Are you ready to fish?


"When he’d plucked a yard-high stack he heaped them on an end table, slumped in an armchair, aimed his eagle beak my way and said, ‘Well, Gus. Are you ready to fish?’

Being the sort of reader who worried a single thin volume for weeks, I was dazed. ‘Fish? For what?’

'For happiness; for consolation; for a way of comprehending the death of an Abe, the Why in the Tamanawis, the beauty of an Eddy.'

I sighed. ‘Where do we fish for that?’

'Ultimately, here,' he pounded his chest. 'But provisionally we might peruse the Annals of the Primordial Tradition.' He tapped the stack of books.”

-David James Duncan, The River Why

From the perspective of a reader, I love the idea that we can fish for things like happiness, consolation, or a way of understanding in books, but that we can also find those things by looking at what is in our own mind and heart.

It suggests that we can find inspiration in the books we read, but that ultimately we have to listen to our own mind and our own heart to figure out what is true.

Reading can be the fire starter, that spark that gets your thoughts or your feelings moving in a direction that they wouldn’t have moved had they not read those words. This blog is a manifestation of that process - the words of an author get things going. But then I take those words and go someplace new, to a place that might not mean much to anyone else, but that means something to me.

From the perspective of someone who wants to publish his own words one day, that idea is comforting. It a provides certain amount of relief and removes some of the pressure. Yes, the way I chose to craft sentences and paragraphs and chapters matter. But what matters more is what happens when those words, phrases, and stories enter the mind and the soul of whoever it is that’s reading them.

They’ll go someplace that is unique to whoever is doing the reading, a place that I as a writer won’t be able to predict. But they wouldn’t be able to get to that place, at least not as quickly, if it weren’t for the words that I decided to commit to the page. For me it’s helpful to think that my words are not the end of an idea, but the beginning.