Tag Archives: fishingpoet

THE INTERVIEWS: BROTHER WEASE

Writing for POST magazine has afforded me the opportunity to meet and get to know a wildly diverse group of people. Many have national reputations (some international), but they’re all Rochester, NY natives or hail from elsewhere and now call Rochester home. POST is a beautiful, quarterly. Oversized. Heavy, matte paper stock cover. Gorgeous photography and stories that get to the heart of who (and what) Rochester is – good, bad, and ugly. I consider myself damn lucky to write for these guys.

This particular interview was the first one I wrote just over three years ago. And it is the first legit, professional interview I’d ever done. Brother Wease was a tough draw for my first seat at the table. Wease is a local talk radio personality (on 95.1 The Brew) who has risen to the same national level of notoriety in the talk radio community as guys like Stern, Imus, Tom Joyner, Rush Limbaugh, and Ryan Seacrest. He’s spent over three decades laying it all on the table when it comes to every aspect of his life: battling cancer, drug use, infidelity, politics, ex-wives, tours in Vietnam, the music biz, online poker.

Nothing is off-limits for his on-air discussions, and he pulls no punches. People either love or hate him because of it. Personally, I had grown up with his voice on 96.5 WCMF, inextricably tied to the 70’s and 80’s classic rock that shaped my formative years, so this was a bit of a big deal. And I knew I was going to be hard-pressed to get something from the man that the public didn’t already know. Thankfully, there were a couple cards he hadn’t played yet.

You can read the interview in its original form by using the controls to zoom and scroll.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://fishingpoet.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/smyth_weeze.pdf” title=”Brother Weeze”]

Photo cred: Michael Hanlon

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THE NEXT SEVEN

This past September fishingpoet quietly reached the 7 year mark. There’s nothing really noteworthy about year seven. There’s no precious stone, metal, material, or heavy-weight paper associated with it. And it’s not a milestone like my 21st, 30th, 40th, or (not-so-far-off) 50th birthday. But it is a seven year (and counting) journey of stories in various forms about my experience on this earth. A perspective shaped by family and friends, fortunate adventures, the sting of mistakes and rough life changes, the love of an amazing woman, and the necessary medicine of the outdoors. Surveying the Ranch - Henry's Fork And it was this blog that initially motivated me to start making some changes in my life. Going independent was one of them.

When I made the decision to leave the ad agency world to be an independent writer, I had no idea how many other aspects of my life would change because of a change in vocation. Honestly, I think that step was a subconscious acknowledgement that there were a lot of things that I knew were wrong, or that I was struggling with in my life personally and professionally–but didn’t want to admit.

Heading out on my own wound up forcing me to finally face those problems: just how soul-less work was, that my (now ex-) wife and I were on irreparably different paths, that I was a lousy dad, that I had pushed my family, friends, and passions away, and that I was the furthest thing from being happy. But heading out on my own also showed me that I am fully capable of correcting my trajectory. And while it was downright painful, frustrating, and scary at times, I discovered that it’s ok. Those things don’t last. The things that matter do.

Personally, in the last 5+ years as an independent (and 3+ years since my divorce), I’ve become a better dad, son, friend, and recently, a husband again. I’ve always known the importance of keeping what’s important foremost in my life. Living a Deliberate Life. But I’m finally realizing the happiness and fullness that comes with actually following through on that sentiment. Talking about it and doing it are two drastically different things. Sometimes it takes a little while to grow into those shoes.

Professionally, I’m still writing ad copy to pay the bills, but I’m also a staff writer for a local magazine, produced a couple short films, and teach a class in Literary Magazine Publishing (which actually publishes a national lit mag) at our local Junior College.

I know that I’m lousy at following the expected or prescribed path. Before my professional life congealed around writing, I had a work history that reflected just how hard I was searching for my direction. Any direction. Even now, I still keep my vocation diverse. Some of that, I’m sure, is due to my Tourette Syndrome and the OCD/impulse control issues/depression/anxiety that it comes with. But to me, life is not set in stone. It never was. It’s fluid and full of color and sound, chance and passion.

I’m not living capriciously, or simply following whims. What I am doing is looking for ways to be a better human in this life. More present, grateful, and empathetic–be it personally or professionally. People call it reinventing themselves. I like to think that it’s less reinvention and more evolving and adapting. I’m a husband, father, and friend. I’m a storyteller, outdoorsman, and teacher. At the end of the day, I’m not changing any of those things. I’m finding different ways to re-balance them so that I’m able to pull the lot together into a greater whole that makes a difference in the lives of others.

