From actor Dirk Benedict comes this brilliant autobiographical telling of two unique and engrossing events that had an enormous impact on his life. He intertwines the story of his wife’s unexpectedly complicated home birthing with his own coming of age in Montana—and the violent death of his father. Past events of love, friendship, hatred, and fatherhood culminate in a dramatic explosion before him, linking his father’s death with the birth of his first child. Benedict’s writing style is lively, creative, and always engaging. His use of humor, pathos, and imagery is masterful. He has taken two rites of passage in his life and woven them together to produce a story that is every bit as entertaining as it is moving. Given Dirk’s unique storytelling ability and well-honed sense of timing, And Then We Went Fishing will keep you hooked from page one to its powerful, poignant conclusion.
It is a hard thing to learn that reality is relative. That one person’s red is another’s orange. That one child’s pain is another’s joy. That what is true for me is false for another. The following story is true. For me. As God knows, there are others who could also tell this story. I cannot and do not speak for them. They must speak for themselves. What is essential to remember, and even more difficult to learn, is that there is a spiritual truth to all our lives and the stories they contain, and that that spiritual truth is absolute and does not change no matter who tells the story. The colors, emotions, thoughts, and feelings of this tale, then, are mine. They may or may not be true for others. But their spirit and the spirit of this story are the absolute truth.
It is essentially two stories told as one. The birth of my first child and the death of my father. Shortly after our child was born, my wife insisted that I sit down, while the experience was still fresh in my mind, and write the story. I did so. My father died thirty years ago. Were it a hundred, I could never forget who said what to whom and when. I can, therefore, attest to the veracity of all the words uttered by those involved in both stories. The quotation marks don’t come easy.
During the thirty years since my father’s death, I have tried once a decade to put it all on paper. But it was always too soon, too impossible, and beyond me. This, my fourth attempt to tell that story, was made possible by my wife, Toni, and the experience we had with the birth of our first child.
There’s always the danger, as any politician will tell you, that when you write something down on paper, it will fall into the wrong hands and get published. Writing a book, I have discovered, is a kind of birth, and the book becomes its own reality apart and separate from its creator. Such has been the case. And as much as I, creator of this wayward child, have resisted its desire to go into public life, it has been to no avail. It has fallen into the wrong hands of those who feel it has some value in easing the pain of others who may also have tasted some of the bitter pills of youth that I was forced to swallow. Such was not my intention, but there has been nothing I can do to convince this literary offspring of mine that it was not meant to be read by strangers. It will do, as children will, what it damn well pleases. I can only hope that it is accepted for what it is, one man’s little story of his rise from the ashes of enormous pain, and that it causes no further pain to anyone who reads its pages, but brings instead some new appreciation for birth, death, and the miracle of love that surrounds them.