Unedited

Some people I respect have counseled me not to write this post. Their advice is sound, so I’ve kept my mouth shut as long as possible. I’ve edited myself despite my on-going frustration. Of course I know they’re right, it’s never worth it to burn bridges. But last night it occurred to me, there actually has to be a bridge there in order to burn it. Now if you’re just here to read about push poling, scroll waaay down and I hope you enjoy! Otherwise, here we go.

Over the past five years I have sunk untold hours trying to get a story in a magazine. Not one magazine in particular, I’ve tried many different mags, many different flavors. I’ve even had one publication decline my story and then publish an eerily similar piece. But more typically the process goes something like this… I like the story but it needs to be longer. What? Hmm, I’ve never seen this story before, we’re only accepting short pieces right now. This is great, we need some new voices. Sorry we’ve already got an article from a woman. We need saltwater stories. Sorry, there are just already too many bonefishing stories out there. This is great piece, you’re saving me, we’ve been looking for something just like this! I’ve got two hours until deadline can you get me a bio and no less than a dozen high-res pictures to go with this? Payment? Do we pay per word or per story? I’m sorry, you’re breaking up on me. [Call dropped.] Can you make the bio shorter? Longer? Can you make it funny? Actually we need a more traditional headshot. Do you have any action shots, this picture is too staid and we have made a strategic decision to be more organic and counterculture moving forward. Can you give me links to at least twenty other sites where I can get some more background on this topic? What do you mean FTP isn’t working? I can’t don’t open zip files. You don’t use Dropbox? WTF? Just download Dropbox on your computer and send everything to me that way. Scratch that, actually we need your article written in fresh bison blood on Egyptian papyrus and flown to us via carrier pigeon, that is simply the only way we accept stories. We have strict new policies at our edgy, organic magazine. And I need it in the next hour. But this is really great writing, this is going to be great, just great. We simply don’t run the typical stuff like everyone else, we are totally different than other magazines, we’re edgier, and this is just what we are looking for. It’s great, really fresh stuff, just great. Oh, sorry, bad news. We had to cut your piece at press time.

And another one bites the dust. This cycle of rejection, at various points in the process, spans different industries and multiple demographics. National magazines, fly fishing magazines, small town startup fashion magazines, big southern lifestyle magazines, regional travel magazines, menopausal women’s magazines, even flyshop newsletters. You name it. The only publication that has actually run an original story of mine is the alumni newsletter for the summer camp I attended, and believe me I am very grateful for it! Although frankly I don’t know how they could have passed on that one, it was a riveting piece about the summer I was a senior counselor and placed in charge of making sure all the girls camp bathrooms stayed clean.

The image of shoveling manure seems an appropriate segue as I have just received yet another Dear John/Christine Email letting me know I was cut at press time – for an article that I wrote because they approached me and asked me to pitch/contribute. To be transparent and totally fair, the editor offered to provide feedback on my piece in the hopes it might run in a future issue. I just wish we’d done that three months ago when I submitted the draft (ahead of their deadline) and asked for feedback and what his editing process would be.

I no longer have hard feelings about my magazine hex. (At least not many.) I have no inflated illusions that my writing is somehow on par with the talent they already have on board, I just don’t have the time or energy to keep jumping through hoops, responding to fire drills, and redefining myself to fit their agendas, only to once again not make the grade, not fit the mold, and have to see one issue after the next hit the stands with the same old clique of contributors. Now within the fly fishing world, many of those contributors are friends of mine and very talented writers, so I get it why they made the traveling team. I just don’t understand why the magazines pretend to want to play in the sandbox with me when we all know at this point it’s nothing more than an exercise in mental square dancing and simply not going anywhere.

When Willie Nelson fled Nashville establishment and landed in Austin, not only did he find more creative freedom, he cut out the middle man that was blocking his path. He took his music straight to audiences in the live music venues that Austin had to offer but Nashville didn’t. Of course I am not comparing my meager efforts with the talent and career of my hero Willie, but it does occur to me I need to count my blessings. First of all, I’m already in Austin and feeding wildly off the vibrant people and creative energy here. And secondly, I already have a venue that cuts out the middle man and gets my writing to an audience that wants to read it: this blog.

I appreciate you all so much. If I don’t say it enough, I am sorry. I am very grateful that yall stick with me through my bizarre experimental topics like the time I wrote about recovering some living room chairs. Yall cheer for me when I catch a fish, and cheer for me when I miss them. Yall have helped me get podcast interviews, radio interviews and countless speaking engagements. You have championed my first book and encouraged me to proceed with the next one. You come out to bookstores to say hello. You have become friends and followers and shared your own work with me. This is clearly where I am most at home…my own little outlaw writing scene, unedited typos, run-on sentences, dangling participles and all.

