Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

Filmmaker, author share accounts of a ‘paddle to the sea’

My Paddle to the Sea

Athens, Ga. – The dream of a journey from South Carolina to the coast sparked a new University of Georgia Press book My Paddle to the Sea by John Lane and the documentary “River Time” by filmmaker and University of Georgia faculty member Chris Cogan and filmmaker Tom Byars.

On Nov. 16, the faculty filmmaker and the author will participate in the Athens premiere of “River Time” at 7 p.m. at Ciné. Lane will read from his newly released book, Cogan will screen the 30-minute film, and the two together will discuss the outcomes of their parallel projects. The event is free and open to the public, and copies of Lane’s book will be available for purchase and signing.

Inspired by reading Lane’s 2007 book Circling Home, Cogan decided to make a film about the author and his ability to write about a sense of place with keen attention to both history and natural landscapes.

Cogan, a faculty member in the UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art, went to Spartanburg to meet Lane. As they discussed ideas, Cogan learned about Lane’s plans for his next book, My Paddle to the Sea. Lane wanted to put in his boat in the creek near his backyard just outside Spartanburg and follow its path to the Atlantic Ocean, a 300-mile trip.

Over the course of his long career as a writer, Lane has explored many rivers and recounted his adventures in the outdoors. At the same time, he has also explored questions about his own stake in South Carolina and the South. My Paddle to the Sea, which released Nov. 1 from the UGA Press, combines both aspects of Lane’s work as he uses his trip from creek to lake to river to coast to meditate on the history and personalities that also share his connection to this waterway.

Cogan and Byars were able to capture much of this journey on film. Their completed work, “River Time,” provides a surprisingly different counterpart to the story of the trip as told by Lane, full of stunning visual depictions of the river and an outside perspective of Lane and his thinking about the relationship between humans and the environment.

For more information on the film, see For more information on the book, see