Franklin Countys First News

Words on Words: Campfires along the Allagash & other Maine Rivers

Jeff Howatt

Everything about Jeff Howatt speaks of endurance. A ninth generation Mainer, a long time Mt. Blue High School Math teacher, and a highly experienced Master Maine Guide and storyteller, Jeff brings all three aspects of his heritage to a new collection of wilderness stories, Campfires along the Allagash & other Maine Rivers. Apart from bringing his well-traveled campfire and adventure stories to the page, Howatt also includes many humorous anecdotes drawn from his math classrooms.

Jeff will be reading from his new book at DDG Booksellers on Thursday April 25th at 6:30 pm. To find out more about his book I posed Jeff some questions.

Kenny: You've been telling these stories for years, Jeff. Did writing them down transform them at all?

Jeff: Without using hand motions, sound effects, and drawings to add to the story, I did try to describe a few details more when writing. I believe they do tell better than they read but most still sound pretty good.

Kenny: Adventure is a really important word in your book. How would you define it?

Jeff: Any time you go beyond your typical routine. To one, a hike of two miles taking one hour on a marked trail could be an adventure. To me, a multi-day trip going where few if any would go, like winter mountain climbing when the chill factor is below zero. “To boldly go where no man has gone before”

Kenny: You mix in many humorous, cautionary tales from your Math teaching at Mt. Blue High School. How do they relate to your outdoors stories in terms of narrative elements like preparedness and survival.

Jeff: One thing that Mother Nature and Modern Teens both have in common is they are at times unpredictable. You need to be prepared for anything.

Kenny: In your conclusion you start out by saying "Most books conclude with two words 'The End' but mine does not. " Your adventures may have no end but there is a feeling of finality about the book. Do you plan on a second one or is this 'The End' in that sense?

JeffI am 80 percent finished writing my next book which is about hiking the Appalachian Trail from Mt. Katahdin to Mt. Washington, a 350 mile adventure.

Kenny: Thanks Jeff. We're looking forward to experiencing your stories on April 25.

Jeff: I'm looking forward to it too.

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