I Lived Two Lives

I know the followers of this blog would not like to be surprised by learning from any source but this one that a colleague and I have published a new book.

You: “What! Quinnett published a new book? Really?”

Your friend, “You didn’t know? Ha! And here I thought you were on an inside track with this guy.”

So here’s the skinny and some shameless self-promotion.

New book title: The Search for Elusive Trout: True Tales and Cocktails.

Authors: Deanna Camp and Paul Quinnett. (Deanna is the one with all the artistic talent and crackerjack cocktail-making genius; I am the hack putting words on paper and pouring straight shots.)  All the tales are tall, the photos shopped, but all the cocktails are real. This is the perfect Christmas gift for the fisher person in your life. Look it over and/or order one at Deanna’s website: http://www.elusivetrout.com.

Oh, and if you did not know that I have spent most of my adult life with one foot in a psychologist’s office and the other in a trout stream, then I apologize for not sharing my dual identify disorder earlier.

As a fisherman who has worked hard for 60 years to catch fish and write mostly true stories about these adventures, I’ve only been working hard to prevent suicide for 40. Both endeavors have been immeasurably rewarding.

Here’s the backstory to the book your friends won’t know about unless they read this blog.

A month before Christmas last year an old friend asked me to make a few remarks to the membership of our local Trout Unlimited chapter. As a life member of TU, I could not say no. At a local watering hole I gave them a few beats about hope and the psychology of fishing from a stand-up routine I’ve done for many years called, “Sex, Hope, and the Psychology of Fishing.”

There isn’t much sex in the routine, however the title ensures a robust turnout. I review the research on the psychology of hope, tell gags I’ve mostly stolen from better comics, and outline how to live at least ten more fishing seasons through taking better care of yourself and learning to become a hopeful traveler.

And, yes, I spend a few of minutes on the reverse of hope – hopelessness and clinical depression – and then make a quick clinical argument to take immediate care of any emergent symptoms of depression, lest they carry you all the way downstream to suicidal thinking.

Anyway, I bought one of Deanna’s trout prints at the TU gathering and she later approached me and said, “You wrote Pavlov’s Trout didn’t you?”

I confessed.

She then said, “How about you writing some stories about the fanciful trout I’ve created and we’ll do a book together?”

I hemmed and hawed. “I’m pretty busy,” I said.

Then she said the magic words, “I’ll split all profits with you 50-50.”

So, boom, I knocked out a goofy story about the buck trout on the cover (yes, it grows horns like a deer). Deanna and her husband liked it and, just like that, a new creative team was born.

While the writing is OK in ET (that’s Elusive Trout, not extraterrestrial), the art work, paintings, paper, layout, design, binding, heft and feel are simply stunning.

On my honor, I would not make this up.

I will end this post with an observation about  fishing and preventing suicide.

My father was a fisherman who was always getting ready to plan, to layout a scheme, to pencil in a strategy, to address the goal of heading on down to the trout stream and maybe, if the weather is just right, put a line in the water. But if not today, then tomorrow, and certainly no later than next week, next month, or next year. As Boy Scout troop leader, my father turned “be prepared” into a case scenario for OCD.

Some of us in the suicide prevention movement are weary of getting ready. Too much time spent teeing up already. Please, no more studies telling us there is problem with people killing themselves.

Who knew?


My father taught me to fish, but I had to learn on my own that the better part of getting things done is not to strain too hard at what is the perfect action, but to chuck caution and do something.  Right now may be wrong, but it is action, and only action produces results, some of which will be positive.

General Patton said it best as led troops into Europe, “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

The suicide prevention movement could use more movement.

We know who is dying, how they are dying, and why they are dying. To stop the dying we need action; not from the few of us knee deep in this work, but from all the rest. It’s time for the fretful, the critics, and the naysayers to get out of the way and go suck an egg.

If we wish to do the impossible, we must first think the unthinkable.

The Wright Brothers come to mind. Nixon goes to China. Steve Jobs imagines a new phone.

In my stand-up routine about sex, hope, and the psychology of fishing, I end with these lines on the power of hope-driven persistence in pursuit of the impossible.

After three lousy shooting quarters against the Utah Jazz, basketball great Michael Jordan went out and buried Utah in the forth. He said of his success, “The key is to never stop taking your shot.”

If, to the pessimist, the fisherman be mad, he is mad because he remains optimistic in spite of failure and in the face of uncertain chance.

What greater triumph of hope over experience than for a fisherman nine days skunked to gladly sally forth on the morning of the tenth?

Is this not what is most admirable about the human spirit?

Dr. Paul

2 thoughts on “I Lived Two Lives”

  1. Fantastic and utterly engaging. I stand with you that ACTION creates movement which creates momentum that leads to progress. No one ever got ahead by thinking about it. What’s the old joke? Five frogs sat on a log and 4 decided to jump off – how many were left? Well, FIVE, because thinking about it doesn’t mean they DID anything about it. Sounds bizarre, Paul, but it’s been a pleasure being in the stream with you this year. And, yes, we will continue to wade where the fish will no doubt swim by… to bite or not to bite, that is the question. Blessings to you for all you do and the book sounds marvelous. We will go forth and fish!

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