So, that said, I’m re-balancing things. Starting with this blog, which I’ve sorely neglected this past year. I’m getting back to storytelling on a regular basis and I’m expanding my range to include the stories of others. I’ll still write about my travels and time outside with my wife and kids. I’ll still have poetry, photography, and maybe the occasional video. But I’m going to start bringing to life the stories of others. People that I admire, that I want to know more about. Well-known and unknown. People whose stories I feel you should hear because they are valuable.

There will be some from the fly fishing/hunting/conservation realm, but I want to push myself, and you, my reader, to see the field more. I feel like sometimes all I see or read or hear has to do with fly fishing or hunting (and lately, the hatred that has surfaced since the election). This is not a complaint, just an observation that Social Media really spoon-feeds us the content it feels most relevant. We’re not one-trick ponies, so I want to challenge that. Get my head back on a swivel and be deeply curious again about this world and the wealth of stories and experience that people hold. It’s about understanding and celebrating just how different, and yet the same, we all are. And I’m hoping you’ll stay saddled-up for the ride.

While I do my “recruiting” for the first run of people I have in mind, I’m going to start posting interviews that I’ve done for POST Magazine with a really cool range of people in the Rochester area. They run the gamut from one of the most revered jazz/pops conductors in the world to a craftsman that builds Adirondack-style canvas canoes to an airbrush artist that specializes in high-end chopper graphics. And I hope you take something away from each as a reader, as I did spending time with them.

I very much appreciate your readership. Always have.
Here’s to the next seven. And everything after.

 

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WATCHING THE SUNRISE OVER SEDONA

Toward Cathedral Rock

I closed my eyes
for one inhale and exhale
stood waiting and small
sage on the wind
reminding me that I am
west again
so many stars
in pre-dawn purple
a teeming riot above
rock sky sage
red-orange blue blue-green
faces lit by the light
my own like theirs
this circle of time
in its always-ness

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THINKING OF MY LAST TRIP TO THE KEYS ALMOST ONE YEAR LATER

 

 

and the moon stuck with us
a full half the day     three-quarters
hanging high and quiet to the west
a translucent whisper
not enough for even a reflection
on the oceanside glass     I stood
on the bow and let go     closed my eyes
and gave myself to the unknowable
back and forth of the water
the slight lap against the skiff
occasional bird call     the breeze
and rising sun at my back

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GIVE ME TRAILS


Over the course of a summer of running trails in my favorite park in upstate NY, I had pretty much written a poem in my head. When I finally took the time to get it on paper, it showed up in a heartbeat. I called my friends Denver Miller and JR Kraus (both talented directors and cinematographers) to see if it was worth shooting a short video to put the words with. Something done for the love of what we do – storytelling. And, to be honest, to show to prospective clients as well. After just a few hours of scouting the park, this, too, showed up in a heartbeat.

And for those who’d like to read the poem, here’s the original:

Give me trails.

Needled whisper-paths through the pines and their sharp jabs of busted spokes and whirls at shoulder/hip/head height.
Tangled close-crowded paths through gullies and shadowed low places. The willow-swing of thornbrush gripping my shins, forearms and biceps.
Glorious muddy stretches that try to swallow my feet alive.
Give me sudden right-turn uphills and skittish, greasy downhills and roots like the backbones of some long-gone earthen civilization rising if only to keep me paying attention.
Give me wipeouts and grit in my teeth. Sweat-salt in my eyes.
Give me deer that don’t hear me coming or going, fox that go on about their meandering way, geese, woodpecker, hawk, jay, blackbird.

Give me trails.

I run solo but I’m not alone.
It’s in my blood. My Blackfoot ancestry. I feel them running with me and the hair on my neck and forearms stands on end. I hear them in the wind off the lake and in the song of leafed braches overhead.
I was given endurance and two legs that respond when I say go.
I was not given excuses.
I run because I can and carry everything on these two feet and shoulders, until I carry nothing.
There’s no machine stride in me, just my heart and will and these woods.

Here I am, mortal.
Here, I will live forever. Native.
Here I outrun my heart and scramble from insane to sane. Here I am honest and unflinching and vulnerable.
I run toward pain, through it, from it.
I run heartbroken and hopeless and swearing into the hungry green.
I run whole and happy and singing into the hungry green.
I run thirsty, my tongue tasting like copper and blood and a life that is alive.

Alive.

I am alive.

Give me trails so that I can run.

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Filed under In the woods, Life, Poetry