Carp Fishing and Poetry–Who Knew?

Thank you, Samir of Cecile’s Writers, for presenting me with a Liebster Award!  You’re one of my favorite bloggers who expands my thinking horizons, and I appreciate it immensely!

For readers who always eat their desserts first, page down for the carp fishing video.

As part of the award, Samir asked me to answer 11 questions. So here goes:

1) Literature or entertainment fiction? literature IS entertainment fiction for me

2) Introvert or extrovert? heart of an introvert, but I can put on the cloak of an extrovert, when needed. Just don’t expect me to wear it for very long.

3) If you could promote (and succeed) in one cause, what would it be? stripping all physical, psychological, and verbal human violence from this world. 

4) Movies or books? BOOKSSSSSSS!!!!!!

5) Which writer’s books can’t you stand (please be honest)? Can’t name one, perhaps because I won’t read them if I don’t like them. I do recall reading At Swim-Two-Birds for a class in experimental literature and thinking that it was a boring “one trick pony.”

6) What’s your favorite cuisine? Chocolate……seriously, I love Southern Indian dosas. After that comes Thai and Vietnamese, North Indian and Persian, Sushi, Spanish/Moroccan, Mexican/Central American… 

7) Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you? I have excellent powers of denial that suppress those types of experiences, so I can’t think of any. :o) BUT, I have lots of embarrassing moments with animals. For example, my husband and I were gathering wood for a fire after dark at Nxai Pan in Botswana.


We had seen a leopard at dusk about a mile away and had been so enthralled with watching it that we didn’t start making camp until the stars were the brightest points of light for miles. I was rummaging for wood (without a flashlight) in a copse of scrubby umbrella thorns and spooked a bird that flew straight at me. I yelled and grabbed a branch, jamming a thorn deep into the base of the fingernail of my right thumb. Then I fell over backwards. Hyenas laughed in the bushes, or maybe that was my imagination. It took two months for the thorn to work its way out. 


Driving in Nxai Pan – Pleased that nothing ate me while taking this photo

After that experience, we always made camp before dark. Then there was the time in the Okavango Delta when my husband insisted that he heard rustling in the bushes just beyond our campfire. I kept insisting that he was hearing things, or that (if it was anything) it was just a bird. Well, when he pointed the flashlight beam through the bushes, it highlighted an eyeball of a grazing hippo. So yes, I felt foolish. We climbed on top of the truck until the hippo moved off for the evening. Then there was the time a baboon stole a loaf of bread from my hand while I was trying to make lunch. (I could tell by its breath that it hadn’t brushed its very large teeth for a long time.) The group of 30 or so surrounded us, faking charges from all directions until the largest came from behind me (my husband yelled “look out!”), and I dropped the loaf into its clutches. They all ran after the one with the bread, screaming and carrying on for many minutes afterward. We moved our camp to a different location.

So you see, I can only think of instances where non-human animals have made me look like a fool. Clearly, I have a blind spot in my psyche. I did manage to keep my husband from driving through a small lake filled with crocodiles feasting on a handful of dead wildebeest. We didn’t have a snorkel or a winch on our truck, and we were alone, so I thought it would be “prudent” not to try. I believe that I saved him (and us) from earning a “Darwin award.” 

8) Dreamer or realist? I’m bi-polar D-R, depending on the moment.

9) Who inspires you? My husband, a tenacious, brilliant, and successful entrepreneur/do-gooder. My son who has unlimited enthusiasm and ingenuity– when he wants to do something. One of my clients, California Rural Legal Assistance, an organization that fights for the rights of the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised members of our society in California. My husband’s clients, including the folks at Room to Read, KIVA, Ashoka, and others.

10) Favorite sport? Carp fishing – haven’t done it, but these guys make it look like it would be a fun way to restore an ecosystem. ;o)

11) The perfect Saturday night is…? Every Saturday night is perfect because it’s sandwiched between Friday and Sunday.

Now, without making an official award or asking them to answer any questions, (Samir, I hope you don’t mind), I am sending my best electron waves out to three poetry sites. The number three because it feels like the right number today, and poetry because it is essential to life.

1) a beautiful, moving poem for one billion rising from Tales of a City by the Sea

2) a poet who writes beautiful poems in English and German Voynixsf

3) a self-professed poet terrorist, Alarmingman, but I tend to think of him as “Haiku man”

Thank you, poets, for making my life richer.

11 thoughts on “Carp Fishing and Poetry–Who Knew?

  1. alarmingman says:

    Thank you for the mention, Jilanne – much appreciated. I very much enjoyed reading your answers and I’m with you on number 7 – I seem to have a blind-spot for embarrassing experiences as well…

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Thank you! It’s one I can’t wear for too long without becoming exhausted. My husband is just the opposite, he gets his energy from being social. It’s an interesting dynamic in our relationship.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, it is best to be close to a campfire after dark unless you’re inside, because you, too, are part of the food web. One night, we left a medium-size cooler next to the truck, after putting out the fire and then climbing into our tent on top of our truck. Within minutes, we heard (and then saw) a couple of hyenas abscond with the cooler, eating through one of its hard plastic handles and leaving its non-food contents scattered about and riddled with holes. Their jaws can generate over 2,000 lbs. of force, capable of crushing large bones, so our cooler didn’t stand a chance.

      Compare that to the “cute” black-backed jackal in Namibia that we actually lured to our campsite with some canned tuna and a cup of water at dusk….that just reminded me of the largest scorpion I’ve ever seen in the bottom of a “long drop” or outhouse in Namibia. Ah, memories of life before our son. Now we have our own “wild thing,” capable of wreaking all kinds of havoc at any time within our own home. :o)

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yeah, self-inflicted. :o) It only throbbed for a day or two, and I kept it covered with an alcohol swab to prevent infection. It was interesting to watch it grow out with the fingernail. Thanks for coming by!

  2. alundeberg says:

    I love your Botswana stories! They sound like an adventure! Have you ever read Osa Johnson’s I Married Adventure? Great book, and she and her husband also had funny and terrifying meetings with animals (and cannibal chiefs).

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      I haven’t read that book, but it sounds like our lives. My husband and I have more stories about “how we almost lost it” than I care to think about. I did read an engaging book about a British couple and their children living in and driving an old refurbished DUCK through the Okavango Delta–perhaps in the 1950s?–while we were in Botswana.The couple ditched their successful engineering firm to seek a life filled with adventure in the bush. It’s just called “Okavango,” and the author is June Kay. It was published in 1962 by Hutchinson of London. It was in the library of a bed n breakfast we stayed at in Johannesburg. And I think it was the determining factor in our decision to explore the Okavango Delta. Oh how I miss Southern Africa. It really does leave its imprint on your soul.

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