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Sunshine of Chuckles, Chortles and Heartfelt Guffaws
It is rare to find talented and skilled humor writers (or "humour writers" as I soon will be corrected in this interview for my US biased spelling of the word). When I first started reading Toronto's Paul D'Angelo's blog, Wilderness Paul, I instantly became absorbed in the quality of his writing and the wit he instills in each of his stories. Paul was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions. Here are his responses.
GFN: You started your blog back in March, and it is extremely unique to other fishing writing. You remind me in many positive ways of an outdoor writer I have always enjoyed, Patrick McManus. Why start a blog and why focus on humor?
I started the blog at the urging of a friend named Tom Boduch. Tom thought that the writing I had done for Canadian outdoor magazines deserved a wider audience. Only took him a decade or so to convince me, but it's actually been a lot of fun to do.
By the way, if you have laughed even once at one of my tales, please send your cash or certified cheques to...
Not every story I write is comedic in nature, of course, but most are. Humor, or HUMOUR as we know it in Canada, writing has just always come naturally to me.
GFN: Had you done any professional writing or comedy before starting the blog?
Yes. For years, I had written articles for Outdoor Canada Magazine, Ontario Out Of Doors, Canadian Sportfishing, a publication that turned out not to be so "sporting" and is, in fact, quite a story in itself. I have also written for various other Canadian periodicals and newspapers.
GFN: One of the things I love about your blog is that sometimes your humor is instant laugh out loud and other times it is subtle wit and the reader catches it a few minutes after reading it. For example in the Oddities of British Tackle Shops, you have a subtle line of "I have discovered that it never, ever rains inside a pub (you may quote me on this, if you so wish)." I read it and then started laughing about it 10 minutes after reading it and then for three days straight. What have been your comedic influences?
Three straight days? I'm so sorry. Didn't mean for that to happen. It must have been exhausting. I generally hope people will only laugh for two straight days. I do hope you are feeling better now.
I can't really say say that there has been a particular comic or humorist (HUMOURIST) that has really influenced me. What is very important, though, is having a good sense of the ridiculous. If you can't laugh at yourself or the sheer stupidity of life in general, then you are in for a pretty miserable existence.
GFN: What is your writing process like? Are these long held stories that just flow right out or does it take awhile?
When she was Editor of Outdoor Canada Magazine, the late Teddi Brown, one of the most genuine and wonderful people I have ever known, asked me the same question. The only way I could describe it to her was that I start with the story concept and a bunch of ideas and lines, and then I have to find a way to somehow knit everything together. It can be rather agonizing at times, but it is always a great feeling to see a story coming together with sentences that seamlessly sew it all up.
GFN: What are your goals for the blog?
Untold wealth. I reiterate, if you have laughed even once at one of my tales, please send cash or certified cheques to... Yes! Untold wealth and the joy I receive from giving so many readers the sunshine of chuckles, chortles and heartfelt guffaws in their otherwise dreary and bleak existences. I have recently heard that the Nobel Prize folks are putting together an award for me. Or did they say...a reward? Guess I'll have to wait and see.
GFN: What is in the works as far as stories in the near future? Give us a preview of the next couple entries.
Angling Etiquette Chap shall soon be making an appearance. It's a fishing takeoff on the old Ms. Manners newspaper columns. Extreme Canadian Sportfishing shall also see the light of day. Oh, and Wilderness Paul's Fishing Diet. I can practically hear you all yelling "WOW!" right now.
GFN: We get a glimpse of you through your writing, but what is sharing a boat and fishing with you for a day actually like?
According to my buddy, Keith, it's kind of like a combination of having a big boil on your butt while, at the same time, recovering from testicular surgery. I jest, of course. I meant anal fissure surgery.( I shall actually be writing an article on this subject one of these days. No, not the anal fissure surgery. But the joys and laughs and, sometimes, trials and tribulations of having a fishing pal.
GFN: Who are your favorite fishing partners?
I still love fishing with my kids, but they are older now and, of course, have their own lives. Keith and I have fished together for nearly twenty five years. You can't spend nearly a total of a full year in a boat together in that time frame and not get to know their personalities, joys and problems etc... Having a good fishing friend is actually quite an intimate thing. You chat, you opine, you listen, you advise, you commiserate, you celebrate...and so on. AND...AND what is said in the boat stays in the boat.
GFN: Please check out Paul's blog. I think he was only kidding about having to send him money if we laugh. I sure hope so or that may be a strange expense to explain to my wife. You can also follow Paul on Twitter:
Thank you Paul for doing this interview. Thank you most of all for the sunshine of chuckles, chortles and heartfelt guffaws your writing always delivers.