So I politely declined the editor’s offer to provide feedback on my piece for the unlikely shot at ever seeing it on the glossy pages of a magazine. Not because I don’t think the piece needs work, no doubt it does. I simply have too much on my plate with Book #2, new speaking gigs, upcoming podcasts, parenting, wifing, and a slew of unanswered emails and phone messages that desperately need attention. Plus the pay is 10x better here at FLY FISH CHICK than it is with the magazines. So in the spirit of getting cut, I am cutting out the middle man and handing the push pole story over to yall just as it is. Why should I make you wait another three months, at best, just to have you pay for a story yall deserve to read now for free. Hell, you deserved in it September when I wrote it. Mea culpa for getting caught up in the machine. Below you will find the original draft as I submitted it — uncut, untouched, and unedited.

And in the meantime, like Willie, I’m just going to keep on smiling and doing my own thing.

WillieNelson

************************************

ROMANCING THE PUSH POLE

by Christine Warren

Have you ever seen the Chris Rock standup comedy bit about becoming a father to a girl? He groans about what a drag it is to date women with “daddy issues” and then has an epiphany that as The Man in his baby daughter’s life, he has all the influence as to how she’ll turn out down the line. In this crystallizing parenting moment Rock proclaims, “I realize my only job in life is to keep her off the pole! Keep my baby off the pole!”

So we’re supposed to stay off the pole? Whoops.

I don’t know what it says about me that the two most important men in my life, my husband and my father, are all about keeping me on the pole — a push pole that is. I think they’ve seen how advantageous it is for them out in Montana that I can row a driftboat and put them on fish, so now they’re keen for me to be able to push pole a skiff. And I am up for the challenge, anything to spend more time on the water and earn my keep in the boat. Besides, as a 42-year old suburban PTA mom, I seriously doubt anyone is confusing me with a stripper anytime soon.

But it seems that poling around looking for redfish and writing about poling around looking for redfish are two wildly different things. When I told my husband, Tom, that I had the opportunity to write a magazine article about learning how to push pole, he responded adamantly, “Keep it clean. You are a wife and a mother. Nothing inappropriate this time.”

What? Huh? Who, me? Of course I would never shamelessly leverage any glaringly obvious phallic pole imagery in order to hook the reader in, ever-striving to entertain first and foremost. That’s so below my pay grade. Right?

When I told my father that I had the opportunity to write a magazine article about learning how to push pole, he merely replied, “Just get the money upfront.”

Stay off the pole, get on the pole, don’t talk about the pole, the pole is money. What’s a girl to do with all of these mixed messages? What would a psychologist, say…Freud for example, think about all of this? Well of course Freud would claim my desire to learn to push pole is an ambitious display of power driven by a frustrated phallus envy that can be traced all the way back to some psychosexual developmental stage of early life. But let’s be honest, Freud thinks that phallus imagery is everywhere, are we really going to trust that perv? No, we are not. In fact, just the opposite, I am going to prove him wrong. I am going to keep this piece delightfully clean and appropriate. I am going to explore the art of the push pole with ladylike grace and a poetic eye. Screw Freud. (Okay, so the ladylike grace starts… now.) I am going to uncover the romance of the push pole. Consider this an old-fashioned quest to learn how to travel watery trails and stalk the sometimes stupidly cooperative but at other times elusive redfish.

My relationship with the push pole is in a nascent stage to say the least. To this point we’ve just been flirting with the idea of getting to know each other. A few years ago when my now-husband was my then-suitor, our courtship included taking his v-john skiff from his home in Mobile AL just down I-10 into Mississippi to look for reds. On a whim one day he bought a refurbished Stiffy push pole. (Hey, I didn’t name the brand of pole, don’t pin that on me.) The first time I tried my hand at poling was nothing short of hilarious. The pole stayed firmly planted in one place while the boat traveled around it in dizzying circles, round and round, doing 360’s with me squealing for help and Tom holding his rod dutifully as if there might still be a glimmer of hope that this might turn into a fishable moment. Instead you would have thought it was May Day and I was wrapping the push pole with ribbons, readying the monument for the arrival of dancing villagers.

But at some point things clicked and I started moving the boat in the general direction we wanted to go. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, I couldn’t analyze or articulate what started to work, but I could feel the boat respond as I guided us more effectively. My next challenge was to avoid decapitating Tom when I switched the pole from one side of the boat to the other. Or to lower the pole and duck quickly without falling off the platform as he backcast toward the pole and me.

And that’s pretty much how things went for the next few years. Life gets busy traveling back and forth between Texas and Alabama, and we’re always trying to spend as many days as possible trout fishing in Montana. So we don’t have as much time to redfish over in the Pascagoula Marsh as we’d like. Each fall I would return to the push pole a beginner, never really advancing to the next level. And each fall I would have a moment where things started to work, just in time for winter to shut down our little DIY redfishing program for another year.

