I like to read well written short stories about the outdoors. The specific topic is unimportant, as long as it is well written. My bookshelf is stuffed with books of short story collections either by individual writers or a collection of writers writing about specific types of outdoor adventures.
If you go looking for stories like this in any of the half dozen or more outdoor magazines that focus on Illinois, you’ll be looking in vain. Those magazines will be filled with product reviews and how-to’s that are peppered with the dropped names of advertisers in the magazines. I understand this, you have to pay the bills somehow. Plus they cater to the majority of outdoorsmen that find a well written story, as I was once told, too flowery for them.
The problem is that the product reviews and how-to’s get boring really fast. Still more gear you probably don’t need. Still another article on how to vertically jig a ledge in 30 feet of water or how to best maintain your deer stand. After you read one of those once, there’s no reason to go read a similar one in another magazine and there’s really no reason to read one again the next year.
Because of my penchant for the well written story, I’ve whittled down my magazine subscriptions to just one, Gray’s Sporting Journal. Of the printed magazines, Gray’s is hard to beat for it’s quality writing.
Luckily there’s the internet. Over the years I’ve found numerous good outdoor writers that only appear online. With the increase in blogging over the last few years, it takes some searching, but you can find some truly incredible writing by authors that appear nowhere else.
A couple of years ago I came across Quill Gordon and his blog The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond. Quill Gordon, the pen name for one Ken Hall, produces some of the best outdoor related short stories that I’ve found on the internet. Quill/Ken is the caretaker of a fishing camp somewhere in Vermont that he calls The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society. His short stories are filled with characters that visit the camp during the fishing season, as well as some of the local characters that live around there year round.
Like any good yarn told over a few beers, there’s a thin line between fact and fiction. You know you’re being told a story, you know it’s beyond belief, but it’s being told so well that at the end, you sit there scratching your head, laughing and thinking, well, maybe.
That’s the way Quill, I mean Ken, writes.
And now he’s writing new stories and rewriting archived stories for new uses. He’s recently started releasing his short stories for the Kindle and Nook e-readers. I highly recommend that if you like good story telling regardless of the subject matter, you should check these out.
You can find the details for his e-reader releases on his blog.
If nothing else, bookmark his blog, subscribe to it in your favorite feed and go back into his archives now and then.
It will be time well spent.