Saturday, August 23, 2014

Holding Your Mouth Right

Catching tiny ones at Tibble Fork 2004
By Keith N Fisher

One of my childhood memories prevalently shines. My father was a sportsman. We went hunting and fishing a lot. We fished everywhere, but two places I remember most, were Schofield, and Strawberry Reservoirs. At Strawberry, everyone else caught big fish. I say, everyone else, because for some reason, I could never catch a fish in that place.

That lack of success carries on today and every time we fish there, I resign myself to not catching any. Schofield on the other hand, was a boon for me. They were mostly little ones, but I always caught my limit. Of course, some of that success might’ve been because of the spot on the bank we always fished from.

In those days in Utah, the fishing season closed at the end of Summer. Then, it reopened in the spring. That meant fighting the crowd on opening weekend. We camped at the end of the road, and got up before daylight, so we could hike to our spot. It wasn’t a short hike either, but it was worth it. Fish lined up to take our bait.

Of course there were times when others beat us to our spot but it wasn’t uncommon for fisher/people, to line themselves up on the bank, much closer to each other, than was comfortable. I remember getting tangled with somebody else’s drifting line, while I had a fish on.

Still, it was worth the time. Even the carnival atmosphere was fun. It was man VS fish, but I’m sure the fish used to sit in their schools and laugh and laugh. "Look at all those idiot humans."

I’m sure Dad understood, but I never figured out, why the fish were so prevalent in our spot. I discovered the secret, as a young adult, when the water had drastically receded, during a drought. I found out our spot was actually a rock outcropping above a cliff. When the water came up, the spot became like a long pier. The depths right off shore were like fishing from a boat.

As an adult, I have fished from many holes. I proved my metal once, by pulling a fish from a stream, no bigger than an irrigation ditch. I have found dozens of favorite holes. I don’t fish as much as I used to, but I always go back to those holes. Fishing is year round in Utah, and the carnival days are past.

In my early adult years, the time between high school and life, I had a friend who used to say, "You aren’t holding your mouth right." Similar to the old lady at the bingo game who kisses and rubs her various charms for luck, the concept of making it happen through ritual, comes out in fishing. When we didn’t catch fish it was because we weren’t holding our mouth right.

I went back to our spot a few years ago, but I didn’t know I was there. My father took us in his boat and we used his sonar fish finder. After catching several fish, Dad told me where we were. The old place didn’t look the same. Of course I was looking at it from a different angle. I’d never been there in a boat. The number of fish on the sonar astounded me.

Recently, I stood in the shower, contemplating where I would go to write. As you know, I like to find other places to write. I love writing in my car, with the computer propped between my chest and the steering wheel. As I said, I had a few hours to write and I contemplated where to go.

During my session the week before, I struck gold. My writing went so well, I didn’t want to stop. "Maybe I should go there," I said, in the shower. Like a good fisherman, I should return to the hole where I caught a lot of fish.

In like manner, I’ve gone to places where I just couldn’t get into writing. Needless to say that, like Strawberry, I don’t go back there very often. Now days, the Kokanee Salmon population, and the size of the Rainbows make Strawberry worth it, but I still have trouble catching anything. Maybe it’s a mental thing?

Even if all your writing is done at your desk, in your study, you have fishing/writing holes you return to. There are rituals and times of day. Some of you channel your character to get into the mood. Whatever you do, even if you rub a voodoo doll, keep going back there. Try holding your mouth right.

There have been times when I write beyond my capacity, and if I’m holding my mouth right, the place is of no consequence. One time I wrote several golden chapters while listening to my father’s breathing, as he died in a hospital room.

I cannot return to that particular fishing/writing hole, and I really don’t know how to hold my mouth. The words either come together, or they don’t, but when I read what I wrote, I remember the writing/fishing holes.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

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