New Books: Kathy Scott's Changing Planes

I’m not quite finished reading Kathy Scott’s new Changing Planes (Alder Creek Publishing, 2008, 225 pages), probably because I’m hoping it won’t end. After a series of previous reads that can best be described as “fish stories,” I’ve been entranced by Scott’s prose. In fact her writing isn’t perfect in a classic sense: fragments and quirky punctuation interrupt the flow fairly often. But after only a few pages I found myself wanting to slow down and take it all in, especially her brief meditations on simple things.
Here she is talking about gathering kindling: “I pined for wild skating while I picked up boughs for kindling, and Kodiak nosed about. The branches cracked and snapped with little effort in the cold. The pond had been singing with cold all week, long whomps in the night as loons sing songs of summer. Maybe there were pressure cracks, anyway. I was lost in dreams of ice and the raven-like joy of soaring across great distances effortlessly, the closest thing to flying I can do.”
Changing Planes tells the story of crafting a bamboo rod in a family workshop in Maine. But as in most good fishing writing the object is simply a glue for larger ideas. Scott manages to convince us that her daily observation of the Maine woods and its animals is a necessary part of crafting beautiful fishing rod. She feels herself to be a part of long traditions. And almost everything she does benefits from the good friendship of the people around her.
If you want a “feel good” book for a winter day, this is one that won’t disappoint, whether or not you can appreciate the enormous detail it provides in describing cane rod building.
You can order Changing Planes, as well as Scott’s earlier books, from the Alder Creek Publishing Web site.

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  • Marshall,
    Thanks for the review. Kathy’s a friend and reading your excellent review brought back memories of when I first interviewed Kat and David at their home in the woods in New Sharon or Norridgewock back in the 90s. David was just beginning to sell his bamboo rods and I took pictures and wrote an article for the Maine Sportsman Mag. that may have helped him get noticed by the local bamboo crowd. I taught school with Kat since the late 80s and I encouraged her to become involved with TU…at that time, I never would have guessed that she would become so successful a writer. She seems to just look around her and writes about what she sees. Simple gift kinda prose.