Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writer's Block


Standing knee deep in the comfortable, warm waters of my favorite bass river, casually casting a chunky cork popper in fat, lazy loops, I mentally rewind to the previous day’s writers’ group meeting. As has happened much too often lately, I'd brought nothing new, nothing to read – my pen strangely quiet. So, when my turn arrived, I apologized and suggested that we take my allotted time to discuss the dreaded writer’s block, for I was clearly experiencing one. With a wry smile and with great assurance, Catherine waded in. “I know the problem” she said.

“You’re happy.”

I laughed, at the time, both at the concept that a contented man is a writer in trouble and at the odd notion that I might be such a man. But here, a mere twenty-four hours later, as I blithely toss a fluffy fly towards a shaded riverbank, I realize that she’s right.

How could such a thing have happened?

My thoughts are interrupted by the nagging bounce of my fly rod as a small bream nips unsuccessfully at my large-hooked popper. I pick up the line and flip it a few feet to the left, to deeper water, hopefully away from further distraction.

Perhaps here's how it's come about. I’ve chosen to approach life lightly, to put aside the hustle of profession, and to embrace a simple existence. I have the love and company of a wonderful woman and the ever-bountiful joy of family and friends. I have found my place in the woods and an easy, natural lifestyle that invigorates me. And, to top it all, I've had the good fortune to have reached this tranquil equilibrium in the autumn of my life rather than in its winter.

And, speaking of seasons, it's summer. Real summer. Lazy days and firefly nights - more suited to the enjoyment of a cold, crisp hefeweizen on the porch than the pursuit of a publishing deadline. Gaps in my writing regiment, a laughable abstraction, are to be expected.

Yes, Catherine, I’m happy. And if that means that I don’t have the inner turbulence, the mental conflict, or the angst that will drive my writing, so be it. I have no desire to write my way to fame and fortune or to blog myself to prominence in the fly fishing world. I’ll leave those to others who seem to need such things.

The irritating bounce returns. Can’t the bream see that I’m fishing? But noon heat approaches anyway, so I pick up my line one last time, spool it to reel, and head up the trail towards home. The remainder of the day holds a cooling float on the pond with Mary, a brief afternoon nap, and an evening of dinner and bluegrass music, in town, at the general store. And that hefeweizen. Happy things.

Maybe I’ll write about them tomorrow.

Maybe not.

6 comments:

e.m.b. said...

Ah, the creative powers of angst. I really enjoyed reading this one, Mike. And tomorrow? Tomorrow I hope you're happy. :)

Cofisher said...

Mike, thanks for posting this. For those that write a lot it's a hazard to be reckoned with and overcome. For those of us who do it for the fun of it, it can be the downfall of a blog or whatever. In the words of what's his name, Don't worry, be Happy. I'm glad you are.

troutrageous1 said...

Screw you happy & content people. I'm off to blog myself to prominence in the fly fishing world.

Nice read Mike. Thanks for putting the smile on my face.

The Trout Underground said...

I'll here patiently for the "Become a Better Writer: Kick a Kitten Today" bumper sticker.

Mike said...

Erin, it's tomorrow and I'm still happy. Dammit.

Cofisher, you ain't getting rid of me that easily.

Mike, you're already there, my friend. And wipe that smile off your face or your blog's in the crapper.

Tom, I need one of them stickers too! Doubly, since I'm a dog person.

Ken G said...

I've been out fishing a few times the last few days, once to the Apple River. A beautiful place. I thought like usual I would hack something out after each trip, but I haven't. Haven't even looked at all the photos taken over the last few days. Not sure if that's writers block or just don't feel like it.

Off to talk about kayak fishing this afternoon, fish for an hour or so, then talk about a kid fishing event. Sometimes real life is more interesting then the life between my ears.

I'll get to jotting something down eventually.

Stay happy Mike.