Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Many of you know that I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing. And that I do nothing with it… as I work in Higher Education.

Well that is about to change… In a couple of weeks, I am headed back to graduate school.

I am enrolled in a course to put together a writing sample for a graduate level program in English. The goal is to go for a PHd in English, and take these college student development skills and combine them with a passion for writing. While I have largely neglected that passion in my life, I have a really strong desire to get back in touch with it.

Those that cannot do, teach… right? If only I could find a way to work in fly-fishing to all of this as well… hmmm.

In the meantime, I have to fill out a pre-course survey about what kind of writer I am. Contemplating my “quirks or idiosyncrasies as a writer” is one of the most exciting things I have done all summer. And yes, that does include a trip to India.

I guess that makes me a bit odd…

But then again, most of you already knew that.

See you on the banks as I “fight” writers block,


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One of the unfortunate facts of living on the great plains is that we live in Tornado Alley… where the largest number of tornados form in the world. If you have been following the news, I am sure you have heard of the tornados in Oklahoma City this year…

Growing up and living in the Great Plains, you grow used to tornados being a part of your life. In the spring and early summer, you learn to remain vigilant to the weather.

A few times a year, there are tornado outbreaks in my area; which produces tense moments…

This poem is about those tense moments.

As Distant Thunder Rolls

We sit and wait in silence
As distant thunder rolls.
The weatherman on our TV
Interrupts the show.
He points to red spots on his map
Not very far away.
No one says a single thing;
We hang on every word.

We sit and wait in silence
As he talks of tornados.
The rain outside begins to fall
And patters on the ground.
Humid air blows in the house
From a restless night.
The neighbor’s wind chime sings outside;
Rings out a haunting hymn.

We sit and wait in silence
And think of our close calls.
The time with mom on Highway 10
We raced a twister home;
The night a cyclone jumped my town;
Cleaning branches from the street;
Or how in Moore the EF-5
Just missed my sister’s home.

We sit and wait in silence
Like so many nights;
The thunder rolls and hail falls down;
Wind howls in the night.
The warnings and the weather
Do their best to scare.
Not with bang but with a whimper
Storms fade into the night.

We sit and wait in silence;
Lighting flickers bright outside.
“Tornado warning ‘til 10 o’clock
Get underground right now!”
The weatherman points to a town
Below us on the map.
The thunder heard not far away
Threatens all their lives.

We sit and wait and wonder
Will we be next this time?
Run down the stairs in shaking fear
To cower for our lives.
Splitting wood and cracking glass
As home falls in on us.
Pray and scream with all our might
Storm spares us all inside.

We sit and wait in silence
As distant thunder rolls…

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Memorial Day Weekend. One of the best times to get out on the water. For many, it is the start of their fishing season.

How did mine start? See the photo above…

A true Flies Over trophy… Read the blog’s very first post to see why.

Not a lot of time to write today; but I have been working on professionalizing the blog a bit in my spear time. (Hah!) One of my goals in life is to become a published writer; and I started this blog to get back into the writing/creative state of mind. As such, I have been working on updating my “About” page. It has been redone to better reflect the mission of the blog; and give all of you, my loyal readers, a connection to the man behind the scenes.

That, and I have come to grips with people identifying me from the blog. At first I didn’t use my name on the blog at all, and over time I have become comfortable with it…

Plus, if I have do become published, it is something I will have to get used to. I even wrote the “About Me” as I would imagine it would appear on the dust jacket of a book someday.

Late edit: I started professionalizing the blog after reading a couple of posts on a “The Artist’s Road”; a blog written by Patrick Ross. The author of that blog referred me to this post:

I have the feeling I will be spending a lot of time hanging around his blog in the future (Consider the identity “owned” Patrick!). I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so the links were added late…

Below is the text from the updated “About Me” page. Hope you enjoy reading about me as much as my narcissistic self likes to write about my favorite subject… me.

See you dodging the thunderstorms on the water this long weekend.


Eric Einspahr is a fly fisherman, writer, poet, and higher education professional from Lincoln, Nebraska.

A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Eric discovered fly fishing in the summer of 2010. This experience was transformational for him as he found himself more deeply emerged in the sport. Fly fish is an activity that is deeply sentimental for the angler; and this is no exception for him.

Fly fishing is not a common activity in Nebraska; nor is Nebraska a blue ribbon destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. Fly fishing for warm water fish, and in Nebraska, is counter to the larger angling culture; true to the “punk rock” roots that Eric developed as a teenager.

Flies Over Nebraska is written not as a “how to fly fish” blog, but a blog about how the world looks through a fly fisherman’s life; to connect the lessons Eric has learned from fly fishing to larger universal themes in life. Fly fishing is not about the fish. It is about the pursuit of the elusive, but attainable; whatever that might be. Eric hopes that readers of this blog will be able to share in the magic of fly fishing even if they don’t have the ability and/or interest to fly fish/fish themselves. And that his readers find their own “fly fishing” and share it with the world.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in History; and will receive a Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration with a specialization in Student Affairs in August of 2013, both from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Eric currently works as an Academic Adviser for the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln; with professional interests in holistic advising, transfer students and related issues, and freshmen experiences.

A lifelong Nebraska Cornhuskers fan; when not on campus for athletic events or work, you can find him at his writing desk or chasing fish with a fly across the waters of Nebraska.

He lives with his wife, two year old daughter Little E, and their pet bluegill Spot.

