Paddle Your Own Canoe

Well it seems that between spinning yarn, knitting, sailing and just plain enjoying my time in northern Washington (dear god I love vacationing with my parents), I have finally finished a book. Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe is the lucky book that I took forever to read. PREPARE FOR SWANSON GIFS.

I adore Nick Offerman. Hopefully you know him from watching Parks and Recreation. If you have not watched said show I am here to tell you that Offerman’s performance as Ron Swanson is reason enough to become a fan. On top of being an absolutly hilarious character actor, Offerman is talented in a great many other ways, and his book helps reflect that.

Throughout the book Offerman tells a series of stories that help depict what shaped him as a person and as an actor. Many of his fans imagine him as the epitome of the manly man. I have also described him as a mustachioed example of pure masculinity. I can now see that I, like many others, had inserted him into a very narrow idea of who he is. Offerman, after all is an actor, which makes him an artist, which makes him the artsy one in his family. What makes him even more admirable is that acting is a profession he chose, that he has a degree in theatre and has made huge contributions to Chicago’s theatre community.

While he did grow up on a farm and has a passion for woodworking and red meat, he is much more than the traits that epitomize Ron Swanson. He has struggled to make a career out of acting and has depicted several compelling stories about his rise to stardom. One of my particular favorites is the chapter where he describes his time touring Japan with a Kabuki acting company. There is something about Offerman performing kabuki that has given me hours of laughter and enjoyment. I only wish I could see this performance because I’m sure that, as a amusing as the image in my mind is, he pulled it off brilliantly.

The book is brilliant because of his amazing storytelling and because of his masterful use of the English language. Offerman is an incredible writer. There is a maturity and complexity to his writing style that helps add to the humor of the stories. His use of repetition and sentence structure is nothing short of perfection. I applaud his writing style and have zero doubts that, had he not become an actor, he would be a writer of the highest caliber and respect. By the end of his book it had become clear that he was born to play Swanson and my respect, and admiration for him has only increased.

Offerman, Nick. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living. New York: Dutton, 2014. Print.


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