Monday, August 15, 2011

Hard times, come again no more...

I've been told that after a great day of fishing, a well known writer says "Well, that one won't make it in the book." It was too good. And people don't want to read about too good of a day, I guess. It's like being too smart, or too pretty. I can't relate...

But I can relate to that writer. I know exactly what he means, and I wonder -- how masochistic is it, anyway, to hope for bad fishing to get a good story? To have something to write about. This is wallowing in artistic angst; like a pig in a sty full of mud. Do I stink?

The worst times make the best stories. The dampest campfires have fuel enough to keep a story roaring, for pages. Unexpected outcomes and suspense keep attention and interest; like a lover, you swing hinged on their every word, and your stomach tightens at the pauses. What will happen next? Hard times are the stuff of which novels are made, and out of which art is created. And even though we sing come again no more, those hard times linger forever in our ears. Haunting. Giving us stories -- to write, to read, and to re-tell for dessert around a hardwood dinner table. You can even have seconds if you want....there is more than enough.

This past week held one of the best fishing days of the season. Heck, one of the best of my life. My mom (visiting from Nebraska), Jay, Eve, Banjo and I hiked to a high lake. Within minutes of the first cast, we had the confidence to wager and race to 10 (for the record, Eve won). It was great. It was fun -- a lovely time. It was "what high country fishing is supposed to be." Yet at the end of the day, hiking out, I couldn't think of anything to write about. I couldn't think of anything but wow, that was a wonderful day. Even now, I can't. It was great fishing. Enough said. And really, how interesting is that? Great fishing isn't the stuff of stories; rather, it's of dreams.

Yet, I can't say I hope to wake up anytime soon. 





30 comments:

  1. I feel ya 100%. Glad you had a good outing and some decent fishing. Some days just...are. Words are powerful, but there are some places too deep for them to wade.

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  2. I smell what you're steppin' in.

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  3. what great timing. I've been suffering from writer's block for a while now. Not due to magnificent fishing, but not enough...or well enough. You always make writing sound so easy.

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  4. Awesome family day...they just don't happen often enough!

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  5. So true...but yeah, keep on dreaming. We all awaken soon enough.

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  6. Will - Definitely, as a writer, it's very strange to feel words fail me...

    Jay - Glad of it!

    Cofisher - It isn't...not easy at all. But in the end, I'm glad it comes out that way! Hey, maybe you should try some bassin' again? ;)

    River Damsel - They sure don't! Thanks!

    Jim - Indeed we will, and I think I'll go to sleep, perchance to dream....right now...

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  7. Erin - you have brightened a wet morning.

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  8. Erin
    Being tongue tied is a small price to pay for great fishing. If the inverse of your theory were true, I'd be a much better writer.

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  9. Sometimes the moments are just for you to enjoy. You'll have plenty more to share with others.

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  10. Dave - Ah, am very glad I was able to!

    John - Ha! A small price for sure. Good point on the inverse though.....hmmm, I should be a better writer too, for the amount of bad fishing days this year. Darn wind. ;) Thanks for the comment!

    Kev - The day was savored...

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  11. The story or the fish? An internal struggle that may never get resolved.

    a good day of fishing is just the universe's way of keeping a writer honest :-)

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  12. Sanders - ah, and it is probably never intended to be resolved....or, we'd stop writing. ;) A writer's (especially fly fishing writer's) honesty...makes me always think back on that post you did where you had forgotten your camera in the car. We all still believed your stories...

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  13. I hope it's something that never gets resolved :-)

    I remember writing that post, I thought, I really have a lot of room to work...People will believe that I actually caught a twenty inch fish, my camera doesn't have to be my moral compass...ha! But I had more fun writing about not catching that fish (the masochistic thing I guess) So maybe, "our" reality is always the best story...good or bad

    ...although, I do enjoy hearing about other people's good days on the water, it gives me hope :-)

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  14. I hope so too, Sanders. And you know, I went out the next day, and got skunked. Haven't written about that yet. ;) "moral compass" -- that's my mother's more backwoodsy way of saying conscience. I haven't heard anyone outside my family use it. I really, really glad you just did. :)

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  15. I find your report on great fishing tedious and lacking worth. Perhaps you should find worse places to fish and lesser persons with whom to fish. Also, your photos are far too stunning on both a technical and artistic basis. Again, tedious and lacking the attention grabbing value of an out of focus picture of a carp hauled from some dark bog.

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  16. Steve - My apologies on this one...it won't happen again. ;)

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  17. Great days are too rare not to celebrate. It seems to make them last a bit longer.

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  18. Mark - Very true...there is a shortage of good days it seems...

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  19. Besides, nobody really believes you when you have one of those "fish every cast" days anyway (ask me how I know).

    Better to write about the skunkings, which are more "universal" and far more comprehensible...

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  20. How do you know? Do tell...!

    And really, skunkings are more believable to the fisherman/writer too, eh. Because fishing just shouldn't be able to work. I'm always taken by surprise when it does.

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  21. Another great story and observation (as was the He-moose...master of the universe? bad play on words, sorry). I know all too well the masochistic enjoyment of a little hardship.

    You know, I like to stop by this page a day or so after your post, so that there are already about 15 plus comments. I find your dialog in the comment sections can be equally enlightening and entertaining. See you later.

    oh, and I like when Banjo makes the shots. Makes me smile :)

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  22. My writing sucks when things are good. Whether it's life things or outdoors things. For sure. In times like that, I post a lot of pretty pictures of all the cool stuff I saw outdoors! Yay! Hey look, another big fish I caught! Woah, look at this picture of my really cute kid! Woah, beautiful river!

    It's pretty easy to judge my daily mental health by looking at how my posts are constructed!!

    I wouldn't fight it! You're a good writer and you know it. Let it come and go as it needs to.

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  23. d.nash - I think I will call him He-Moose from now on. Good play on words! :) And I'm always glad when you do stop by....in the first comment, or twenty-first...thanks!

    River Mud - I'm pretty sure my mental health can be judged through my writing (and the amount of it) as well. I suppose this all goes back to the artistic angst thing.....historically most creative souls have been tormented souls. Sometimes, I ache to be one of the un-tormented...

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  24. River Mud - Mike's Gone Fishin' wrote a great piece about this topic....check it out! http://www.mikesgonefishing.com/2011/06/summer-writers-block.html

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  25. Incredible writing as usual, but somehow it always grabs me like a surprise. I love the photo of you and Banjo.

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  26. Hart - Many thanks, and I'm glad! And that was Jay's favorite too. He took it...has an artistic eye, you know! :)

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  27. I know! He has a great eye for beauty as well.

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  28. Nobody wants to have their nose rubbed in the dirt (or worse), and so I agree that writing about epic days catching should be avoided, which is seldom a problem for me and in fact was the premise when I started my blog. And equally true is that great writing seldom has its origins in perfectly pleasant, joyful, success-filled endeavors. Yet you've managed to somehow communicate that a stellar day can be written about in a manner that begs to be enjoyed.

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  29. Thanks, Kirk...for letting me know that what I intended to communicate (and always worry I do not) was indeed passed on, and for letting me know you enjoyed it. Really, it means a lot!

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  30. The more days we have like this, the easier it is to sleep at night. Somehow we are also more productive at work as well...

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