Tom Pamperin

Biography

Tom Pamperin studied creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and (briefly) in the Master of Fine Arts program in creative nonfiction at the University of Idaho. He has taught writing at the high school and college level for over ten years. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Washington Post, English Journal, The Madison Review, and others. He writes regularly about sailing and boat building for WoodenBoat Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, and www.duckworksmagazine.com.

Smashwords Interview

Describe your desk
I would if I could find it under all the piles of papers, books, maps, and notebooks.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Back in 2008 my brother and I decided to build a couple of small sailboats to use on the lakes and rivers of northern Wisconsin. We figured having a light-weight beachable sailboat would be kind of like backpacking on water--except the boat, not your back, carries all the gear. And it really has turned out that way. Using cheap plywood, a couple of 2x4s for a mast, a closet rod for a boom, and a $20 plastic tarp for a sail, I built a simple flat-bottomed skiff named Jagular, and we've traveled hundreds of miles by now, through the Great Lakes, the Texas coast, and a lot of other places.

I started writing about some of my adventures (except I call them (mis)adventures, a name that fits much better) at www.duckworksmagazine.com and in Small Craft Advisor Magazine. It's kind of boring to write about sailing trips when you're by yourself with no one to talk to, so I made my boat Jagular into a character, kind of a smartass sidekick who laughs at all my mistakes (and even worse, at my triumphs). A talking boat sounds weird, but that gimmick has really let me explore my own inconsistencies and quirks: there's the naive and grandiosely romantic narrator persona, and the cynical realist persona of the boat. The interplay between the two is a lot of fun to write, and lets me exaggerate my failings and poke fun at myself in a way that readers seem to enjoy.

I got enough feedback from readers that I eventually set out to compile a book-length collection. Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat takes readers on a 200-mile voyage on the Texas coast, a 20-day journey through Lake Huron's North Channel, an unwanted "rescue" by a small town police force, and a lot more. A lot of the appeal is just the ridiculous humor of a not-all-that-competent narrator trying to deal with the consequences, but there's room for some more serious ideas under the humor. Some of the best writing in the book, readers have told me, are where I'm able to write about why sailing is so satisfying, so compelling.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Tom Pamperin online


Where to buy in print


Books

Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat (illustrated version)
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 65,290. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Sailing
With a steadfastly contrarian sensibility and a lively appreciation of both the profound and the absurd, Tom Pamperin sets out with his cantankerous sidekick Jagular (a fourteen-foot sailboat he built from cheap plywood, a 2x4 mast, and a $20 tarp for a sail) on a series of sail and oar (mis)adventures ranging from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.
Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 64,970. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating & sailing, Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating & sailing
With a steadfastly contrarian sensibility and a lively appreciation of both the profound and the absurd, Tom Pamperin sets out with his cantankerous sidekick Jagular (a fourteen-foot sailboat he built from cheap plywood, a 2x4 mast, and a $20 tarp for a sail) on a series of sail and oar (mis)adventures ranging from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.

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