Some relationships putter along this way for an eternity but this past May my push-pull romance with the push pole took a dramatic turn. We were in Port O’Connor Texas for Memorial Day weekend on a rented bay boat when we found a push pole floating in the water. It was another Stiffy, but a longer, heavier version than the one we own. Our goal was to return it to the marina and its rightful owner, but we didn’t have a method to tie it down on the rented boat. So while we were running from spot to spot, I put my leg over the push pole in order to keep it from bouncing all over the place. If I have learned anything useful about push poles, it is that you should use an inanimate object to secure it on the boat, not a body part. Because as we hit some waves and the wind scooped under the front of the pole, it snapped around my ankle in the blink of an eye.

That’s right, a push pole folded around my ankle and cracked in half so fast and so forcefully that it broke into two separate pieces. Oh, and it also broke my ankle.

So after many weeks in a boot cast during prime Montana trout fishing season, followed by several weeks of physical therapy, the summer was pretty much over and I was staring the Gulf Coast redfishing season right in the eye. Fall…time to get back on the poling platform. I was a little shaky wondering if my ankle was strong enough to flex and push and bear the subtle weight shifts that come along with poling. I was nervous about my balance, which was still questionable post ankle break. Most of all, I had the negative push pole mojo swirling inside my head. Did I still have the magic touch or since the ankle incident was I on the outs with the push pole gods?

I decided for the first time I would actually do some research and learn more about poling instead of just shooting from the hip without instruction. But it’s not as easy as you’d think to find information about how to push pole. I started asking people who do it on a regular basis. The common refrain was, “It’s just a feel thing.” Hey, thanks for nothing, Mr. Miyagi. I think I’ll pass on the blindfolded push pole lesson.

While no one could really tell me how to push pole, I heard a great deal about the variety of materials used to make push poles: aluminum, fiberglass, graphite, composite. I heard about using a longer push pole in deeper tarpon water, shorter poles in shallow water fishing…how it’s all about leverage. Some prefer stiffer poles, some more flexibility. And the perfect poling platform? Also personal preference. Some people like a railing system to keep them from falling off the platform, while some people call this a “Sissy Cage”. There was much discussion on when to use the Y end of the pole and when to use the point. Most concur the Y end is for soft muddy bottoms, while the point is for harder rocky bottoms. The Y gets stuck in the mud easily and requires a big pull to get it out, and either end can scrape over oyster beds making noise and spooking fish.

All useful data points, but still, no one really taught me how to steer.

I turned to youTube and queried “how to push pole”. I found a video with a cabling expert who used a push pole device to drag cable across a ceiling. I found a few videos showing how to anchor a boat with a push pole. And plenty of videos on how to perfect dance moves on a pole. Keep my baby off the pole. None of these were helpful.

Articles online were abundant but incredibly confusing. Most included some hyper complex diagram with the boat and currents and wind and so many arrows pointing in so many directions I thought I was going to short circuit. I actually kinda sorta knew how to do this but literally couldn’t understand one single diagram. The only thing I found online that made any sense was a forum post on Fisheyesoup.com by a Captain Tony Petrella who offered these and other valuable tips:

1. “If you want to turn left, you stab the pole into the sand, mud or oysters on the left side of the boat. To turn right, you stick the pole on the right side. To go straight ahead, you position the pole directly behind the motor.” He’s right about this, and it’s clearly the foundation for steering. But I have also found you can subtly override this program by pushing gently with one foot or leaning into or away from the pole with your hips and that can sometimes steer the boat without having to reposition the pole. This is useful if you are trying to be stealthy in fishy territory and only need to make a slight course correction.

2. “Keep the sun behind you whenever possible, and try to avoid poling directly toward a puffy white cloud.” Maybe this will help you but it’s too advanced for me right now. I am just trying to get wherever the fish are.

3. “Wind direction determines whether or not you’ll be able to pole along a shoreline or oyster bar without getting beached. Don’t let stubbornness overwhelm common sense. Remember: the wind always wins.” Truer words, Tony, truer words…

Armed with new advice and tangible tips I was ready to make my comeback with the push pole. One year and one broken ankle later, I was eager to pole the creeks in the marsh and set Tom up on his first redfish of the season.

Unfortunately, my grandiose plan was more of an epic fail. I was a disaster on the pole, perhaps worse than the very first time I did it. I couldn’t get in the swing, and the wind was toying with me like a cat batting around a little yarn toy. Tom offered advice, I snapped, “I got it!” The confusing diagrams I’d seen online were flashing in my mind like images from a horror movie. Stubbornly I tried the pole on this side, then the other, then behind, then on the left, then again on the right as we drifted further and further away from the grassy bank we were trying to fish. Finally Tom commandeered the pole and got us back on the bank, setting things up for me to give it another shot.

“Speed,” I spat out like a coma patient starting to wake back up. “I forgot, I need more speed. The only way to survive the wind is if the boat is moving fast enough. Otherwise I’m a sitting duck.”

