Giving It Away

I used to be of the Samuel Johnson school regarding writing and money. Which is to say I believed that, as the great man said, “No one but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” I made a fair amount of money writing back in the day. And now? Not really. Maybe even Johnson is lucky to … Continue reading

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Shark Attack!

Last weekend I was out on Cedar Lake in a kayak, tossing harpoons at a large, purple, inflatable shark. This was with nine pals and an instructor we had flown in from New Jersey. Let’s just say the shark survived. We’d probably all admit that we were comical figures. I was paddling a more-or-less traditionally … Continue reading

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Taking Peggy to the Dark Side

Like all micro-niches inhabited by the obsessed, kayaking has divisions that are immense to participants but inscrutable to normal people. My friend Peggy is on one shore of the gulf in the kayak world; I’m on the other. Lately I’ve managed to convince her to take a step toward the dark side. Here’s what’s up. … Continue reading

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Kayak Stylistics

Recently I sold a skin-on-frame, Greenland-style kayak to Betsy Wright. She had the usual concerns about fit, but a big subject on her mind was whether she would be able to style the boat to her liking. We worked out a deal in which I built the frame and sewed the skin on. She then … Continue reading

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How Would You Read a Serial Novel?

I’m looking for advice about how to set up an on-line serial novel. Here’s the situation. An arts organization, Iririgate, is offering $1000 to just about anyone who can pull off an arts-related project along the Central Corridor light rail line. My idea is to present a free, hyper-local serialized novel that is set along … Continue reading

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In the Chop Shop

Here’s another kayak rehab effort underway. A few years ago when I was getting some kayak instructor training, the course leader suggested that I get a boat with a bigger cockpit for teaching purposes. I was using a boat with a fairly small ocean cockpit. The wiggling required to re-enter it during a rescue apparently … Continue reading

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If Thy Keel Offendeth…

My friend Jim Rutzick is a dedicated builder of replica baidarkas and kayaks. His idea is to make duplicates of historical native boats collected in museums, then take them out and paddle them. It’s always interesting, and regularly baffling. We don’t know the exact use of the boat, though often it seems clear that the … Continue reading

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Paddling as Blood Sport

Last night I finished reading Chris Duff’s book, Southern Exposure, a description of his solo kayak trip around New Zealand’s South Island. If you ever need reminding on what a sniveler you are in comparison to characters like Duff, this is your book. He’s out there alone in the Roaring Forties, where there’s nothing to … Continue reading

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The Green Aluminum Turtle Is Mine!

As modern life skills go, harpooning styrofoam seals from a kayak doesn’t rate that high. Nonetheless, I can hardly describe how happy I am to have won the styrofoam seal hunt at last weekend’s Traditional Gathering. The Gathering is a seven-year-old event that’s set up for those of us who are interested in traditional kayaking … Continue reading

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Beginnings

I’m not arguing that the world needs another work of fiction, but I’ll be supplying it anyway. I’m about to get started on a novella about my neighborhood, Frogtown. You may know that we’re in the middle of the light rail construction project around here. University Ave. is ripped up from sidewalk to sidewalk. Neighbors … Continue reading

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