Editor's Notes

Editor's Notes

Working with John Gierack

  • By: Joe Healy
JoeEdnoteWeb
Writers like John Gierach make editors superfluous. The hard truth is that my professional tribe is as useful to John as, to put it politely, udders on a bull. Six times a year, as I'm preparing John's text for the next of our bimonthly issues, I'm faced with such weighty matters as, say, replacing a comma with a semicolon-and then changing it back to the way John had it; or noodling on whether the author of Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing really nailed the proper usage of a colon-only to check a punctuation guide to verify: He did. The most difficult part of this editing of Gierach is to have the discipline not to interfere with each of his finely tuned columns. More often than not, for me, that means doing just about nothing.

"I write books of personal essays that are ostensibly about fly-fishing, although as far as I'm concerned, they're about grace, acceptance, sport as metaphor, the relationship between technological humans and the beleaguered natural environment, and how to live well in an imperfect world," John says. Many of these essays are published in this magazine in John's Sporting Life column. And the 100th of these columns appears in this issue. I'll leave it to John to fill in some of the 16-year history of Sporting Life and his long-time collaboration with artist Bob White. The story begins on page 36.

Editors are needed for a few things, foremost among them hiring writers like John Gierach"and Chico Fernandez. I'm pleased to announce that Chico is joining FR&R as Salt Water columnist; his first contribution is in this issue, on page 58. Chico lives in Miami, proximate to South Florida's world-class fly-fishing (it's accurate to say that the backcountry out of Flamingo is his home water) but he's equally poised on an Eastern trout stream. Hands down, he's one of the finest teachers in our sport today. I know you'll enjoy getting to know him through his column.