The letters and email.
Sometimes when one of our readers sends in
a contribution to Friends of FAOL
they include a nice note or letter, telling of either how
they found Fly Anglers OnLine or something
about how the web site has influenced their
life. So far we haven't received one from a
wife explaining how neat it is to have a happier
or better adjusted husband, but I expect that
to show up one day too.
One of the actual letters which came this week
remarked on the fact the person wasn't much
into computers, actually was hauled kicking
and screaming into the world of the Internet
as part of his business update, and "swore I
would never surf the web, participate in bulletin
boards, or let another machine intrude on my
life" - and now how much it means to him to
have the connection with other fly fishers -
either on the Bulletin Board, or the friends
he has made via email from other FAOL folks.
We have other readers who really don't have
much of a social life, due to age or physical
problems and have found the loneliness banished
because of the connections they've made in the
Chat Room and Bulletin Boards. For many others
FAOL is a piece of sanity or "a breath of fresh
air" from their daily lives. I was going to
say 'just' a piece of sanity, but thought better
of it when I realized how rare sanity has become
in our society.
Over a long winter, we've heard from others who've
mentioned how the content on FAOL, particularly the
Fly of the Week and articles from our writers kept
them 'in the loop' and made the winter at least
bearable. Others that made arrangements to meet
somewhere and fish - or hit one of the tying events
(like the up-coming Sow Bug) and spend some time
just visiting with a bit of fishing thrown in for
good measure. The recent Florida Fish-In is
another example of folks who never met, having a
great time because those who attended all had a
common frame of reference - fly fishing and FAOL!
A recent email remarked on how the person had
totally forgotten about Vince Marinaro's books
and how much he had enjoyed them years ago.
After reading a topic on the Bulletin Board,
he dug them out, re-read them and was amazed
at how much 'real' knowledge he had missed on
the first reading. Now I, getting grayer by
the day, hesitate to mention we do see things
differently as we get older, but certainly our
perceptions do change. (Read
Castwell's column this week.) But it really
is neat that discussions on the Bulletin Board do
cause people to investigate subjects and aspects
of our sport on their own and improve their knowledge.
Who knows the eventual results of such? Perhaps
the best fishing year ever? Or a technique never
tested and now found to be far superior? Or finding
a way to contribute in their local community or
teach a kid to fish or a friend to tie flies.
A recent email from a Major in the US Army serving
in the UA, asked the name of the book I mentioned
in my column a couple of weeks ago. I did send
him the information, but his story was just so neat.
Here's a man stationed in the Arab desert, reading
FAOL and finds my article about Wilsall, Montana.
Turns out he had vacationed a while back in Melrose,
MT and said he just loved it. He ordered the Travis
Corner book so he could re-touch some of the memories
of that trip and vacation, he probably falls under
the maintain sanity classification.
There the are the full circle connections. We
were contacted by one woman who was doing a search
on her grandfather and found him in one of Roger
Stouff's articles. I forwarded her email on to
Roger who was delighted to hear from her. Or one
from an old childhood neighbor of Fritz Fratz's who
found him on FAOL - and I was able to put them in
contact with each other. Fritz-Fratz said it was
one of the most important things to happen to him
I've been contacted by folks who are not fly fishers
who stumbled onto FAOL because of my articles on
where I grew up. One has put together a free website
for people who grew up in Rogers City, MI. Turns
out his aunt and uncle were neighbors of my
grandparents on the same street.
Over the last few years, we've had contacts from
people in many foreign countries as well, recounting
their trips to the US, the people they met - and
some who they re-discovered here on FAOL. How
neat is that?
Our email also bring us new writers, new ideas for
articles or sections - and Fly of the Week
submissions as well. Most are from people we've
never heard from before. But for a variety of
reasons, they decide they may have something to
contribute. It is a very rare occasion to turn
someone down - we believe we all have something
to add, and Castwell really is a good Editor.
(That is meant to be a word of encouragement
if you've been thinking about sending something
in and are worrying about the quality of your writing.)
Our Editor can 'fix' an article and still keep
the voice and tone of the writer. That's an
art in itself.
We don't have mail delivery where we live, so
JC makes a run to town, about 8 miles, to the
Post Office to pick up or mail stuff out every
day (he also does the grocery shopping). When
he comes home, I usually pour us both a fresh cup of
coffee, and sit down at the table with him to
go through the mail. I have to say, receiving
a package from England with a cd for a Fly of
the Week (and sometimes a sample or two for my
fly box) really is like Christmas. Having a
check for Friends of FAOL is very nice too - but
quite often, the note or letter with it makes
my day...sometimes it even makes my column.
Thanks so much to all who write, send email
and share your thoughts and ideas with us.
We really do appreciate your input - and hope
you feel free to contact us. ~ DLB
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!