Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How Awesome A Blogger Would Gene Hill Have Been?

The reason I ask is that I was re-reading (for the umpteenth time) A Hunter's Fireside Book this evening, which I believe was Hill's first book and it struck me that it is, in essence, 160 pages of short, concise, beautifully-crafted blog posts. A total of 76 brief (most around 500 words) essays from Hill's time at Guns & Ammo, back in that long-ago time when even the  gun mags were extraordinarily literary.

I'd have to go back and dig through some of my old issues, but I believe when Hill started writing for Field & Stream his columns ran a little longer, and maybe a little deeper than the material that makes up A Hunter's Fireside Book. But since Hill was such a gifted writer those short little essays seem no less wonderful or evocative than his later work.

That, of course, got me to thinking about what older print writers might have done with the new mediums, and how their work might have adapted to them. I don't mean meaningless crap like Twitter or Facebook, but websites and blogs.

And the conclusion I reached is that I think Gene Hill would have made a helluva blogger. I'm not sure how many of the younger Gen-X and/or Gen Y (or whatever the hell the 18-to-34 demo is called these days) hunting and fishing crowd are familiar with Gene Hill (not even sure, to be honest, if any of them actually read) but surely even they could sit still and keep from updating their status or texting long enough to digest a pithy 500-word rumination on life, right? Surely. And if not, it goes without saying that we as a people are screwed.

But I'll be a rare optimist here and say I think even the instant stimulation-addicted, gleefully willing slaves to the purveyors of brand identity younger dudes I keep running into in the field and on the water might give their texting thumbs a long enough rest to read Hill, were he still here and writing.

At least I like to think so, because that would mean there's still a glimmer of appreciation out there for introspective and honest outdoors prose that isn't trying to sell you anything more than a good story and a few moments of thoughtful reflection, all in 500 words or less...


  1. One of my favorite sporting books of all time...

  2. Thats funny having a simular conversation on another website about lost knowledge and getting hunters to write down there experiances

  3. It's too bad we can't find a way to infuse the younger generations with an appreciation for the good stuff so they don't waste so much time experiencing the bad stuff to figure out what the good stuff really is. I'm as guilty as they are. I had to spend two years in a big city to figure out that I didn't really like it all that much. Spent another 15 or so after that refining my other preferences, affinity for Gene Hill included.

  4. You're exactly right, Mark. Of course, maybe it's that appreciation of the good stuff versus bad stuff is a function of age and maturity.

    On the other hand, I started devouring Gene Hill when I was a teen, as I'm sure you did as well. So I guess that makes us exceptional...yeah, that's it.

  5. I've re-read this book several times myself, hoping that something good would rub off, and, magically I too would be able to write. Kind of like when the dog stares at something, like the refrigerator, food will appear.