For Boatman’s birthday a few weeks ago, I bought him this snazzy thing called a bait pump. I didn’t actually know it was called a bait pump at the time, and instead walked into the fishing shop asking for one of those silver things you stick in the sand to suck up weird bug things, while moving my hands in a rather confusing, if not slightly inappropriate manner to replicate said sucking up motion.
Thankfully I managed to walk out with the right thing.
Anyway, yesterday, he finally got to try it out. It was one of those sets of fortuitous circumstances. Bridie had school captain ANZAC day responsibilities at the dawn service in a nearby town, and the ideal fishing spot was not far away from that. Add to that the weather just happened to be perfect with a capital P, and we found ourselves in idyllic Port Neil, with a bucket full of terrifying bug type things that are apparently delicious to fish and seagulls alike.
Suffice to say, he had a wonderful few hours catching fish on the beach after that, while the kids and I played in the surf and sand and I learned the art of ‘high skipping,’ according to Ava. I’m not going to explain that one — it’s too hard. Let’s just say I wasn’t looking my most glamorous.
Anyway, after several hours, which included requests for lunch, and tears from children who had been up since five am and were at the end of their tether, I suggested that the time for fishing might be coming to an end.
‘Just one more cast,’ was Boatman’s reply. Of course it was. I shouldn’t have suspected anything less.
I would have made a comment about how I doubted the honesty of that statement, but he would have only come back with a reminder of all the times I have said I’ll only be on the computer for ‘ten more minutes’ (like tonight), and then ended up being the only person awake in the house several hours later.
Which then got me thinking how there might be more than a few similarites to our two hobbies than I had considered.
And so presenting:
When it’s on, it’s on.
Have you ever tried to move a fisherman whose catching fish? Don’t bother. It won’t happen. They aren’t going to leave when there’s the possibility of catching one more fish and getting ever closer to their quota, or when there exists the possibility of getting a bigger, better fish. When the fish are biting, that’s all that counts.
It’s much the same with a writer who is in the zone. When the words are flowing and the daily word count is either being approached or smashed out of the ballpark, there is not stopping them. Nothing else matters. Food. Toilet breaks. Kids. For the moment, they don’t even rate.
You’re jealous of everyone who’s doing it when you’re not, but you’ll still find out how they are going.
Reading about other people writing when you aren’t writing is some kind of cruel torture. They are all awash in the joy of new found words, and hidden plot lines, and a story that’s surprising even them as they write. And you’re doing dishes wishing that sleep wasn’t entirely necessary for survival.
It’s similar for Boatman when he’s at work and others are out fishing. Especially if they are catching stuff. (Although, he does work on an Oyster Farm so he’s kind of doing something similar.)
It doesn’t, however, stop the intrigue. Just as Boatman wants pics of his mate’s catch, I am always excited to hear about the leap in a friend’s manuscript word count. The shared joy actually makes up for the frustration of not being able to do it yourself.
You feel awesome after doing it, but grumpy if it’s been a few weeks between casts/writing sessions.
I’m at the grumpy stage now. I just want to write and I don’t have the opportunity. The desire is chafing at me and making me want to ignore housework, people, assignments and blogs. There are too many stories in my head.
Boatman, on the other hand, is on a high today. He and a mate caught 25 yellow-fin whiting on the beach and had a great time doing it. If, in a few weeks, that’s his last catch and I’ve had an hour alone with a manuscript, the tables will be very much reversed.
One more cast is the equivalent of ‘just a hundred more words.’
I already said this one, but if I say it again I get to call this post ‘5 ways fishing is like writing’ instead of four, so I’m putting it here again. In red. Because that makes it more important. 🙂
It’s all about the story.
A fisherman’s propensity to exaggerate is nothing short of infamous, and probably only outdone by an actual writer’s ability to create imaginary worlds just for fun. It’s really no surprise our kids are great story tellers. What else would they be?
So there you have it. Five ways fishing is more like writing than I ever would have imagined. Inspired by some weird looking aquatic bugs, first class bait pump action, and the frustration of a too-busy would-be-author.
How was your long weekend?
Drawn any surprising conclusions lately?
Who’s been writing for fun? Let me know so I can live vicariously through you. 🙂