Monday, July 8, 2013

Gone Fishin' ... er, Writin' ... er, Fishin' ...

Hello to all! Did you have a fun holiday weekend? Did you have a holiday weekend at all? I know that assumes a location and lifestyle that may not be true. Nevertheless, Arizona and I did just have a four-day weekend, and as I managed to turn in my manuscript the day before (yay!), we got to kick back together and enjoy some truly excellent July hot-and-humid. (Oops, just typo’d that as ‘hot-and-human,’ which really isn’t what I’m going for here, though us humans got plenty hot at times.) And during this mini-vacation, we hooked up YellowBoat and went fishing.

YellowBoat is a small aluminum craft that Arizona’s parents bought in the 80s. Registered at various points in Arizona, the Carolinas, New York and now Connecticut, I suspect he could tell some tales. However, although we have been the current custodians of YellowBoat for three summers now, we haven’t done much with him … until yesterday when, freshly power washed and wearing his new CT registration stickers on his bow, he took to the seas once more for some near-shore action.

And, as we tried various methods to entice the too-smart fish, from trolling to dragging to casting with a variety of lures ranging from “I would totally wear that as an earring” to “ewugh, what is that supposed to be?” and Arizona took to commenting, “That’s why we call it ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching,’” I got to thinking that it all felt very familiar.

Casting a rubbery green minnow toward the bank, reeling it in, and throwing it out again … That’s totally like sending a proposal to my editor. Will she like this one more than the others on her desk? Will she snap this one up, or will it be the next, or the one after that?

Dropping a weighted fake shrimpy-thing over the side and leaving it on the bottom while the boat drifts … that’s like writing the book. Will it work today, or will the words come slowly or not at all, stuck somewhere on a mental lobster pot deep below the surface?

Trolling with a bright green spoon that twirls and shimmies at the surface far behind YellowBoat … That’s like sending a new book out into the world—will I hook the readers? Will they buy up the copies or lie in wait to see if someone else tries it first?

The life of an author, rather like fishing, is a whole lot of prep-and-execution time interspersed with highs (fish on!) and lows (did I mention I caught a boat? oops. sorry about that lure you’ve had since high school). But if there’s one thing I can take home from fishing with Arizona, it’s that when there’s little guarantee of huge success on a given day, you just gotta enjoy the process.

So how about you? Do you prefer a hobby (or career!) where the harder you work the better you get, or do you like something that also has an element of lightning-strike luck to it, too?


  1. My luck fishing ended when my grandfather gave me a spinning rod and reel as a gift. My absolutely favorite lure was the Hula Popper. I loved flinging that baby out into the lake, reeling it back in and giving it a jerk from time to time to hear the "pop!" A splendid time was had by all, including the fish who had the good sense to hear the manic popping and swim off elsewhere.

    1. LOL! That's a great memory, Rhonda :) One of my favorites was catching the world's smallest trout using a fly I had tied from my mother's feather duster. High tech, that!