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Joel Arnold

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Member Since: May, 2010

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Blogs by Joel Arnold

Flies, Flies, Spam, and Flies
12/3/2010 12:13:45 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

I went on a 7 day, 120-mile canoe trip down the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers (bordering Minnesota and Wisconsin) when I was 14 or 15 years old with a friend and his dad and uncle. We paddled about 20 miles a day, setting up camp each evening, and ate a lot of canned meat and crackers. It was one of the hardest things I've done - I wasn't the most athletic of kids - and also something I'm glad to have experienced. It was one of the first times I felt a sort of spiritual connection to nature.

But the hardest part of the trip wasn't the paddling (which was friggin' hard, especially the second and third days as my muscles screamed profanities at me with each stroke); the hardest part was dealing with the flies. There were so many frickin' horse flies, and yes they bit every once in a while, but what was worse was their constant buzzing around our heads. There was more than one occasion where I nearly knocked my friend's head off with my paddle in order to get at one of those flies. If they'd been interrogators, I would have confessed to anything just as long as they'd stop...buzzing...around...my...head. 'Yes, I was the second shooter on the grassy knoll! Yes, I sunk the Titanic!' I have never been so annoyed by something in my life before or since. And if killing one only caused two more to take its place.

But so I used a lot of those experiences in Northwoods Deep. I used the way the water in the Namekagon seemed to have little flakes of rust in it, the way that paddling over hours became comforting and hypnotic, the way that even the easy sets of rapids seemed to take control of the canoe, the way the evil entities beneath the old man's cabin gave us mind-blowing hallucinations, and - yes - the way the goddamn annoying flies made me want to scream until my throat bled.

Okay, maybe I made the old man part up.



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More Blogs by Joel Arnold
• The Sucking Suckathon of Suckiness - Monday, May 21, 2012
• Mississippi Pearls and a Car Biding Its Time on the Ice 'til Spring - Thursday, December 29, 2011
• One Decade, One Story - or how One Thing Leads to Another - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
• Racing Minnesota-style! - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
• This Here Minnesota Horror Author was a Big Old Scaredy-Cat - Thursday, December 22, 2011
• Jack the Blob Killer - Monday, December 19, 2011
• Death Rhythm - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
• More Writing What You Know - Monday, September 19, 2011
• How I Interpret 'Write What You Know' - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
• Blessings - or - What I write after having one too many... - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
• 120 Miles in a Canoe - Monday, June 27, 2011
• On Stephen King - Thursday, June 23, 2011
• Why Horror? - Wednesday, June 22, 2011
• Zen & the Art of Swearing - Friday, June 10, 2011
• If Coffee Shops were Run by Airlines - Thursday, May 12, 2011
• Trying to Figure Out What Scares Me - Monday, March 21, 2011
• My Confession - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
• Going Indie with my novel Northwoods Deep - Friday, March 04, 2011
• How I Envision Conflict When Writing - Thursday, March 03, 2011
• Wall Drug - why it's one of my favorite places - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
• Jonesing for a Road Trip - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
• Snowmapocalyptopalooza - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
• How Do You Remember? - Thursday, January 20, 2011
• When your parents are librarians... - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
• The genesis of a novel - the first 6 days - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
• Searching for Truth - Characterization - Thursday, December 16, 2010
• Control - and a little more about Northwoods Deep - Monday, December 13, 2010
• Bukowski - Wednesday, December 08, 2010
•  Flies, Flies, Spam, and Flies - Friday, December 03, 2010  
• Naivete and the Young Writer - Thursday, December 02, 2010
• For Writers looking for some Adventure - Wednesday, December 01, 2010
• My usual rider for family/friend appearances - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
• Writing and Me - a dramatization - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
• Writing Tip o' the Day (now with vitamin C!) - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
• The Power of Music - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
• To All the Bookstores I've Loved Before - Monday, November 15, 2010
• The Care and Feeding of Writers - Sunday, November 14, 2010
• Rudiments - Thursday, November 11, 2010
• Writing Tip o' the Day - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
• Tragedy - now with 50% more pathos! - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
• Perspective - Monday, November 08, 2010
• The Daunting Dauntiness of Tweeting on Twitter - Saturday, November 06, 2010


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