wait to read it!

  11. Kara says:

    Congrats. That is very exciting. Can’t wait for the final outcome.

  12. bill farnum says:

    Congrats! That is really cool, I would love to talk to you about the process as I have the same passion for writing and have an idea I would like to get into publication. Mentioned it to Tosh in an email and hopefully I’ll get some time to makie it happen someday!

  13. From A. Wannabe Travelwriter to a legit one…nice.

    Down the road…make that, down the river, please post your world book signing tour schedule.

    Hopefully after your voyage you will have enough arm strength to sign your books.

  14. Thank you all SO VERY much for all the well-wishes. It is quite exciting.

    Reading your comments is just the inspiration I need to quit stalling this morning and get back to my writing. miles to go!!

    again….a thousand thank you’s dear friends!!!!

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  1. [...] I love to fish, I love to fish with my daughter, and I love to write. Let’s not forget it was a writing contest in the 4th grade in 1980 that kickstarted my lifelong goal to become a [...]

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