Them and Us
Any instructor will tell you, actually,anyone who uses forums will tell you. There is us and them, them being anyone who does something differently from us. Them are trouble makers, they read manuals, us don’t.
I read. I read a lot, I have hundreds of books to prove it. I enjoy fantasy, historical fiction, even the odd biography. Reading, for me, is a form of escapism. I’m not sure what I am escaping from, but escape I do. What I cannot read anymore is instructional stuff. I rarely, for instance, read the instruction manual that comes with some new device I have just bought. I have never read a book on flycasting, never, ever. I have one copy of an apparently seminal book on the subject that has remained in its cellophane wrapping for at least three years. In fact I was informed this morning that the book is worth quite a few quid these days…but I still won’t read it. I think the last book I read that had anything to do with fishing was Bob Wyatt’s Trout Hunting and I found one or two parts so traumatizing it nearly put me off fishing.
The strange thing is I read, and participate in, forums. A huge part of my understanding of flycasting has come either directly or indirectly from one particular forum. Of course if something comes up on a forum I don’t understand I can try to get it clarified, which is not possible when you read a book.
I am one of those that need to see and hear something to understand it. I much prefer DVDs, I have Lefty and Joan, and Bill and SpeytoZ, my favorite is Mel Kreiger’s Fly casting faults and fixes. There are some awful ones though, I recently watched one and I had to be restrained from smashing the bloody thing.
I have come to terms with the fact I am not an engineer, or even an engineers mate. I have learned not to hang my head in shame when I just ain’t getting it. I have learned to live with the look of frustration on my instructors face as he shows me something for the tenth time. But, when I finally get it, I got it for life.
You may be wondering what this is all about. It’s a warning. A warning to all those kind-hearted fools who have volunteered to help me with my preparation for my FFF Masters sometime next year. A warning you are going to see a lot of vacant staring into space as I try to interpret a question and work out an answer. A warning I sometimes just don’t get how to do that, not the first, second, third or fourth time. Go away, bang your head on the shed wall, have a coffee and a fag. Read a book.
Us poets need a bit of time and space, but we get there in the end.