Messing about

It’s 5:04 a.m., and I’m working on a blog post. Shameful! I oughtn’t forsake my “real” writing. Yet I sit, paused to a degree, and at the moment I’m thinking this stretch for reflection is necessary – it may ultimately assist whatever it is I’m doing.

Twelve hours ago my gaze caught sunlit hills above Leaburg Reservoir. I grasped a fishing pole’s handle, its tip aimed skyward while the line met water that rippled under a welcome breeze and thunked the metal boat’s bottom. My bottom was growing a bit weary from contact with the wooden bench near the bow, but I didn’t mind one bit. Every so often I glanced at Dad in the stern.

In his favorite element, my father rechecked the aft anchor and asked me for the hundredth time, “Is your anchor holding up there?”

“I think so,” I said, peering over prow and seeing far below outlines of logs and wavy moss. The small, bell-shaped forward anchor’s rope followed it dutifully straight down.

“Let out some more rope,” Dad said, and I did, feeding damp line past the cleat, until it bowed beneath the surface and our little vessel aligned itself properly. We were sideward to the current, casting our weighted fishing lines downstream toward the dam.

I marveled. I hadn’t been out fishing like this for probably – whoa – 35 years. But side by side with Dad, as he reminded me, “Reel in, now, just two turns,” I felt as if our previous excursion had only been last week.

Likely the main difference – besides my wrist growing tired immediately when I turned the reel’s handle in great hope of a great fish, only to realize I was snagged on a rock – was that my thoughts drifted often to the book I’ve been reading in preparation to send off (yet another) book proposal. I’m way early in this latest process, trolling, perhaps, for the most logical ideas about presentation of what I wish to say to the reading world.

The book, by the way, is Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write, by Elizabeth Lyon (from my town!), and it’s full of the sort of instruction I should have shelled out cash for months ago. After only beginning to read it this week, I already grasp a little better the mindset I need to acquire if I ever hope to offer a bookseller my product and watch his or her eyes brighten while perusing the cover.

Last evening, after Dad switched my waterlogged worm for a ball of bright orange goo he called wonder bait, I felt a tentative tug. Then my pole’s tip trembled, and I reeled in, moving the tip toward Dad. “I’ve got one!”

“Good going, kid,” he said, slipping the net beneath a silvery, shimmering rainbow trout and lifting it into the boat.

I beamed. Later I paraded my stiff fish before Tim at home, took it out back with a Cutco knife, and cleaned it, tossing the head to Westley who sniffed it and gave me a look like, “You want me to do what with this thing?”


Cherie said…
I'm looking forward to smelling the fish when I come to visit in a little while. It will be all the more marvelous for knowing the full story.

Cutco knives do much work around here, too. ;)

Glad you had a memorable, enjoyable time with dear old Dad!

Oh, and congrats on the fish!!!
Deanna said…
Thanks, Cherie. It made a wonderful breakfast. :o)
Deanna said…
Hi Deanna,

I requested a copy of the book, "Anyone Can Write...." from the library. I thought maybe I'd give it a look.
Hope you are having a fantastic summer!
fresca said…
Curious. It's 4:59 a.m. here (Thursday, 7-24) and I couldn't sleep so I got up to mess about too!

Forgive me, I haven't read most of your back posts--is there one in which you describe the book you're working on?

Judging by what I have read, it's sure to be good! (The book, I mean. Though no doubt the post too.)
You just need to find the right orange goo to dangle in front of the publishers!
jodi said…
lol, I feel for poor Westley. I'm sure he gave you the "cat" look. Do you cook the head for him afterward?

...that's what writing is all about, Deanna. Writing? About ten percent. Trying to sell? About ninety nine. :)

You know I wish you well.
Deanna said…
I didn't think, Jodi, to fry the head for the cat (who, yes, has that look down pat). After I'd already trashed it, I remembered how my mom cooked fish heads for our siamese kitty. It might've helped.

Thanks for your empathy. I hope your conference brings you many good possibilities. :o)
cecily said…
I for one am glad you took time out to write on your blog instead of your book! Thanks for the story Deanna. :-)
Mike S said…
Add my vote in the 'post' side of the 'post vs blog' ballot. Great post!!