I wanted to begin my series on “healers in the valley” by introducing you to a new friend of mine, Cameron Scott. Cameron is a flyfisherman and a poet and although he may not consider himself to be a healer, he has had a very cathartic effect on me.
I met Cameron one year ago at the Aspen Writer’s Conference Winter Words Series and was magnetically drawn to his serene energy and his warm, beautiful smile. I felt compelled to follow him around with my video camera as he introduced incredible authors from the literary world of the Writer’s Conference, which led to his taking me and the boys to the river to introduce us to his poetic world of Fly fishing. As I delved deeper into Cameron’s world I realized that I had found a rare gem, a brilliant sapphire, who opened my eyes to the art of humanity…and poetry.
Interview with a Fly Fisherman:
JILLIAN: Is there a common poetic theme that you seem to gravitate toward?
CAMERON: Not really a theme, though I’m sure because of how I spent my twenties I’d get pegged as a fly fishing poet.
JILLIAN: Is there a philosophical thread that binds your love for poetry with your love for fly fishing?
CAMERON: Both fly fishing and poetry are practices (maybe spiritual, maybe philosophical). They are always just below the surface of my life. And I’m ready at any moment to do either. Anytime. Seriously. Three o’ clock in the morning at a tailwater fishery you might run into me. Crowded sweaty bus ride home from work writing poetry, you might see me there, too. I’m never far from either.
JILLIAN: How is fly fishing poetic to you?
CAMERON: The poetry of flyfishing is that you are standing in a river waving around a stick, being completely serious about something that really, in all honesty, is as easy as it is frustrating as it is ridiculous as it is beautiful. Kind of like life.
JILLIAN: Do you have a favorite fly fishing spot?
CAMERON: Every day.
JILLIAN: How did you get started writing poetry?
CAMERON: In third grade I remember we did name poems (where you write your name vertically down the page and then come up with a word for each letter). I did supercalifragilisticexpialidocious instead. And once I got that first taste of being able to write down anything I wanted, I never really looked back. I’d found something that let me break all the rules.
JILLIAN: Who taught you how to fly fish?
CAMERON: Fly fishing was the same way. I grew up bait and spin fishing, but could never wrap my mind around rivers. Until one day in high school I went fishing with a friend on a small creek south of Mt. St. Helens. At the end of the day I borrowed my buddies fly rod. The line floated. The fly floated. Small creek chubs came hammering out of the water after the fly. The next weekend I went into Portland to Kaufman’s Streamborn, bought my first set up with my buddies dad, and proceeded to become inseparable from moving water. Fish taught me to fly fish. Which meant a lot of years of completely dastardly hacking away until I fell in with other fly-fishers.
JILLIAN: What kind of poetry do you write?
CAMERON: I’ll write any kind of poetry but mostly I write the world into being that I wish I lived in. Which means I write almost every day. Mind over traffic kind of stuff.
JILLIAN: Do you teach poetry to your students while you are teaching them to fly fish?
CAMERON: Most, but not all of my clientele tend to be very professional and success driven (i.e. results oriented). Usually a day on the water is all the poetry they want. Catching fish is what they think they need.
JILLIAN: Where do you come from?
CAMERON: I was born in Colorado and grew up around the west and midwest, but mostly the west. I could write a poem about where I come from. It reminds me of a line of questioning from the magnificent poet, Mary Oliver.