Writing a book is a humbling experience, especially when the book is as personal as One Last Cast: Reflections of An Outdoor Life.
The official launch of my third book was held almost one year ago, on May 13, 2017. It was published by Rocky Mountain Books in Victoria, B.C.
Since then, it’s been a virtual whirlwind of activity and emotions, as the book has been reviewed in the media and I’ve spoken about it at various public events.
In one radio interview, I said that when an author writes a book, he or she never really knows if it is merely an exercise in ego-feeding self-indulgence, or whether the published words will actually mean something with readers.
Happily, the latter has been the case with One Last Cast, a collection of 36 of my non-fiction stories about the outdoors.
The biggest compliment readers have paid has been to tell me directly, or in a note or email or on social media, that the stories in One Last Cast prompted special memories of their own time in the outdoors.
In one of the most touching responses, at the end of a presentation I made at a public library I asked if there were any questions. An elderly woman with tears in her eyes raised her hand.
She said that until I read the title story about fishing with our oldest daughter, she’d forgotten that her own father, who died when she was 15, used to take her fishing as a little girl. She thanked me for unearthing that memory.
The response to One Last Cast has been largely positive, which is good considering the sensitivity of its author.
Almost one year in, it seems timely to acknowledge those who supported me in this project.
First and foremost, Don Gorman of Rocky Mountain Books, who decided to publish this book and guided it through to its finished product. Many people have praised the book’s compact size and cover design.
My wife Karen and daughters Chelsea and Sarah, whose loving support and willingness to share outdoor experience made this book possible.
Other family members and friends. You know who you are.
The respected friends from various professional and personal backgrounds who wrote back-cover blurbs promoting One Last Cast.
The people who bought the book and those who told me what they thought of it. – the good and bad.
The many book and outdoor stores that carried it – and continue to carry it – on their shelves, thanks in large part to the efforts of Heritage Group Distribution based in Surrey, B.C.
The service clubs, book clubs, public libraries and other organizations that invited me to speak about One Last Cast, and even allowed me to sell a few copies while I was there.
The newspaper and broadcast media who interviewed me, and the many reviewers who shared their opinions in print.
And, finally, the people who directly and indirectly contributed to the stories that are featured on the pages of One Last Cast.
My heartfelt appreciation to you all.
Reviews of One Last Cast
“One Last Cast an invitation to get out and play”
– Calgary Herald (PDF Version)
“Author explores mankind’s connection to nature”
– High River Times Regional (PDF Version)
“Writer changes how we view the outdoors”
– The Western Producer (PDF Version)
“The sacredness of nature”
– Country Preacher’s Blog (PDF Version)
“Connect with nature”
– High River Times Editorial
“Encourages us to go outdoors and experience our natural world”
– Joyce Moore
“Nature heals: Bruce Masterman collects his nature writing”
– Prarie Books Now
“Brings the eye of a naturalist, the heart of a poet, and a journalist’s curiosity”
– Foreword Reviews
“The personal nature of the writing is the greatest strength of the book.”
– Wildlands Advocate Reviews
What others are saying
The era of the classic outdoors writer isn’t past – it lives on in Bruce Masterman. His work combines authentically-lived experience and a naturalist’s sensitive observation with the kind of easy prose style that marks a real writer’s craft. From marsh to mountaintop, with rod, gun or binoculars, at all seasons — Masterman has been there and now he takes the rest of us with him into the living wild places of our West.
Kevin Van Tighem, naturalist and author of Heart Waters and The Homeward Wolf
Having a sense of place goes far beyond your address, demographic and the spot where you draw a pay cheque. The natural world teaches us that just like other animals we too have natural habitats, and a life rich in experience is one deeply rooted in the land, the waters, the seasons, and the rhythms of other animals. Bruce Masterman has his finger on those rhythms, that pulse, and his essays freshen the wild spirit within each of us.
Pamela Banting is an environmental literature professor in the English department at the University of Calgary, and editor of the anthology Fresh Tracks: Writing the Western Landscape
Disconnect, curl up with this book, and reconnect – with your source, the natural world. Bruce Masterman casts an evocative glance back, and every sentence breathes the beauty and meaning of a life lived outdoors. For him, for those closest to him, and for you and me.
Monte Hummel, author of Wintergreen: Reflections from Loon Lake, and president emeritus World Wildlife Fund – Canada
Fly fishing and daughters (and much more) bring memories of my own growing up as the daughter of a fly fisher – flowing water, flashing silver, life along rivers and on lakes. Masterman thoughtfully captures it all in these pieces from over the years he has spent in the outdoors – fishing, hunting, random wandering and celebrating nature. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious – all worth reading or re-reading on a day when the weather keeps one by the fireside.
Valerie Haig-Brown lives on the edge of Waterton Lakes National Park where she hikes often and occasionally guides wildlife and wildflower enthusiasts. She is the author of a biography of her parents Deep Currents: Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown
Many years ago, Bruce Masterman and I fished Alberta’s Oldman River together. I had only recently taken up fly fishing, and Bruce patiently and graciously shared his angling expertise. In short order, I was catching rainbow and cutthroat trout on dry flies. Although we had been working together for a few years at the time, this was our first time fishing together. The experience served to reinforce what I already knew about Bruce through his writing: he has an enduring passion for the outdoors, and an abiding eagerness to share that passion with others. And that’s exactly what shines through in this deeply thoughtful collection of outdoor reflections.
Patrick Walsh is the editor-in-chief of Outdoor Canada magazine