My Mentor

In Praise of the Late Idaho Writer Patrick McManus

By Pat Walch

For my dad’s birthday back in the late ‘70s, I went shopping and picked up a book that had a cute cartoon of a fisherman on the front. It was an early volume by Patrick F. McManus, A Fine and Pleasant Misery. I’d never heard of him, but I read enough of it at the store that I couldn’t bear to leave it alone the minute I got home with it. I finished the book in time to wrap it up and give it to Dad the next day. From then on, I began collecting each of his new releases and gave many McManus books as gifts—not only to Dad, the outdoorsman—but to almost anyone who enjoyed a good laugh and love of a book in their hands.

Patrick was born in Sandpoint and lived there a good share of his life. He loved and wrote about Idaho, enjoying everything her mountains and streams have to offer, and writing about them with humor so exaggerated you laughed out loud and couldn’t wait to read his next story, to share his next escapade.

I’ve had a penchant for writing all my life, and always tried to put a little humor into my lines no matter what the subject was. Through use of a tongue-in-cheek style, I hoped a bit of McManus would rub off on me. But over time, as my husband Bruce and I became embroiled in a new business venture in a town that happened to be close to Sandpoint, I strayed away from my early morning journaling and visions of writing courses. One day in January 1993, Bruce burst into our office saying, “Turn on the radio. They’re interviewing Patrick McManus. He’s giving a writing workshop next week and I think you should go. Here’s the number to call.”

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