Monday, August 19, 2013

Writer's Block Revisited

I enjoy blogging - which is to say that I enjoy writing - but I have to admit that from time to time I do think of giving up the ghost. After five years of being - with fewer than a handful of exceptions - the sole contributor to The Rusty Spinner, I find it increasingly difficult to consistently come up with fresh material. A bug chucker can only write about the hendrickson hatch so many times before the topic becomes stale and trite. Steelhead may be the greatest gamefish on the planet, but being months away from the first serious run leaves me uninspired. Carp are great, but writing about carp is sometimes tedious. Maybe fly tying?  Perhaps something more mundane ... wading, choosing a net? No, no, and no.

So ... if none of the usual topics inspire, about what do I then write? Maybe I should consider finishing one or more of the posts I've already begun. Looking back through my blog's record, I see that I've 86 posts - yes, more than seven dozen - that I've started, but for whatever reason I've not yet finished. Some I started only days ago, while others have lain dormant for more than a year. Some are nothing more than a title - an idea - but the vast majority are much more substantial.

"Thoughts on Fishing with Kids: Part Deux." This is one of those pieces that has been languishing in the pile for quite a while. My intent had been to record my observations while fishing with my triplets: Emma, Michael, and Madison. Seems easy enough, right? Multiples should provide plenty of blog fodder, and I've explored the topic previously. The problem is that children - or so I am discovering - are something of a paradox. They might behave one way on one particular trip, but on the very next outing - if not mere moments later - they'll say or do something that seems to contradict the previous behavior. From the perspective of a father, it's terrific. My kids make me smile with every surprise, but from the perspective of a writer - at least one who generally operates in fewer than five paragraphs - it's a nightmare. And I suffer no illusions. I realize that my children are not your children, and I don't want to be the guy on the five hour flight who insists on showing everyone pictures of his spawn, even though I've some mighty handsome spawn.

"If Rods Could Talk." Certainly this post should just write itself. I mean, think about it. What would your rods say if given the opportunity to speak? Sad to say that I really haven't a clue. Sure ... it's a great premise ... promising, but I haven't been able to make it work. I can't help but think that my rods wouldn't be particularly kind; I've broken - almost entirely as a result of my own careless disregard - way more than my share of the latest carbon fiber sticks. The folks at the Orvis rod shop actually inscribed one of my sticks with the name, "Rodkilla" ... as much an affectionate appellation as a not-so-subtle way of letting me know that I need to take better care of my toys.

All that having been said, maybe I do know what my rods might say.

"$#@& you, dude ... $#@& you."

"Brenda's." There are any number of flophouses dotting the length of the Salmon River in New York, and while prices vary no one  is really much different than the next. One particular bunkhouse - Brenda's - was a magical place; a place where the sickly sweet smell of stale cigar smoke mingled with the stench of urine, mildewy carpet, and putrefying salmon. Brenda's was the kind of place health inspectors either ignore or fear, the kind of place where you're smart to bring your own bedding, and where the artwork hanging on the walls was likely stolen from local fast food restaurants. The proprietor - Brenda - was a real sweetheart until a bug chucker actually stayed at her place. God forbid one leave any dirt or fly tying debris on her floor as dealing with her when she was upset was a little like finding a rabid opossum going through one's garbage. The world was just a little less bright on the day she sold her place ... reportedly to the wing-nut who gives us this video ...

"Notes on Working in a Fly Shop."

I hated working in a fly shop. No. Really. I did. In fact, we all did - all of us who worked there. To the average bug chucker who hasn't had the experience, working in a fly shop must seem like a dream job, but I'm here to tell you that it's about as glamorous as cleaning rest-stop toilets. 

While I've any number of complaints, the worst part about working in a fly shop was that in many ways, being a fly shop grunt was no different from any other retail job. I wish I could tell you that I spent the day tying bimini twists and woolly buggers, but that's just not the case.  Most days were much more mundane, much more job-like.

Maybe you remember what it was like to stock shelves at the local Wegmans or fold polo shirts at the JCPenney. Did you work the drive-thru at Burger King or sell car-wash tickets at the Mobil station? If you did then chances are good that you've had the same experiences as the boys working at your local bug shop. The customers were sometimes ill informed, occasionally pretentious, and often rude. The few moments of action - experienced while working with a customer - were punctuated by ridiculously long spans of boredom. Imagine what it must be like to inventory the fly bins.

Ok ... I might be exaggerating. There were times when working in a fly shop was one of the best jobs I've ever had - like those days when there were dead trout to clean out of the pond ...

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