I scrambled back onto our poling platform which is a 65-quart Yeti cooler, strapped down. I always redfish barefoot so I can feel the line if it gets under my foot, and similarly I like to pole barefoot so I can feel the adjustments of the boat. Suddenly, just as it had happened in the past, things started to click. I had enough speed, I was holding the bank. It was all coming back to me…there is no such thing as a straight line, you have to keep making subtle corrections. But don’t overcorrect or you will serpentine. Get your whole body into it, it’s less about the arms and shoulders and more about the flex in your hips and legs. Push down on this foot and glide the boat slightly this direction. Bend this knee, stick out that hip and lean into it…the boat glides over that way a bit. Kind of like water skiing. Move the pole over to the opposite side with a graceful little move…I didn’t bang the side of the boat or make a even peep of a noise. It was fluid, I was in a groove. The push pole and I were back in love again! I started singing in my head to the rhythm of the poling. I rocked a little Al Green ‘Let’s Get it On’, then some ‘Funkytown’ lyrics, and a little bit of Michael Jackson’s ‘Ease On Down The Road’. That’s right, I put the soul in push polin’.

Tom spotted redfish feeding on a bank across a small inlet, so it was time to move the boat with a sense of urgency. I dug the Y end of the push pole into the soft mud directly behind the motor in order to maintain a straight course. I tweaked the angle of the boat ever-so-slightly based on the direction the fish were moving. I was setting Tom up perfectly, he would have a great shot. But I sensed I needed to pick up the pace so I pushed off with a little extra muscle. The pole resisted when I pulled it back out but I was unstoppable. We were a team, the pole and I, grooving together in perfect sync. A few more strong pushes and the boat accelerated. I pushed down into the mud even harder trying to step on it, but this time the Y end of the pole was really stuck the mud. So I yanked with all my might to dislodge it. Unfortunately the pole and I weren’t in quite as much love as I thought we were, nor in sync. The pole stayed wedged right where it was while I managed to forcefully catapult myself forward off the cooler and straight into the air.

I think I actually hung there for a bit, frozen in time over the boat. I am pretty sure I was in some awkward, frog-like crouched position when I realized in horror that I wasn’t going to fall into the cushy water, but the hard center of the boat. All I could think about was protecting my recently healed right ankle. So I stuck out my left foot and came crashing down into the bottom of the boat with the most inelegant landing and a violent scream to match. I landed full force onto the heel of my left foot, which instantly burned in pain.

“Oh baby!” Tom yelled as he abandoned the casting platform (which is a 35-quart Yeti cooler, strapped down) and came to check on me. Once I assured him nothing was broken this time, he rescued the push pole that, untethered, was now floating out to sea.

Tom looked wistfully at me, “Have you had enough?”

Crumpled in a pile in the bottom of the boat and feeling thoroughly dejected, I answered honestly, “Definitely.” Keep this baby off the pole.

I suppose some romances don’t follow a fairytale outline, some things just aren’t written in the stars. But even with the sting of this bittersweet rocky relationship, my push poling career is not over, not by any means. I simply have a lot more to learn. What can I say? I’m just a trout girl trying to make it in a saltwater world.

After my less-than-subtle fall from grace, we figured we’d spooked every redfish in the Gulf Coast and so we retreated to land. There I was limping away from yet another push pole and nursing a deep heel bruise that according to the Internet would weeks later become full blown plantar fasciitis. We sought consolation in the form of comfort food at a nearby gas station which has become our post-fishing routine. It’s a local hotspot called PAPA ROCKS that has a sign out front that boasts “World Famous Hot Dogs.” Now as much as I typically relish this tradition I found it somewhat hard to believe that a hot dog was the panacea for my bruised heel and ego. I mean really…a hot dog is going to make me feel better? A hot dog is going to lift my spirits? A hot dog is going to improve my self esteem?

That’s right, a hot dog. I suppose Freud was right all along.

fly fish chick hot dog

 

(Copyright 2012 by Christine Warren)

Comments
54 Responses to “Unedited”
  1. Erin Block says:

    Hell yes! Fantastic. (And I’ve had much the same experience with the “print glossies”). Keep on keepin’ on, another songwriter once sang…
    Erin Block recently posted.."The View from Coal Creek: Reflections on Fly Rods, Canyons and Bamboo"My Profile

  2. Thanks so much Erin! That means a lot coming from such a powerful voice in the fishing/writing realm. most importantly, CONGRATS on YOUR book!!!! I know the world has been waiting with eager anticipation and your accomplishment is much deserved. you’re a modern day poet, friend. I know the book will be a red hot success.

    CHEERS!

  3. Eric Thorson says:

    Christine,
    The push pole may not be your thing, but writing surely is. You can post on our website ANYTIME. We don’t pay well (actually, we don’t pay at all), but Ryan and I volunteer to be the most unbiased of judges if you ever need a rematch in determining the most talkative member of the Warren family.

