The Call of the Wild

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Like the subjects of the short stories and essays he frequently publishes in outdoor sports…

Georgia (Sep 18, 2012)

Like the subjects of the short stories and essays he frequently publishes in outdoor sports magazines, English department chair William Rice is mysteriously driven by “something buried in the DNA” to pursue prey.
 
Taught by his father to hunt and fish, Rice still takes annual treks west to Montana, Colorado, Wyoming or New Mexico and occasionally to the North Georgia mountains, mostly to fly fish. Along the way he meets and imagines the colorful characters of a dozen stories he has published in magazines like Grays Sporting Journal, Sporting Classics
and Big Sky Journal.
 
By his own description, Rice grew up in Alabama among “coon hunters, squirrel hunters, country musicians, beautiful and deceitful women, long-winded politicians, lying fishermen and a wild-eyed preacher
or two.” They also figure prominently in his writing, which runs the gamut from character studies of the lone hunter
to wily and formidable prey and intriguing pursuits and musings on the loss of animal habitat and connection to the land.
 
Rice’s passion for outdoor sporting made the leap to literary form in the diminishing but still lucrative outdoor market around the time he joined the Kennesaw State faculty in 2006.
 
“I think it had a lot to do with my love of literature and my training as a professor and a scholar,” said Rice, who also has published scholarly books on great American writers like Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison and still regularly contributes to higher education journals.
 
“Even though outdoor writing is not as much in vogue in literary circles as it once was, I read and was influenced by great outdoor writers like Jack London and Ernest Hemingway, who wrote probably one of the best trout fishing stories ever written.”
 
The explosion of interest in fly fishing popularized in the movie “A River Runs Through It” and the growth of hunting lodges has renewed interest in the lore of hunting, camping and fishing, creating a whole new market for Rice’s stories.
 
Rice said he finds the writing “therapeutic,” providing balance to the demands of his job as department chair.
 
“In an administrative position, you don’t have a lot of concentrated time to write — the kind of time it takes to write books — so I got interested in doing these stories,” Rice said. “I’m leaning towards doing some kind of collection, but mainly, I just enjoy writing them.”
 
-- Sabbaye McGriff

 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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