Obscurity and a competence — that is the life that is best worth living.
– Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer and humorist
Mark Twain would admire the “competent and obscure” life I have achieved. A one-trick pony, my only true competence is writing, and despite having five books in print and posting a weekly blog essay online my obscurity surpasses that of most secret agents of Britain’s MI6 intelligence service.
So it is with some reservations that I announce the publication of my latest book, Coot Stews. The third collection of essays in the Crazy Old Coot series of books, it is now available at amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions.
Following the format of Crazy Old Coot, published in 2014, and Old Coots Never Forget, published in 2015, Coot Stews is a compilation of versions of essays posted on my Dispatches from a Northern Town blog over the course of 2016. The genres range from memoire to fictional short stories to advice on outdoor sports – plus a few curmudgeon’s rants on politics and ethics. Most are observations about life in the North Country of the Upper Midwest, and many are tales about bird dogs, bird guns, and the friendships formed over the course of 50 years of memorable hunts.
I doubt this will alter my obscurity or my competence. Coot Stews is unlikely to become a best-seller, so I’m not going to become famous and fall prey to all the vices that seem to accompany fabulous wealth. Not that I wouldn’t be willing to flirt with fame and fortune for a decade or so, but this new book will probably not shatter the glass bubble of my obscurity. Hopefully, it will bolster my credentials as a writer, and as a grumpy old curmudgeon.
The only immediate change is that my blog posts will carry a new tagline. My New Year’s wish is that readers will enjoy all of these books.
More stories about hunting and life in the North Country are published in my three collections of essays, Crazy Old Coot, Old Coots Never Forget, and Coot Stews , and my novel, Hunting Birds. All are available in Kindle and paperback editions at Amazon.com, and in paperback edition at the North Country bookstore Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa, and through IndieBound independent bookstores.