Fishing With My Father

I just finished reading Fishing With My Father, a book that includes a blog entry I sold a while ago, and I’ll have to admit that I’m relieved to say that I like the book, not just my story, but most of the book.

I was a little apprehensive when I was first approached about being included in the book since I had little idea what the collection would be like other than what was suggested by the title.

Now that I’ve read the book, I’m a little amazed that I was included at all since all but one or two of the writers are professional writers and most of the stories come from published works. In retrospect, perhaps they should have been worried that I was included.

While all the stories feature fishing, to me the “father” motif was the most rewarding. Reading the stories evoked old memories about fishing with my father, and even some of the reasons why I enjoyed hiking with my own children so much.

In the opening essay, Peter Kaminsky says, “One of my favorite things about fishing with my children is that you can go a long time without talking but still feel that you are communicating.” Precisely. For someone who likes to write, I find it remarkably difficult to tell my kids directly how I feel about them.

While many of the entries are, as you would suspect from the title, sentimental, the sentimentality is often cloaked in humor, and rightfully so since these are stories of men, and women, communicating with their fathers, not their mothers. W. Bruce Cameron’s:

As my father has proven to me time and time again, there is a big difference between fishing and catching fish. “Fishing is the soul-numbing act of sitting for hours and watching a thin cobweb of nylon trail out of sight into the black depths of the lake behind the boat while nothing happens. This is best accomplished in a light rain, the boat yawing back and forth in tsunamis, your breakfast hearing voices telling it to “come on back up.”

“Catching fish,” is what the other boats do.

was one of my daughter’s favorite entries.

I suspect any father of a young child could learn much about parenting from this book whether they have ever fished or not.

Update: Here’s another, perhaps more objective review of this book.