I Built a Canoe

A decade or so ago, I built a canoe. I didn’t do it alone. I had friends to help.

I live in a one bedroom apartment. A  husband and wife team let me use their garage. I was to be out before first snow so they could park their car in the garage. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the house.)

I met Jim in a canoe building class. He was one of the teachers and promised to help me.

He came over to help start each new phase of the canoe.

We set it up together. He left me to do the sides.

I went to my friend’s house every Saturday morning. Sometime after lunch, when I was tired and ready to go home, Bill would come over. We’d work until he was ready to go home about 5 in the afternoon.Scan

An expert boat builder can build a canoe in two weeks if he worked on it every day. It took me three months.

When I was finished, Jim came back to show me how to build the bottom. He came back in time to sand and plane the outside.

Scan 1 We moved the canoe to his house, in time for first snow.

We applied the fiberglass and resin in his walk-in  basement.

We were too far south for Bill to come, but we were close enough for Rhett to join us. (The picture to the left is of Jim and me. Rhett took the picture.)

Building a strip canoe is a long and tedious process. I got bored. If I had been by myself, I would have stopped. The unfinished canoe would have sat with the intention of my getting back to it. One day I would have gotten sick of looking at it and I would have finished or thrown it out.

But I had friends kept coming. i couldn’t very well tell them to forget it. I had to finish. I’m glad I did.

My maiden voyage was on the Mississippi River New Years day. Scan 3

I tell you this because I realized why I need to be with a traditional publisher.

Self-publishing is a lot of work. When I get overwhelmed because there were other things of life to be dealt with, I would have put the book aside with the intention of getting back to later. But because I have a publisher, I have to keep on track. I can’t let things slide.

This is good for me. The book will be published on time and it lets me see what publishing is like so I’ll know if I really want to self-publish someday.