  4. FFC,

    Great stuff indeed. Liberation from the machine is indeed what the blog is all about. Kudos for bringing this to your tribe.

    No doubt you wanted the magazine piece for greater exposure and, hopefully, bigger and better projects. By being loyal to us the followers, continuing to produce great content, and stoking the fires of your own tenacity, your clout and following will continue to grow. I have no doubt about that. The irony of the entire thing is that by continuing to do what you do and gaining momentum, all those magazines will come crawling back to you in due time. By being the outlaw, Willie gained success and devout following that Nashville could never have delivered.

    Stay the course. Stay true. Stay outlaw.

  5. yall are going to make me cry. these two recent comments are from two of the coolest guys I know

    Eric — you got it. 2013 we’ll come up with a wildly (or at least mildy) inappropriate guest post for your blog. and vice versa…you and ryan can post on FFC about whatever you like. maybe we should all get on the phone and record a podcast with The Talk Off: A Rematch.

    Ritchie — you rock, cuz. Thanks for waving the flag and cheering me on. you’ve always been there for me and I REALLY appreciate it! and I love the new tagline…stay the course, stay true, stay outlaw…

  6. Rebecca says:

    Christine,
    I have a strong desire to give you a standing ovation right now =)

    Well said. Well written. Authentic and Genuine.
    As a potential reader of said magazines, they blew it by not bring a new (and already well established!) voice to their publications. Their loss…

    My gain today.

    Standing up….
    Rebecca recently posted..Fly Fishing VenturesMy Profile

  7. prissy crowe says:

    You go girl! I love the idea of contest as to who is the most talkative member of the Warren clan…..I would like to be there for the judging…..and I can bet the result would be more talking as to why one beat out the other!!! Then there would have to be another rematch….. and well you get the picture! Have a great December… and keep on keepin us entertained!

  8. love the shoutouts from the LADIES!

    Rebecca — I can’t thank you enough. I am feeling the love. truly.

    Prissy — as always, you are steadfast. you know I can TALK (we warrens are anything but pithy) but I generally try and keep it peaceful and walk the line. thanks for letting me veer off course today

    cheers girls.

  9. Kev says:

    Dang, as sad as I am to hear about your magazine publishing woes. I’m happy I was able to read this story it was great. You had me the whole time wondering if you were going to get the boat to those reds and set up a perfect cast. I really like the reality in your writing and you do a great job of making the reader right there in the moment with you.
    Kev recently posted..Free TU Membership for Female AnglersMy Profile

  10. Steve Z says:

    I would have liked it better if it was 200 words longer, 300 words shorter and did not have any punctuation save for exclamation points and ellipsis….

    Other than that, it was a wonderful piece.

    Except for the words. Please exclude those in the future.
    Steve Z recently posted..Save the Farmington, Send an EmailMy Profile

  11. Kev — appreciate it! glad you liked it. and thanks for promoting TU’s offer for free one-yr membership for all new women members. it’s a cool deal, they are doing a good thing.

    Steve Z — touche, very fun. no one has ever accused me of being short-winded!! thanks for commenting and power on with your conservation efforts. I tend to agree with your stance on water diversion and precedent. each situation is unique I suppose, but I hope your campaign pulls through
    The Fly Fish Chick recently posted..UneditedMy Profile

  12. Preach it, sister! I’ve blogged for over 5 years, finished a Masters thesis about swamps, and write about fish, fishing, wetlands, streams, ducks, and duck hunting as part of my job. Fished and hunted my entire life (38 years) on the coast of three states, save 18 months in the NC mountains. And yet, some 23 year old with an English degree from Saginaw Valley State University, who’s been living on the coast for like 11 whole days is going to tell me that my writing doesn’t “convey the coastal experience.”

    Yeah ooooohkay.

    Keep doing what you do. The right opportunity will come. Probably at the wrong time, but it’ll come :)

  13. Kirk — I don’t know what has me laughing more….your description of the 23-year old editor, or the picture on your blog of you falling in the water in the woods. sorry. I have a pretty immature sense of humor sometimes, and that is flippin hilarious. Thanks for the comment and am happy to know more about your River Mud blog. good luck with Christmas begging. I clearly could use some photograph lessons from you. I think I actually have one of those DSLR cameras of which you speak….am not very adept with it sadly. cheers!!

  14. Melanie says:

    Well now….middle man/woman be damned!! Who needs ‘em? Not me!! Nor you either; stay the course! New project here at Heckert Haus; check it out and help us spread the word, please. Merry Christmas to all! Wish you were here for our annual Holiday Cocktail Party! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1770930951/the-canyon-leader-a-newspaper-for-all-montanans

  15. Okay- this was too painful to read the whole thing. I’ve dealt w a lot of rejection. The big outlets are bastards, and the smaller ones need a comeuppance. What’s a writer to do?

