We sat down with writer and professor James Watson, and chatted about how he lives in his Stone Ramblers, offering glimpses into the life of a modern author.
TrumanBoot: Thanks for taking the time to chat, James. Why don’t you start by just telling us a little about yourself. Where are you at in life?
Watson: Hmm. There’s a question. Well, I guess I could say, along with Dante, that I find myself in the “middle way of life’s journey.” Or maybe that’s optimistic. But let’s see. I live in beautiful Eugene, Oregon, with my wife of almost seventeen years and my five sons. I’m a writer of sorts. I teach at Bushnell University, and am the director of the honors program there. I like to grow flowers and tinker on old motorcycles.
T: What sort of projects are you currently working on, whether writing or around the house or otherwise?
W: As far as writing, there’s a television series in the works, or a couple actually, as well as a film version of my first novel. I guess “in the works” might be putting it a bit too boldly. But there are definitely some serious rumblings, albeit curtailed by our mutual friend Corona. As far as at home... I’ve just finished a gate for the secret prayer garden I’m growing. It’s an imposingly large, clean-lined take on a Gothic quinto punto arch. Now I’m working on a smaller matching trellis for some climbing roses.
T: You’ve been wearing some Stone Ramblers for a while. How has that been?
W: Well, by nature I’m allergic to marketing or promotional stuff. So I’ll just be very candid: my Trumans are the finest boots I’ve physically handled in my life. To be honest I’m beginning to remind myself of Mr. Ramsay in To the Lighthouse. He was a bit obsessed with good boots. This was the nineteen twenties, and he would send away to the only cobbler in England who could make boots to his standards. Anyway, I’ve had several good boots over the years—Danners, three or four pair of Red Wings—but these Ramblers are constructed on another level. They have that solidness to them that makes you just want to... put them on, even when you don’t need to. Their beauty is subtle. The materials are aging in perfect harmony. The slightly rough, waxed patina of this particular leather is perfect.
T: What do you find yourself using them for the most?
W: As I said, they’re gorgeous. So a part of me has wanted to reserve them for nicer occasions. But in reality, they take on wear so admirably, and it so naturally becomes a part of their life, that now I’m not even careful with them at all, really. I pretty much use them for anything where I’m not wearing shorts (and I’m tempted even there). Working on vehicles, carpentry projects, whatever. Yesterday I took a quick jaunt to my favorite place to walk and be alone. There are trails, but it’s mainly brush and tall grass. It’s an incredible feeling to listen to nothing but the wind coming up the hill, and to feel the heft of a good boot under your foot. It was glorious.
T: Thanks so much for your time.
W: My pleasure!