Category Archives: Media

STEPHEN KING: The Important Part is the Story and the Talent

I work for a magazine that was once solely traditional print but now the paper mag is one part of it: The centerpiece of content delivery across many mediums.


I’ve collaborated on a hardcover photo essay book, contributed to the first two Pulp Fly ebooks and done some work for websites and paper pubs as well. Some of the paper ones are dead now but some of the websites are too¹.


Writers as a group tend to swing on a pendulum between inspired and despair, and also to complain a lot about the way things aren’t.²


But it’s not such a bad thing that there are a million ways to get words out there if you want to, whether things get sorted out the way you want them to go in this transition or not. As Stephen King says at 2:52 of this clip, “The future’s gonna be what the future’s gonna be.”


As for today, I’m going to look for inspiration from the past.


¹Most of that work is lost to the wind except for the ones I boxed up for posterity that my kids will throw out one day.

²My all-time favorite excerpt on writers and writing is this one from Charles Bukowski.

The Fine Art of Screaming

In Murray Hill there used to be an Irish bar called Clery’s that had six-dollar pitchers for happy hour. The broke 20-somethings from the publishing house would migrate there after work because you could have a good night for $15–two pitchers plus tips and a dollar for the jukebox.

The jukebox must have been upgraded with a timely 90s hit package, because it had Nirvana’s In Utero placed incongruously close to the Counting Crows. Our buddy Bob-O always put on “Scentless Apprentice” and loved how it stopped many patrons mid-conversation. It might be the best screaming song ever.

There’s an art to a good scream in a song, where it’s not just a scream for screaming’s sake and in a way it adds musicality to it. A good scream is different than a call and response or a “Hey” shout (my two favorites in that category being “Punch You in the Eye” and “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love“).

The good scream might be words but it also doesn’t necessarily sound like it is, as evidenced in here:

There’s also what would be better described as spoken word screaming, perfected by Captain Beefheart:

(Who no doubt was heavily influenced by the original, Howlin’ Wolf.)

There are a ton of bad screaming songs, so much so to give the scream a bad name, but the good ones light you up in a way that other songs can’t touch. When Bob-O played it at Clery’s it had a better effect than we could have hoped for.

My Favorite Opening Line in Pulp Fly Vol. 2

There are 12 contributors to Pulp Fly Vol 2. (myself included) and I’ve spent time reading and rereading their contributions. With that I’ve had the chance to overanalyze each introductory sentence. I love opening sentences to stories, maybe too much. Sometimes they are in no way indicative of the quality or insight that is to come, but sometimes they are. My favorite, if I had to pick one, is Sarah Grigg’s from her essay, Eddy Speaks:

“There was a time when I just fished–not religiously or even as a sport.”

There’s a lot of weight that can be distilled from that one line, even when fully removed from the body of work and left to its own accord. It could be a nodding reference to the opening line of the most famous fly fishing story of all time–I don’t know Sarah and I haven’t asked–but even without that it stands powerful.

It brought me back to when I fished without navel gazing or gave any thought to how it would play out on social media. At some point we all started with the simple act of fishing, and we liked it. Of course that leads down the road to other things, as Sarah’s essay reveals in its unfolding.

There are other singular sentences peppered through these collected works that will catch you and surprise you and remind you that hey, maybe fly fishing is a cool thing to deep dive after all.

Check them out.

What Did You Think Mr. Little Jeans?



(With apologies to Max Fischer, as I’ve always wanted to use that line as a blog post title.)

I was fortunate enough to participate in the first iteration of Pulp Fly, found on Amazon here.

Now, there’s a second one available with quality contributions from the likes of:

Matt Dunn

Matt Smythe

Erin Block

Chris Hunt

Tosh Brown

Bob White

Michael Gracie

Alex Landeen

Tom Reed

Sarah Grigg

Will Rice

The introduction and editing are by Bruce Smithhammer and the bidness particulars by Michael Gracie.

I got to read a sneak preview and there are some serious arrangements of words in a pleasing manner. In other words, it’s good.



Stages of Accepting the F3T Promotional Package

Overtures are made on behalf of the Fly Fishing Film Tour about receiving a promotional care package.


Your first thought is that your fears of a continued slide into blog irrelevancy are momentarily abated. Or they had a long list.

Your second thought is, you are an outlaw blogger, do they know what they’re getting into? Then you look down and you’re wearing khakis; self-assesment may be in order.

Your third thought is, you’ve already read the post to end all posts about the F3T care package by the Reverend Roughfisher, and what else are you going to say?

Thought number four: There’s beer inside the box. Ensconced in bubble wrap.

Five: Free hat!

Six: There’s no showing in New York City. Lots of people fly fish in New York City. Makes you wonder if there was some behind the scenes discussion reminiscent of Spinal Tap. UPDATE: I’ve just been informed that the F3T Tour is, in fact, coming to New York City on March 20th, hosted by the Urban Angler at the Helen Mills Theater. Details on the F3T Calendar. I’m going to leave the above Tap link in anyhow because I like it. See you there.

Seven: There’s some good stuff on this roster. Submissions from people whose work you’ve admired such as RA Beattie, Travis Lowe, Robert Thompson, Todd Moen, and others.

Eight: The Science of Tarpon looks to be bad-ass, because tarpon are.

Nine: The one that strikes closest to home is Urban Lines, for many reasons:

Ten: The film tour has matured since its early days.

Eleven: I got two tickets. Who wants them?*

*(In the unlikely event of more than one response, no apparent rhyme or reason will be accounted for in the selection process.)

REVIEW: Where The Yellowstone Goes

Where the Yellowstone Goes starts not with trout but with chickens and irony. Then it jumps right into its premise–a 30 day float trip along the length of the Yellowstone, from the edge of the park to the Missouri River. The people are introduced and the reasons laid out, much like the nut graf in a magazine article, and then the focus shifts entirely onto the extended float down probably the most famous river in fly fishing.

For the viewer it’s an enjoyable low-key ride filled with breathtaking landscape and, as the opening blip foreshadows, understated quirkiness.


The movie is full of interesting people and you’re invited into their conversations in a way that seems like eavesdropping. Or, it’s akin to stepping up to a bar and joining a discussion that’s already been started. The discourse reminds me of my favorite fly fishing movie, Tarpon, in the best way.

My favorite scene involves the crew inviting Margot Aserlind, the widow of a fly fishing guide, for a day on the river near Livingston. It’s her first time on the water in years, and it becomes this tender moment recording the interplay between the river and the people who love it.

The movie takes a dark turn when the crew comes across the site of the Exxon oil pipeline that breached in July of 2011, dumping 63,000 gallons of crude into the river. This event serves as the gateway for the movie to deliver a strong conservation message.

I love the movie’s languid pace. The soundtrack is fantastic if mellow but it reminds that for many practitioners fly fishing is a contemplative–not extreme–sport. The fly fishing scenes are realistic rather than heroic as the protagonist–the director Hunter Weeks–is a neophyte and just learning. This seems appropriate, how many people have been introduced to the sport during family vacations to Yellowstone? (There is one pretty awesome fly scene where Robert Hawkins, the fly fishing guide on the trip, duels a carp.)

Overall, Where the Yellowstone Goes is an atypical but enjoyable fly fishing movie (and the only one with a sheep rescue). Then again, it’s not really a fly fishing movie. But if you love this river or find meaning in any body of water, you will enjoy this story.

For more information, go to Where The Yellowstone Goes.