  16. Dan Schneider says:

    Christine,
    Keep on writing. This is the 1st time I have ever made a comment on your site but want you to know that I have read every post for the last four years or so. I can’t wait to read your next post. It always makes me laugh or smile when I read your stuff. I also enjoy any kind of Flyfishing, I love Texas and your choice in music so we have some things in common. Keep up the good work and keep trying. Sooner or later they will have to give you an article in one of the Flyfishing Mags. All of your followers will read it for sure. Have a Great Holiday Season!!
    Dan from Minnesota

  17. AZWanderings says:

    Good for you. Those print magazines are the same ones complaining when their sales are dropping. It seems like they will figure it out way too late, if ever. Keep up the great work here.

    Ben
    AZWanderings recently posted..Book Report: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to ArizonaMy Profile

  18. Melanie — very exciting news about the newspaper project! can’t wait to watch that unfold. I hope the kickstarter campaign works out. msg after the first of the year and I will help communicate about the final push. hate to miss the holiday party with friends in the canyon! merry christmas to all!

    Fontanalis — I clearly feel your pain. it can get so discouraging. it seems at all levels of publishing, no matter how big or small, the writer has turned into a self-promotion machine. I get so tired of hearing myself talk about myself….alas it is the only way I have found to sell books and get word out about in-person events. but I have also found it is SO important to set the “selling” aside and just write for the sake of writing. otherwise I’d die on the vine!

    Dan– thank you so much for sticking with me all these years! am glad you like the music posts….stay tuned friend, there will be many more coming. am so deep in honky tonk research I can barely talk about anything else at the dinner table every night. cheers to you in MN!

    Ben — thanks a million. very cool site you have. am curious how your ebooks are doing? I am fascinated by all self publishing tools that are out there right now. hope all’s well in AZ!

  19. Dan says:

    thanks for sharing & not making us wait – it’s a great (and well written) story….their loss for sure.

  20. James Marsh says:

    What your really trying to do with the magazine people is your trying to push a rope. Ropes pull something very well but it is difficult to push something with one. You are dealing with a bunch of brokes just trying to survive without a chance in hell of doing it. My advise is for you to start your own digital magazine. I admire your ability. You coulde start it quarterly or even yearly, if it’s too much of a load at first. I think you also have an advantage because Ladies seem to be getting more and more interested in fly fishing.

  21. Dan — appreciate the comment. really glad you liked the story. am so glad to get it out to yall!

    James — love the image of pushing a rope. spot on. am going to follow the creative energy where it doesn’t feel so futile. I love the idea of starting a digital magazine, have always toyed with it. it’s just a time issue! at the very least am going to keep growing FFC as a format for lightbulb ideas. I am really interested in starting some FFC podcasts, maybe ven more videos. I have really enjoyed being a guest on other people’s podcasts, so I might start doing my own….in the meantime, really appreciate the vote of confidence!!

  22. Bob says:

    It’s funny that you bring this up now. I have been thinking about this same phenomenon, both as a writer and a reader. I’ve cut way back on my magazine reading because of there isn’t anything new going on out there. I remember reading an article or an interview with WIlie and Waylon discussing why they left Nashville. The comment that stuck with me is that they felt strongly about their message and they didn’t feel that anybody was helping them say it in Nashville. So they went to Texas, did it their way and launched the first platinum country album.

    The point of that background is that you are writng in a time of transition. Your blog offers a much more frequent reading than any magazine, it is more timely and has more personality. The writers that I admire have the ability to make their writing sound like a conversation with the reader. You have that quality in spades! Keep doing what you’re doing! Sorry about the length, but I wanted to make sure the thought! As a final thought – here’s what Waylon had to say about their success. Sounds like you doesn’t it?

    “I think people in Nashville know less about what country is than anybody,” Jennings told John Rockwell of the New York Times. “They limit themselves… If we fought for anything, it was the right to be ourselves and not to be typecast.”

  23. Christine,
    If you can get a copy of the December 10 issue of Time magazine please do so. Read the article by Andrew Rice entitled “The 99 cents Best Seller”. The stories within will sound so very familiar to yours, but these hopeful writers found a way. I think this would be something for you. The heck with stuffy publishing houses. Good luck.
    Barry Shrader recently posted..Personal Trails – A Dog Named DriftMy Profile

  24. Sheila Ihde Murawski says:

    Christine,

    Don’t be discouraged, and don’t EVER give up. I’ve always loved your writing. It’s funny, smart, interesting, folksy, personal, colorful, and all good things. Heck, I ought to know — I was there at the start!

