Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tom McGuane on writing about hunting and fishing

Re-reading a favorite book by Charley Waterman (R.I.P.) I noticed that Tom McGuane wrote the forward. As usual, he has something to say about sport, and here takes on writing about sport.

Writing about hunting and fishing is an old practice in America, partaking equally of logs, reports, adventurous accounts, and, of course, tall tales. For the most part, its excuse for existing has been to offer practical advice. Its chronic weakness is that for a writer to consistently position himself to advise, he must be or pretend to be, an expert. In today's highly deteriorated situation, almost all we have are "experts" and our sporting literature reads like some obsessive Consumer Report for outdoor gadgeteers. In sports like fly fishing and bird hunting, which appeal to either the literary or merely high falutin, the microscopic technical examination and mania for equipment has reached a point among the credulous as to drive sensible folk to catfish grappling, trotlining or the spotlighting of deer.

Well said, Tom.