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Landing


I'm from Virginia.

I live in San Francisco.

I write novels and create TV shows.

I have a writing office at the Grotto.

I'm a lifelong fisherman and was stranded
in a remote tent camp in Alaska for 21 days.

I once found another man in bed with my wife.

I am represented by WME and Anonymous Content.

I am the CEO of Fishburne & Sons, a Story Studio.

Here’s a longer bio, if you want more granularity.

Here are the last ten books I’ve read…

If you owe me money, here's how to reach me.

 

 

 

 

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Landing


I'm from Virginia.

I live in San Francisco.

I write novels and create TV shows.

I have a writing office at the Grotto.

I'm a lifelong fisherman and was stranded
in a remote tent camp in Alaska for 21 days.

I once found another man in bed with my wife.

I am represented by WME and Anonymous Content.

I am the CEO of Fishburne & Sons, a Story Studio.

Here’s a longer bio, if you want more granularity.

Here are the last ten books I’ve read…

If you owe me money, here's how to reach me.

 

 

 

 

Bio


Bio


 

"Rodes Fishburne is a marksman hunting down first-novel fame, and he never misses." - Tom Wolfe


Rodes Fishburne is the author of the best-selling novel Going To See The Elephant, chosen by both Independent bookstores and Amazon.com as one of the best novels of 2009. 

He co-created the one hour drama, Blood & Oil for ABC, which ran for the 2015-2016 season.

He's written for magazines and newspapers, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and Forbes ASAP. 

A lifelong angler, he worked for five seasons as a fly-fishing guide in Alaska. While living in a remote tent camp on the Upper Nushagak River, a severe storm with 90 mile per hour winds stranded him alone for 21 days, during this time he lost 17 pounds and read War and Peace twice.

A native of Virginia, and a graduate of Emory & Henry College, he attended St. Peter’s College, Oxford, where he studied Religion and Irish Literature.

He’s a member of the Grotto, a collective of professional writers and is represented by Sylvie Rabineau at WME, and David Kanter and Jeff Okin at Anonymous Content. He lives in San Francisco.


 A STORY ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO

From debut author Rodes Fishburne, this captivating novel introduces one of the most engaging literary characters in recent years: Slater Brown, whose dream to be the greatest writer in the world leads him to discover the spirit of a city—and himself.

Standing in a bicycle taxi, speeding the wrong way down the busiest street in San Francisco, twenty-five-year old Slater Brown is ready to stake his claim as the greatest writer in the world. In the history of the world.

If only the perfect story would appear.

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Fly Fishing Essay


Fly Fishing Essay


When I was 23-years-old I worked as a fly-fishing guide in southwestern Alaska. 

I lived alone in a remote tent camp on the edge of a river called the Nushagak (nush-a-gack). It was 100 miles by floatplane to the nearest town, otherwise known as electricity.
Which made the tent I lived in all the more important. It was large, with a wooden platform, steel ribs, and a tough, white vinyl tent covering. In one corner was a little cot. And in another a cook stove. And in another a little library, which contained two things: a copy of War and Peace, and an old Playboy magazine.

One night at 2 a.m. the tent started shaking violently. A wicked storm had descended onto my little nirvana from a place appropriately named “Cold Bay.” I learned later that at its peak, the storm’s winds reached 75 mph. But at that moment my main concern was that the tent was going to be ripped from its foundation, Wizard of Oz-style.
I grabbed the steel ribs and used my weight to anchor the tent. I was holding down the fort, literally. Every couple of minutes another super-gust would come along and the tent would swell up as if inhaling while contemplating where to launch itself into the dark wet night sky. Then another wave of wind and rain would snap the tent and send me rocking, like a side of beef, as I hung from the tent’s frame.
After awhile I started talking to the storm, trying to sooth her, “C’mon sweetheart, it’s really late and we’re both tired, and wouldn’t it be better if we talked about this in the morning?”
THWWAAAAAAAP… came the hissed response.
Two hours later I collapsed into bed. The storm had quieted for a moment, my arms were numb, and the only sound was of big rain drops stinging the tent. I called the lodge on the two-way radio. Any guide living in a remote tent camp was instructed to call the lodge twice a day. “Do it alive or dead,” the head guide had told me when the floatplane had dropped me off.

The storm had hit the lodge as well, throwing one of the float planes onto the dock and breaking off a wing.

“Sorry to hear that,” I said into the two-way radio.