    Sheila

  25. Bob — what an insightful comment! I’m glad you didn’t spare one word, I really enjoyed it. I agree it is a time of transition for writers, I am SO grateful the internet allows me to get out there via the blog and social media. it’s a cool cool thing. love the waylon quote too! “If we fought for anything, it was the right to be ourselves and not to be typecast”

    Barry — thanks for the kind words and I am most certainly going to get my hands on that Time magazine

    Sheila — thirty-two years later and it still feels just as good to hear YOU encourage me about my writing. you weren’t just there at the start, you were the start. very grateful…..

    (for those of you who don’t know the background of this lovefest, the above commenter, Sheila, was my 4th grade teacher in London England. she was The One who inspired me to be a writer. That was 1980. she’s divine.)
    The Fly Fish Chick recently posted..Big Love.My Profile

  26. mia says:

    Christine,

    I’ve cut back back on magazine reading because alot of em alway’s publish the same writers, they need some fresh voices and there’s so many out there. Anyway, Willie’s photo says it all. Keep defining yourself and not letting assholes define who you are or what your going to write. Mia

  27. I like your style sister.

    Grateful for your comment, Mia!

  28. courtney says:

    This is not nearly as cool as Waylon or Willie…but I thought it appropriate (I often find myself returning to it)

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

    You have one of the coolest, funkiest, most entertaining and brilliant voices out there…if the establishment (of sorts) doesn’t get it…it is definitely their loss and our gain. Can’t wait to see and read what comes next – cw

  29. Love you Courtney! really appreciate the kinds words and will hold the steve jobs quote near and dear. was just having a conversation about how APPLE manages to not only stay relevant, keeping up with the groundswell of grassroots change, but manages to be INNOVATIVE and stay ahead of it. the magazines I’ve bumped up against seem to be operating with their backs against the wall and it shows not only in the friend-of-a-friend articles they put out (bloodhounds for the uncovered story they are not), but also definitely in their lame, phone-it-in social media efforts and lack of professionalism. I think it is so cool how Apple saw the music industry trends with napster and limewire and created a product that was legal AND people would pay for because they created something new and of value, outside the traditional music industry paradigm

    I don’t have the same scope of vision, guts and talent, but I respect the hell out of trailblazers like steve jobs, willie and waylon. keeps the fires of gumption and creativity going for me in my own little sphere

    down with Luddites. Onward!

  30. Rich Strolis says:

    I feel your pain. I had a major fly tying magazine, (well major by default, personally think its gone down hill myself) give me the run around on a pretty good piece I did on one my fly patterns. The run around on everything, photos, steps etc. I laid everything out for them and went above and beyond only to get the same responses you did. Screw them, I moved on. Keep your head up and plugging away, your doing great stuff, it will all pan out.

  31. I am really touched with how many of you share my frustrations. as always, I wrote this post with tunnel vision, but the overwhelming support and empathy with this situation is both validating, and inspiring. yall rock. as writers yall have had similar experience. as readers, it seems you want to see more from magazines.

    and I hear ya Rich! I think what has worn me down the most is the lack of professionalism (not returning calls or emails, smug, irritated tone when they do communicate) but they leverage so much free work and bleed the turnip out of us….with little courtesy, responsiveness. I have worked in corporate world, big advertising agencies, small agencies, freelance, not for profits…I have never seen a group get so much good work for FREE. and then act so blase about it.

    Personally, I am just so thankful for blogging and social media so I can not only get my stories out (admittedly to a smaller audience) but also get a DIALOG going with people. It’s gold. Thanks for responding Rich!!

  32. Davud says:

    What this writer lacks in wit she makes up for in excessive verbiage and a crude sense of humor. I can not believe you guys put that picture of Nelson giving the finger. Sophomoric. Such is life.

  33. Dear Davud,

    I couldn’t agree more! She should be fired. I don’t know how her piece slipped through our censorship department, which is usually much more responsible. At the very least, we’ll make sure to pass your comment along to the managing editors of FLY FISH CHICK. You’re in luck, they have an unofficial policy of responding to dissatisfied readers by sending them a gift basket.

    Although, just a word of advice, since you have a sensitive constitution, you may want to stay off the world wide web and I wouldn’t hold my breath on that gift basket.

    (in all seriousness, I have no problem if you don’t like my writing. and I don’t intend to offend anyone, I too find a great deal on the internet offensive. Sorry you experienced that here. I assume this is where we part ways.)

  34. prissy crowe says:

    Dear Davud,
    I am assuming your middle AKA the bird finger slipped and typed a U instead of an I…..those darn middle fingers have a mind of their own…..they show up and act out when we least expect them to!

    Have e great day, and remember we can only control ourselves and poor Willie I am sure ‘accidentally’ threw that finger out there for his public to see! oopsie!

    Haha!!!

  35. Kirk Werner says:

    I’ve given this matter a great deal of consideration and thought—so much so that I delayed in posting my comments until just now. Conclusion: I find most magazine editors are stupud.