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Sometimes fly fishing can be a profoundly existential experience… whether the fish are biting or not.

Yesterday, the fish were not biting.

As I roamed the banks of East Twin Lake, I noticed a sign… this same sign can be found at lakes across North American. There was nothing special about the sign itself. Sadly this sign is often ignored…

As I passed this sign, I got to thinking about it’s message… what do we leave behind?

At first, my thoughts were drawn to the surface message itself… “No trash pick up”. Walking down the beach, this was painfully obvious. In fact, it almost hurts to see the years of beer bottles and cans, fast food containers, empty worm bowls, among many other things, that litter the beach itself. The sign began to read less as a statement and a call to action; and more like an eerie prophecy.

How careless some people can be.

But as I wandered further down the beach, the amount of trash decreased; even though the paths were still well beaten into the ground. As I slowly reached where I wanted to fish, I was struck by my first epiphany of the day… yes there are a few bad apples in the crowd. But I shouldn’t let this ruin the experience for me. I believe that we as humanity our inherently good; even if a few people can occasionally cast the rest in a bad light. The type of people who are lazy enough to carelessly cast their waste upon the ground are also to lazy to move very far from the comfort of their cars in the parking lot. The worst litter by far was within a very short walk of the parking lot, and within a couple short minutes I had out walked it…

And in this realization was a tinge of sorrow. There is great reward for venturing further into nature… and it is clear that this type of person will never know the nirvana it brings.

As I walked further down the beach, different words from the sign cried out into my head… “Please leave nothing but your tracks. Will you help?”

Leave nothing but your tracks…

Leave nothing but your tracks…

“Of course,” I thought to myself. I consider myself in high regard when it comes to outdoor ethics. I never leave trash behind, always release my fish, and do everything I can to leave nothing but my tracks. I even take the small snips of tippet material from tying flies onto my line and shove them into my pocket. Of course I only leave my tracks…

Then, as I waded into the icy water and began what would be come a fruitless task of casting, I reached my second epiphany…

I worked my way around brush piles hoping to hook up with a largemouth, white bass, or crappie; and as I did so, I found another reminder of what we leave behind hanging from a branch and dancing in the wind. A single spinner bait…

I don’t mind wading into the water while fly fishing; in fact it is often necessary to provide enough space to backcast and avoid hanging up in trees. But this is not something that all anglers like to do. And every angler will let loose that one poorly timed cast that drifts from control… and hangs up on a snag.

I believe most anglers will do everything they can to remove their tackle from a snag. But sometimes it is not practical, or even safe to retrieve the tackle. And we leave something behind… like this spinner bait swaying in the wind.

I waded over to the brush pile and cut the spinner bait free from it’s tangle. Even though I rarely fish with a spinning rod, I am building quite an impressive tackle box for my spinning rod on gear that I have rescued from the water. On this same day, I also recovered a Rapala crack bait, and a foam grasshopper fly. All good signs that I am fishing a spot where others at least think they will find fish as well. And each reminds me of all the flies that I have lost to snags and fish.

I consider losing fishing tackle a forgivable sin. Like I said, I believe that most anglers do everything that can to avoid losing tackle… replacement costs can add up fast. But it is a part of fishing. I would rather find a 1000 spinnerbaits and Rapalas in the lake then a single piece of trash on the beach.

Losing a fly does not bother me; even if I spent a lot of time on the tying vise creating it. It is just a part of the experience. I am only bothered losing a fly when one breaks off in a fish. A fish with a fly is stuck in its mouth is at a higher risk for mortality; and one that I always feel I could prevent if I was a better fisherman: if I had tied a better knot, if I had set the hook sooner, if I had done more to turn the fish from the snag…

This feeling does much to drive me to become a better fisherman…

After a few hours of casting and no bites, I decided to pack it in. I hiked back around the lake… over my footprints, and footprints of anglers who had came hours before me; past the brush that I had rescued tackle from; past the trash on the beach; past the entire world of nature…

As I reached my car, I stopped and took one final gaze back toward the lake…

Again, I thought of the sign I passed on my way to the water; and its words screamed out in the silence…

“Leave nothing but your tracks.

Leave nothing but your tracks.

Leave nothing but your tracks.

Will you help?”

As I looked down the gravel to the boat ramp, I had my final epiphany…

I did not think about the trash that I passed but did not pick up; the flies I had lost in this lake in trips past and could not recover; the footsteps on the beach that I had left; or about the fishing tackle I had saved that day.

I thought about myself. My soul. And why I come to the lake in the first place.

And with apologizes to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the order is too tall to fill. I always leave something behind at the lake…

With every cast, every fish caught or escaped with my fly, with every moment caught breathless looking out of the water, I leave something behind…

Sometimes it falls out of me effortlessly. And sometimes I have to fling it away with every cast… as if I am somehow trying to flick a piece of myself off the end of the line; off of the fly; and into the depths of the water.

Physically, I try my best to leave only my tracks.

But I always leave something behind…

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That’s right folks… you read that correctly. It snowed on May 1st in Lincoln.

Gotta love that Nebraska weather… 80 degrees one day, snow the next.

So what’s a fly fisherman/writer to do on a night like tonight? Well…

Last night I already reloaded the fly boxes on the tying vise. So I guess I will crank the punk rock and work on some writing projects. Here’s to a night of Jawbreaker albums (“You’re not punk / and I’m telling everyone!” / Save your breath / I never was one!)…

Saving Your Generation…


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