“You should be sorry,” said the voice on the other end, “because that was the plane that was coming to get you. We’ll try to get out there in the next couple of days.”

I thought I’d be on my own for three or four days. Being alone for a few days was no big deal. Not getting supplies from the lodge made it more challenging, but self-reliance was part of the job. It turned out I would be on my own for 21 days. I read War and Peace twice. Strangely, I only read the Playboy once…

A lot of strange and interesting things happened to me during that time. Here’s one of them.

I had a little walkman radio, and one cassette tape: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Greatest Hits.” Even now, during a quiet moment in traffic I sometimes hear the opening guitar riff of “Fortunate Son” in my head. Other than the cassette tape, I could pick up one radio station, from Dillingham, Alaska, where the local DJ said things like, “Steve Pickering has a back-hoe with a broken piston he’d be willing to trade for a used snow mobile. Come around his garage tonight, but beware the pet wolf.”

One night, as I was falling asleep in my cot with the headphones on, listening to the melody that was the classified ad radio hour, my head, very gently, touched the steel ribs of the tent.

“BZZZWRRPPP”

In an instant my little radio was flooded with sounds, and foreign voices, and lively music like I’d never heard before. It was as if I had tuned into frequencies from another planet.

And then I realized the language was Russian… I was picking up a Russian radio station!

By accidentally touching the steel frame with my metal headphones I had unintentionally turned the tent’s entire steel structure into the Nushagak river’s largest radio antenna. I moved the little tuning dial on the radio and my ears feasted on rock-n-roll, opera, salsa, oldies, coming from stations as far away as Chicago, New York City, and Miami.

I was so excited I jumped out of bed, quickly realizing that in order for the radio to pick up these frequencies I had to be touching the metal frame of the tent with the headphones. Which meant that to go make a cup of hot tea I had to trace the pattern of the tent’s steel ribs with my head, or risk losing contact with the outside world.

In an instant I’d been transformed from a starving man to a starving man standing in front of a banquet of delicious… sounds. I could listen to the BBC, to sports scores, and to a marathon Rolling Stone session. As I lay very still in my bed, listening to the outside world, it felt like my little existence was on the receiving end of a magician’s encore.

At 1 a.m. I moved the tuner knob on the radio and heard a high-pitched voice say “I’m Truman Capote.” For the next 60 minutes he told of how he’d thrown the greatest party of the 20th century, the Black and White Ball, in New York City in 1966. And although Capote was long dead, there was some kind of crazy symmetry about a young writer, who had literally found himself up Shit’s Creek, pressing his head against the tent in order to hear another writer tell his story into the ether.

Years later I would write a novel, Going to See the Elephant where the main character, Slater Brown, discovers a way to learn the secret stories of San Francisco. And now that you know this story, you know the story behind the story of how Slater Brown, and you too, can tune in the universe. –Rodes Fishburne

Wife Essay


Wife Essay


A couple of weeks ago, at 3 in the morning,
I woke up to find my wife in bed with another man.

She likes tall men; he was short. She likes broad shoulders; his were narrow. I don't think I'm offending the parties involved when I say that at 37 pounds he was a bit of a lightweight. If it came right down to it, and it might, I was pretty sure I could take him. 

Sadly, this wasn't the first time I'd caught them together. For the past month, it had been happening two or three nights a week, including weekends. Had they any shame? Nope, came the answer, clear as the blinking alarm clock next to the bed, they did not. So with mixed feelings, I kissed my son's forehead and left to go sleep in his room.

As I curled around the cat-size warm spot he had left behind in his small bed, I felt the plastic knights lurking in the sheets running sorties against my kneecaps. It was not going to be a great night's sleep. 

And so my mind turned. And turned. This was just perfect. You fall in love with your dream girl, move to San Francisco, marry her, have a child together, and then, at the age of 3, the boy—sleepwalking through his Oedipal debut—displaces you from your rightful position in bed. It was tragedy. It was farce. It was fatherhood. And there would be no intermission.

As I lay there, another fearsome truth revealed itself: The love my wife and I shared with each other had created something that literally got between us. It was like having a fire hydrant bolted in the middle of your bed. Resistance would be futile. And feudal. 

This shift in family dynamics is disorienting to even the most stable of male psyches. What father hasn't walked up at the end of a long day to his house/grass hut/igloo and been greeted at the front door by a little feller whose first response is: 

"Where's Mom?" 