  36. Kurk, you got me there buddy. had to read that twice. very nice work friend.

    Prissy, you rock.

    yall are killing me. unexpected wednesday entertainment…

  37. Under the heading of “the more you know,” were you all also aware that the secondary definition for “sophomoric” is “highly pretentious”?

    Davuuuuuuud reminds me of my high school AP english teacher who frequently lectured our parents on how they were failing to prepare us for college. Then his son went to college and majored in GOLF. And subsequently failed out. Of Golf College.

  38. “Of Golf College.”

    hilarious.

    for the record, I did take bowling at the University of North Carolina for one of my two required PE credits. we didn’t have to dress out and it was the only PE in which you could drink beer during class. true story. a rather sophomoric one, but true nonetheless. and actually we were seniors, not sophomores, because it was a very difficult class in which to gain acceptance. (as you can see I am trying to write very formerly now and not end my sentence in a preposition, all the while extending my pinky finger and sipping on a cup of hot tea.)

  39. Mark says:

    Awesome…felt like I was in the boat with ya…in fact..I wish I was in the boat with ya, a good day fishing followed by the opportunity to laugh hysterically with someone (or maybe even at someone..haha) sounds like a good day and a damn good story..

    I wouldn’t wanna waste my time with a magazine that wouldn’t run that story…they must not be right in the head..

    thanks and keep it up!
    -m

  40. Hey, thanks Mark! really glad you enjoyed the story. they’re not all this looong, they’re not even all about fishing, but no matter the topic I just try to tell the story. come back anytime! cheers…

  41. David Hooper says:

    You don’t need no stinkin’ editors! Hell, you’ve got all the beer guzzling, fly fishing, finger-shootin’, hot dog eating, friends a pretty girl could ever want. You keep writing, we’ll keep reading. And again, thank you for sharing your incredible talents to make some of our cloudy days a little bit brighter. We love you.

  42. you had me at pretty.

    incredible talents was icing.

    thanks David! you’re the best. all of yall are THE BEST, i love yall too. you’re all being way too kind. writing stories is truly fun for me, no one couldn’t stop me at this point. I am very very grateful you enjoy reading them, it makes it all the more worthwhile and meaningful.

    now what can I do for yall? anyone else out there got something we all need to read? post the link here, you have an audience….

  43. trutta99 says:

    Fantastic! Good on you. Keep up the great writing.
    trutta99 recently posted..Christmas breakMy Profile

  44. Nome says:

    Excellent…. The female warrior is much overlooked and is finally getting a little light to stand in! Good On Ya Fin Sister!

  45. breambum says:

    Dear Davud, exactly what part of Willie’s message did you not understand?
    FFC, keep on keeping on. easy on the ankles!

  46. Fred Jeans says:

    Thanks for a great read. I too have fought with my push pole and frequently lost. But I learned from these experiences that
    1) some poles are designed to move the boat in a circle (I explain that’s so I can see the fish from another angle) and
    2) my pole is actually possessed and therefore I may have no control over the boat’s direction anyway.
    Your writing style is refreshing, honest and funny and leaves the reader wanting more.
    Fred

  47. April Vokey says:

    Bahaha!!! I f’ing love you!!! Get your ass out here to BC so Ade and I can corrupt you further and let loose mountain style!
    You speak the truth girl and for that I am sincere when from one person/woman/chick/whatever I say to you, thank you for saying it like it is.
    April.

  48. Trutta — thanks friend!

    Nome — like the female warrior image. it’s official, I am going to be much more FEMALE WARRIOR in 2013!

    breambum — I am just now, after so many, months less nervous about the ankle. actually pulled out a few carefully selected high heels for the holidays. believe me, that break was a bummer!

    Fred — thanks for the accolades on my writing! hope you come back and visit, subscribe for emails. I am about to start blogging again more regularly after this long holiday….and yes, my push pole is clearly possessed as well. as is my flyrod, driftboat and trailer!

    April — someday, it IS going to happen. I will get up to BC and we will light the woods on fire. thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it. I appreciate ALL comments but really nice to hear from a fellow person/woman/chick/whatever/badass. even though you didn’t say badass I thought I would generously add that to our title. cheers friend!

  49. Lenny says:

    I’m not really sure how to say this without being offensive, but your writing by itself isn’t really that good. Your personality is interesting and the topics you discuss are interesting, but the writing itself could use some work. I really suggest reading some books on pros and creative writing. There is a difference between creative writing and simply writing about what interests you. I think that if you bridge that gap no magazine will be able to turn you down. Good luck and I hope you get published some day.

  50. You mean a book on “prose.” Until I realized what you meant, I felt like I was a student at the Derek Zoolander Institute for Kids Who Can’t Read Good. “A book on pros? Does he mean pros and cons? Pro writers? Hmmmm.”
    Kirk @ River Mud recently posted..Virginia Delegate Lee Ware – Unknowing Ally in the Effort to End HuntingMy Profile

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