Most people have gone fishing at some point in their lives — sometimes with family members, friends or even just by themselves.
Some who fish are trying to get the biggest bass they can find, while others just enjoy the silence and solitude of being on a boat with a fishing rod in their hand.
It isn't always about the fish that are caught at the end of the day, though, which is what "Gather at the River", an eclectic collection of short stories and essays, is trying to convey. The book, which features more than 20 authors, brings together their differing experiences about friendship, family, love and loss, and everything in between.
A few of the authors of "Gather at the River" will be at Apollo Pizza in downtown Richmond Thursday for its Pages & Pints Reading series, a free and open to the public event hosted by the eatery. According to owner Wes Browne, authors Silas House, Frank Bill and Rebecca Gayle Howell will be in attendance for a reading of their portion of the book.
"To me, it's just an honor to be amongst these different flavors of writers," Bill said. "I'm a big fan of a lot of writers in it. It's a pretty amazing experience."
The three authors bring a unique mix to the book, each writing about something different.
Howell, whose section is titled "Some Thoughts on Marriage Before I Wed", focuses on marriage and the ways in which we choose our families, and the ways in which we don't.
"My husband's papaw loved a pay lake, and that seemed as suitable a metaphor as any for the ways in which a family tries to love each other, despite weaknesses and flaws," Howell said. "You know, there we are, together, at the bottom of a manufactured lake, making room for each other, learning how to breathe in new ways."
For House, his story "Memory of Water" brings to the surface his nostalgia, but it also conjures up grief for those who have passed away. His experiences from fishing with family and friends was more of a bonding time for him. In a ever-moving world, fishing was a moment in time where everyone was still.
"So much about fishing, really, for a lot of people, is about storytelling and family memories. It's just a bonding thing," House said. "For me, my family was always working and one of the fews times they were really still was when they were fishing. I'm always thinking about how different they were in those moments."
While writing about fishing was the prompt given to the authors from editor David Joy, Bill found himself writing about the adventures he had while fishing at his faithful spot along Indian Creek.
His story, titled "Some Crazy Sh*t" focuses on a crazy day with his brother in-law and one mad doe. According to Bill, a lot of things that happened that day were more intriguing — and more funny — than the actual act of fishing.
A portion of each book sale will go towards the C.A.S.T for Kids Foundation, an organization that helps to bring special needs children and their families into a fun and beneficial relationship with the waterways by taking them out to fish.
"CAST is such a great cause. I credit David Joy for choosing it. CAST is getting kids out fishing who otherwise wouldn’t get the chance, and that’s huge for them. I just loved to fish as a kid, and I was lucky to have that opportunity," Browne said. "I honestly think going fishing grows kids into better people and we’re glad to do what little we can to create more opportunities."
Browne also noted that Apollo will donate a portion of food sales from the event to C.A.S.T. and proceeds of sales of the anthology that night will also support the cause.
Those who attend the event this Thursday can look forward to good food, good beer and a good reading by the three authors. The reading starts at 7 p.m. at their downtown Richmond location, 228 S. Second St., but many arrive early to enjoy a good meal. Find out more about the event at www.facebook.com/events/536467923554796.
Reach Kaitlyn Brooks at 624-6608; follow her on Twitter @kaitlynsbrooks.