The mature thing to do would be to register a jolt of sympathy for the fact that the other male in my household was struggling—just like me!—with a strong urge to be with Mom. And there was a tiny jolt allocated on his behalf. On the other hand, only a fool fails to recognize true competition. 

I tossed in my son's bed. What else was in my blind spot? The mind reeled: "First a blind spot, then a bald spot. Then you're dead." It sounded like a fortune cookie written by Samuel Beckett.

How do men get themselves into this situation? Very slowly. For starters, no alien takes over our bodies for nine months, our feet don't swell, we never stand naked in front of a floor-length mirror howling, "I. Look. Huge!" in order to signal to our (admittedly) sluggish, (admittedly) reptilian brains that something is coming. Men are selfish, and selfishness is best preserved in a cocoon of ignorance. Preferably one made of beer and pork ribs. So we hang on to the coattails of someone else's biology, winking and cooing supportively, without the foggiest idea of what is about to happen. 

Only later do we realize that, in addition to all the other things fatherhood requires—patience, sacrifice, the ability to change diapers with one hand while eating a piece of pizza—we must add the notion of second place. Silver medals all around. 

I asked a female friend about this. I wanted a woman's perspective. If I'd asked my wife, she would have told me everything was going to be all right. She would straddle the fault line with more finesse than a Swiss diplomat. My friend wouldn't be so gentle. She had children. She could provide feminine insight that transcended my own beer-'n'-pork-rib cocoon.

"Oh yeah," she said when I brought up the subject of silver medals, "that's a totally real thing."

Oh, boy. 

"And I have to tell you, I loved it."

Oh, no.

"The snuggling and the nuzzling. To be honest, there's a part of me that really enjoyed my son's attention. It's not sexual; it's not even sensual. It's animal." Her eyes drifted a bit, as if recalling a particularly faraway cosmic mother-son snuggle that a father wouldn't understand. "And... there's a little part of me that also enjoyed the hunger in my husband's eyes. For my attention, but also for my son's."

Oh, dear God. 

"You know, before my son was born, I would have nightmares about my husband drowning and I would dive in to save him. But about a week after our son was born, I started to have nightmares about my son instead. Funny, huh?"

Hilarious. 

It's 4 A.M. now. If I hurry up, I can get just enough sleep to make the day bearable. Hurry up and sleep—the motto of new parents everywhere. 

I reach for the shrinking ball of warmth, now the size of a quarter. The paranoid part of my mind is tired. In fact, it's selfishly asleep. Which is good, because the words that come are my father's, who offered them whenever I did something that amused him, or bewitched him, or caused him, I see now, to contemplate his perch in the cosmos and the ineffable mystery of why fathers even have sons in the first place. He would quote a bit of old poetry: 

"The child is father to the man...."

Which, when you are the child, sounds like a ridiculous adult riddle unworthy of unraveling. But when you are the man, it doesn't need to be unraveled, because the answer is lying right in front of you, next to the woman you love. The dead-of-night idea comes slowly, but it comes: This curious earthly rotation we all take turns on is made real—is made indelible—by the appearance of the next generation. 

This same epiphany must have dawned on my father, and his father, and your father, on and on, back through the family tree of sleepless nights. 

I wish I could remember the rest of the poem, but it is getting very late now. Finally time to rest. Reason and memory both fading. Led into the darkness by the last of the plastic knights.

She likes tall men; he was short. She likes broad shoulders; his were narrow. I don't think I'm offending the parties involved when I say that at 37 pounds he was a bit of a lightweight. If it came right down to it, and it might, I was pretty sure I could take him.
Sadly, this wasn't the first time I'd caught them together. For the past month, it had been happening two or three nights a week, including weekends. Had they any shame? Nope, came the answer, clear as the blinking alarm clock next to the bed, they did not. So with mixed feelings, I kissed my son's forehead and left to go sleep in his room. 

FishburneAndSons


FishburneAndSons


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I created Fishburne & Sons when I was 12 years old, although nobody was aware of it at the time. 

Since then I’ve written best-selling novels, created one hour dramas for TV, and am currently writing new stories for all sorts of platforms, including paper, screens, pixels, and Virtual Reality.

Fishburne and Sons is the company I created for the sole purpose of producing narratively complex, original stories, that only I can tell.

For me, there’s nothing more interesting than a good story, and nothing harder to tell. 

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LastTenBooksRead


LastTenBooksRead


The last ten books I read...