Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tree Deco, Elk, and Saving Sea Turtles

During the holidays, fishermen decorate trees with bad casts.
Elk, not ants!
Two steelhead I caught at sunrise.
I asked elk where fish were, and, as usual, they knew.

It's great to visit Pacific Northwest coastal wilderness, and I honor it by picking up fishing line to stop birds from getting caught, and foam bait containers killing sea turtles 2000 miles away who mistake them for food.  The message today is even far things are real. The Oceanic Society notes, "Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris. Marine debris is manmade waste that is directly or indirectly disposed of in oceans, rivers, and other waterways."  Help pick it up.

Friday, January 23, 2015

One Arming It in the Coast Range

Washington and Oregon steelheaders wait in icy dark for this, one joyful day at a time.
I hurt my left arm by sleeping on it, which gave steelhead an unfair advantage, but I caught two anyway.  For a month I have been going over boulders and along steep trails exploring, sometimes falling and crashing into brush or river -- but I injured myself in bed.  It reminds me of hearing about astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. who orbited Earth in Friendship 7 in 1962, and in 1964 slipped in his bathroom and hit his head on his bathtub, injuring his inner ear.  It could happen to anyone.

Maybe my injured arm is karma for accidentally hooking a steelhead in the arm.  As I said before, the river has a life of her own. As Tom Robbins said in my post below, "Joy in Spite of Everything."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Calling in to Work Well

"My personal motto has always been: Joy in spite of everything. Not just [mindless] joy, but joy in spite of everything. Recognizing the inequities and the suffering and the corruption and all that but refusing to let it rain on my parade. And I advocate this to other people." ~ Tom Robbins

I love teaching creative writing (even to you, Hieronomous), and lit. but composition class grading has become too exhausting. Hence, the Robbins quote above.  Soon, I will be trading these:
for these:
Mountains of papers to grade.

But not for long.  Reduced load/early retirement will happen in a few years, or before.

I could start a "Send Scott Fishing Fund" but I know deep in my barbed heart Amnesty International  and Eugene Bell Foundation are better causes.

"Stop whining, you lazy professor," some have said, and will say.  Someday, I hope to call in to work well. It reminds me of an interview, "Tom Robbins: Joy in Spite of Everything," I assigned to students 20 years ago to get some creativity out of them. Bill Strickland, the author, gave written permission for free while George Orwell's estate wanted to charge each term to use "Politics and the English Language." Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times now links it for free, ranking it as Orwell's "No. 1" essay.  Ray Bradbury wrote me a personal letter, also giving written permission to use his famous, and ecologically wise, short story, "A Sound of Thunder," without copyright restrictions. In a "Meet the Writer" box at the end of the story, Bradbury "claims to remember everything -- every book he's read, every movie he's seen, all the events of his life back to and including his birth, [ . . . .] his fantasy stories are often warnings against blind faith in science [ . . . . ]" Bradbury's success is a good reason for want-to-be-writers to "Turn on, tune in, drop out" as noted by Timothy Leary, though I would advocate mountains and rivers instead of LSD, or modern drugs like NBC, ABC, CBS, etc.  Allen Ginsburg once told me and about 14 other grad students at Eastern Washington University to avoid drugs and anything that can weaken one's potential as a writer.  William Stafford said the best way to write 40 years is to avoid alcohol.

Anyway, here are memorable excerpts from the Strickland interview with Robbins: “One day, I had gone to the bank, and was hurrying back to the Seattle Times, back to my job. I was walking very fast and very intently, with my coattails flapping and my tie swinging over my shoulder. I was a harried young man, on the way up. And in the distance, I saw a figure approaching — a man with red hair, bewhiskered not like he cultivated a beard, but more like he’d been drunk for four days and hadn’t shaved. Wearing a World War II overcoat, the hem dragging the sidewalk."

“And he was singing, walking up the sidewalk singing. When he got really close to me — he was watching me all the way because I was watching him — he looked at me in the face and laughed, burst out in derisive laughter. It was as if he had seen through me, and registered all my areas of discontent, and then laughed at it all. He might have been a mesquilito, a peyote god, a Pan-like figure. I just call him the red-headed wino.”

“On Monday, I called into work well. I said, ‘I’ve been sick for a long time, but I’m well today so I can’t make it in.’ I went to New York.” 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Steelhead and Gremlin Cities

Gremlin cites.  They are good at hiding.
At night, while I'm dreaming, rain brings fresh steelhead in from the Pacific.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Case of Mad Steelhead and Slides

Hoffman Center in Manzanita, Oregon
I caught these two steelhead by 8 a.m. yesterday so I looked for the so-called "Slide Area."  I wore surfer shorts because I wanted to show off my 102-year-old abs on a water slide.  I looked around the mountain for the "slide" but all I saw were rocks in the road.  Go figure.

On the brighter side, I caught another steelie this morning before my presentation at Hoffman Center.  The people at Hoffman were creative, welcoming, and authentic which is why I feel at home in Oregon.  For those who love words, and sharing words, you may want to visit one of their Tuesday Writing Lounges from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The nearby beach walk and trails on Neahkahnie Mountain will rock your soul.  Click on Hoffman Center Calendar for updates and other events.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"All's Well That Ends Well, Mostly"

This is the dreaded wooka hooka wae wombat track.  These guys crawl from brush to steal your steelhead.  I'm working on a wooka hooka wae repellent to go with my bigfoot repellent which is guaranteed for life or your money back.
My elaborate mathematical tackle organization will immediately remind students of my desk at the college.
Is a steelhead under the old oak tree?
Is a steelhead under the waterfall?
Some say fishing with a broken rod is more sportsmanlike.  I don't.
"All's Well That Ends Well, Mostly"
Old One
The Old Ones at Coastal Creek

are just stumps of their former selves.
Once, 200 feet tall,
now round red-fleshed nurseries 
for new green seedlings
which haven't yet seen Columbus Day Storms
rolling in from the Pacific
and spawning giants that follow,
silver bright then copper
then black until ivory bones fill
deep shady pools to fertilize new roots.

Sometimes while fishing
you notice an Old One above your cast
or on the trail over your shoulder.
When you get anywhere near one
if there is any sin in your life
you know it.

(Thanks to The Oregonian and Sitka Center for Art and Ecology for publishing this poem, and to Write Around Portland for putting it on their office door when I taught there.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Owner: No Trespassing Except for Blondes

"New Owner: No Trespassing Except for Blondes" was the sign over one of my best holes on seldom-fished Secret River, and it was enough to quake my Reeboks.  There must be a way to deal with this, I thought. And there was. 

I drove to Goodwill, and bought a blonde wig.  I used balloons for breasts, and drove back.

On the way, one of the balloons lost air so I had uneven breasts.  I hadn't shaved in four days which probably didn't help my case.  On the second cast, I caught a beautiful hatchery buck steelhead about 16 pounds pictured above.  A few casts later, I caught his little brother.  As I was carrying them up the trail, an old gray codger appeared on a bluff.  "Well, you ain't the prettiest blonde I seen" he scoffed. "But rules is rules."

"Come here and give Hilda a kiss," I cackled.

"No thanks," he said, then walked up to his white house with green trim, and slammed the door -- hard.

 The lengths some guys will go to catch a steelhead.

With two fish in the cooler, I drove to the Oregon coast to attend the Writing Lounge at Hoffman Center in Manzanita.  Great people, and great sharing.  I was invited to offer a writing prompt next week, Jan. 13, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during their Writing Lounge. There is a $5 suggested donation which helps the Hoffman Center and their literary/art journal North Coast Squid. Maybe I'll see you there.