Book Review, “The View From Coal Creek” by Erin Block

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Erin Fishes Her New Rod  Photo by Louis Cahill

Erin Fishes Her New Rod Photo by Louis Cahill

I have to confess I have a writer’s crush on Erin Block.

I started following her blog, Mysteries Internal, a couple of years ago and the sound of Erin’s voice in my head became as familiar as a favorite song. When she first started posting about taking on the challenge of making her first bamboo rod, my interest was peaked.

Her writing was so vivid and honest, it took me straight back to the days I first set a plane to bamboo. The smells, sounds and feelings all came rushing back. I was sincerely jealous. I was not writing when I learned to make rods. What an opportunity, to document that process. What genius to seize that opportunity.

“The View From Cole Creek,” Erin’s new book, is the result. A day by day account of the birth of a bamboo rod maker. And born they are, not made. Having been through the process, I can attest to the authenticity of Erin’s account. It took me straight back. Spending her words, not only on the cane, but on the life that takes shape along side the new rod, Erin gives the full emotional context of the art.

It is not Garrison or Maurer. Not a book of tapers and formulas and charts. You wouldn’t read “The View From Coal Creek” to learn how to make a bamboo rod. It’s not a book for the hands, but rather, for the heart. A book about why a person takes on the incredible task of making bamboo and some honest perspective on how it will change you.

Erin Writes:

“After planing I took a beep breath, thinking I had passed the hardest, most nerve-wracking part; but then I had to sand the tips, and after that thought the same. And then there came wrapping. And now, there’s x-acto knifing a varnish glaze over silk thread. I find rod making deals its hands trump upon trump.”

I laughed aloud when I read that. Nothing could be more true or more accurately capture the feeling. If you have ever had it in your head, or in your heart, to make a cane rod or to own or fish one, this book is well worth your time. It is quite likely the most soulful work on the subject.

I’ll leave you with Erin’s voice.

“I’m a homebody, and I hope (as I’ve been told is true) that a bit of the nature of the rod maker goes into the rod, and that it will love its homewaters as much as I do. ~ Perhaps my small homewater trout aren’t as flashy as big browns on the Blue, or as impressive as over-caught rainbows on the South Platte. But they are home. And that counts for something, or at least it does to me. Homewater counts, for the secrets told, and the familiar skin. The places you know to go. They hold the stories, and the histories of season upon season, piled up like autumn leaves over the winter, keeping you warm and the fire going.”

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Get “The View From Coal Creek” HERE

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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8 thoughts on “Book Review, “The View From Coal Creek” by Erin Block

  1. Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m an old guy with a crush on Erin as well. Her honesty and easy smile are what got to me. She’s as beautiful as the words she writes. Great review Louis. (Erin, I’m going to be terribly red in the face next time I see you, please give me a break!)

  2. Can’t agree more. As a maker my reaction was much the same as yours, and hers. In her book she has captured the mystic of not just the making of a split cane rod but the bamboo itself.

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