A New Year


Busy, busy, busy this holiday season, but I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your interest in Closer to the Ground and this blog, and to wish you all a great 2014. I am truly grateful for your support. Here’s to more great times on the water and in the woods with family and friends in the coming year!

Oregon NPR Interview


Here’s a little interview I did with KLCC “NPR for Oregonians” yesterday. Eric Allen is the host, and he did a nice job with the questions as well as editing–he cut a half hour of my blathering down to a quick, concise five minutes. Just about right to give the illusion of coherency.

To listen, click HERE.

Frozen Oregon Readings


John and I drove back from fishing with plenty of time to spare (or so we thought), only to find Corvallis still locked in the deep freeze. Nineteen degrees, snow covering everything and four inches of solid, clear, black ice turning the roads into a skating rink. With the predictably jammed up traffic, it took me 45 minutes to drive 34 blocks from John’s house to my hotel, and I witnessed three wrecks along the way. Traffic jam in Corvallis? No way! At this point, I figured anyone who was going to come to the readings would bail, and it was looking doubtful that we could even make it to the reading. As we drove to Albany for the first event, John and I were already making plans for where we should go eat if nobody showed up.

We pulled into the Albany Public Library, and amazingly, the parking lot was full of cars. I immediately thought they were from people who must have walked home to avoid driving. But John said, no, there are people here. And when we went into the big meeting room, it was full of people. No way! The reading went great, with Larison nearly stumping me during the “interview” part of the talk–that’s him in the photo above, back in civilian clothes–and lots of good discussion from the audience. And really, I was just grateful to even have an audience.

Finally, we wrapped things up in Albany and slipped and slid our way back to Corvallis for Part 2 of the doubleheader. Again, I was sure nobody was going to show up at a fly shop at 9:00pm on a weeknight with ice covering the roads to hear a guy they’d never heard of. And once again, I was wrong. Full shop? No way! I should disclose, though, that a large part of the draw could have been the excellent beer on tap. Still, it was a great discussion, and we ended up reading and talking until midnight. Whew! Huge thanks to Kyle Smith, who organized both events, and no doubt twisted a lot of arms to fill the venues. Also to Larison, for his excellent interview and for letting me poach some of his fans that came out to see him. Same to Kate Taylor and Justin Crump. When it was all over, I walked out into the icy night nearly overwhelmed with gratitude, not to mention hunger. John and I hadn’t eaten since leftover bear burgers on the river at noon. The pizza joint across the street’s still open? No way!

Frozen Oregon Coast


One of the real gifts of having a book published, I am finding, is that it provides a path to hanging out with people I don’t get to see enough. In this case, author, fishing guide and good friend, John Larison. (If you’re a fan of fiction set in the Pacific Northwest like I am, I recommend Larison’s novels Northwest of Normal and Holding Lies.)

This week I hit the road to Corvallis, Oregon, for a couple of book events (more on that later) but I was really looking forward to some time with John. We had a wonderful dinner of bear and elk burgers, along with some smoked duck and goose breast I brought along for appetizers, at his house Tuesday night when I arrived in town. What a meal! Then the visit got even better–we spent Wednesday fishing.

With water temps in the low 30s, fishing was predictably slow. But it hardly mattered. We had brilliant sunshine on one of the rivers I fished as a kid, and plenty of time to talk about books, writing and fish. A perfect mix of conversation subjects and camaraderie, along with nostalgia for time spent here long ago. I can’t even begin to express how much I enjoyed the day. Thanks, John.

Then it was back to town and the treacherous, icy roads for two book events in one night…(to be continued)


Hello Willamette Valley


This Wednesday, December 11th, I will be back in my old stomping grounds (I grew up in Corvallis) for a book event double-header, presented by the Calapooia Watershed Council, Greenbelt Land Trust, Ten Rivers Food Web, Bluebacks Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Albany Public Library:

6:00-7:30pm Albany Public Library. I will read from and discuss Closer to the Ground with novelist John Larison, followed by question/answer session and book signing. Most likely topics of conversation: Foraging, conservation, kids in the outdoors, wild food, importance of  place, etc. We’ll also have books for sale in case you need a copy or two for holiday gifts.

8:00pm-??:?? Cascadia Fly Shop. We’ll pack up in Albany and hightail it back to Corvallis for a more informal–and fish-centric–talk at the fly shop. I have some new, fishier writings to read and will talk about fishing, conservation and anything else anyone wants to discuss. Followed by book sales and signing. I also hear they have beer.

So…if you’re in the area, please come on out to one or both of the events. Good excuse to get out of the house after this long, chilly week, and you can knock off some items from your shopping list while you’re at it.

Or just come out to listen and talk. Either way, I’m looking forward to meeting you in person. Hope you are all well.