Damon Falke is an American writer living in northern Norway. His work includes, among others, By Way of Passing, Now at the Uncertain Hour, and Laura, or Scenes from a Common World. Much of his work considers relationships between memory and the present, particularly as they are expressed through objects and landscapes. In addition to writing, he has lived and traveled broadly, both as a traveler and a sportsman. Greece, Nepal, Tibet, Tasmania, Hungry, New Zealand, Slovenia, East Texas and the American West have, in different ways, touched his work. Concepts of place and places themselves are essential to his writing for what they speak of history and of the stories we keep. His half-acre in the far north is a good location for finding these things and for looking out of the kitchen window.
I woke up this morning, a Saturday, wondering where I had put my journal. My intention was to assemble notes I had made while in Oslo a couple of weeks ago, or maybe it was three weeks ago.
For years, a journal has been part of my kit, part of my everyday carry, like reading glasses or a pen or whatever book I happen to be reading. Often I have found myself in curious places with curious company. Though I’m starting to wonder if certain places, certain company, and myself are beginning to thin. But yesterday I spent the morning ice fishing with a group of French people at the narrow end of a fjord. Some of them had never fished in their lives. I was there to show them how. I taught them how to estimate the depth of their handlines, how to twitch their lures in such a way as to draw the attention of fish. When someone caught one, I unhooked the lure and gave the fish to whomever had caught it. After photos and congratulations were made, I cut the fish and left it to bleed on the ice. When we had finished fishing, I and my guiding partner, Karin, gutted and removed the heads from the cod. They were always cod. Karin cooked the fish on a fire that afternoon, and all the French people were glad. That was yesterday, a Friday.