Harris writes a book
By Ted Pennekamp
As a regular contributor to our Outdoors Section over the past several years, many readers look forward to the entertaining stories and nice photographs of Len Harris. Soon, those readers will get a further chance to enjoy Harris’ work when his latest book “Brigadoon Creek” is published by Lovstad Publishing of Lodi, Wis. later this year.
“My goal is to share outdoor tales like sitting around the campfire,” said Len. “I like to make the reader feel like they’re there.”
Brigadoon Creek will feature 24 short stories which will be illustrated by about 48 photos. “Ninety percent of the stories are outdoors related. There will also be a couple of wayward tales of my younger days splashed in,” said Len with a wry grin.
Brigadoon Creek refers to the “mythical best trout stream in the world,” which Len says means different things to different folks. He noted that the stories include old favorites and seven or eight that are fresh and never before released.
“I love the outdoors and it’s just natural for people to spin a yarn and brag a little bit while tellin’ stories,” he said. “I like to write in everyday, down-to-earth language and avoid getting too elaborate. My wife calls it ‘short attention span theater.’”
Len said that Brigadoon Creek is currently being edited by his wife Barb and will be further edited by the publisher. A number of Len’s photos are also being considered for cover art.
Len resides in Richland Center but grew up in Gays Mills where he became hooked on trout fishing at an early age. “The fishing is better within five minutes of Gays Mills than anywhere in the world,” says Len, who noted that he tries to capture ‘The Heart of the Driftless” in his yarns.
Len’s stories have a way of resonating with people by making them feel as if they were there or would like to be there. They also bring back similar good outdoors memories for many readers.
Some stories are humorous, some have excitement and tension and others touch upon a person’s soul and the real reason one ventures into the outdoors.
Len described one tale about the time he spent six months preparing for a trout fishing trip to Germany. He and a friend fished in the Leinbach River, a stream in the foothills of the Alps. Len said that catch and release is not allowed no matter how big or small the trout that you catch. Your fishing day is over when you reach a total length of one meter of fish. “I caught three 15-inch German brown trout in 20 minutes and had my limit,” said Len who sported a somewhat forlorn look while recalling the disappointingly short expedition. After the fishing, Len and his wife enjoyed the local beer fest known as Bachfloerren.
A touching story that readers may be familiar with, “Heart of a Deer Hunter,” describes the health struggles and resilience of an avid Gays Mills hunter and the support of his family, friends and neighbors.
“Unprepared” is about a giant pike estimated at 47 inches that Len hooked, fought and lost next to shore near the Gays Mills Dam. The monster is still lurking for real and in Len’s dreams. He hopes he is more prepared for the next encounter. “The Bathtub” is a humorous tale that a smiling Len said is probably a bit too risque for a newspaper.
Brigadoon Creek is Len’s second book of short outdoors stories, which he said are generally more upbeat than those of his first book “Stream of Time.” It is hoped that Brigadoon Creek is published and available before the Gays Mills Apple Festival, said Len.