The One that Got Away · 24 February 2018

Photo courtesy of Margie Miyoshi

There are fish stories and then there are fish stories. Inevitably, the best ones are about the one that got away.

I like a good fish story as much as the next person. But this one is not quite like the rest. It is about the one that got away, but not quite in the way you might think. For it is not about fish at all. (Despite the pictures.)

Writing is one of those crazy endeavors. You need to be crazy to do it. Either that or you have so many words in you that you need to get them out. Speaking is not good enough. You just need to sit down and write until they come out, or you will explode. Or maybe you just have so many ideas that if you do not get them down on paper, they will be released into the ether, and somebody else will get them and use them. Or some other cockamamie thought about why writers do what they do.

Personally, I am probably just crazy. To write and write. And writing with no apparent audience (sorry faithful readers), seems crazy to those who look on. They simply wag their heads and wonder. Or they misdirect their pity at the crazy man at the keyboard.

But as crazy as it is to sit here and write day after day after day, it would be crazier not to. After all, I have said for decades that I want to be a writer, and for much of that time I was a liar. I said it, but I never did it. Now at least I can say that I am doing what I always said I wanted to do. At least I can say that I am not as much of a liar as I used to be.

But back to the fish story.

Photo courtesy of Margie Miyoshi

There are times when I am writing that the words just flow. When ideas come fast and furious and there are not enough minutes in the day to get them all written. Jotting the ideas down for later is a great idea, but the original words always sounded better than whatever comes out in the end. Still, there are times when the spigot is wide open, and the ideas and words flow. These are times I relish.

The tough times are when ideas do not come at all. When the well runs dry and there are not even words to tell of those parched times. The drought can be long and dreary indeed when the ideas are long in coming.

Still, there are worse things for writers than the drought of ideas. The worst times are when an idea comes and even wiggles around a bit in the mind, but then flits away. The worst times are right after the one that got away.

I have had many ideas that flirt with my mind. The ones that sit just outside the periphery of my mind are vexing to be sure, but they linger just outside of reach, so I am patient. I know they will be back some day. Maybe even bigger and better than before. They are like the fish that nibble on the line, but never strike. But they stick around and I will get them one day.

The worst ideas are those that strike hard. They pull on the line and bend the pole. I reel and reel to get them in. Then, just when they are in sight, when their heads come above the water and their bodies are visible, they spit the hook. Those are the ones that seem to linger at the surface afterward just to give one last taunt before swimming away with a flick of the tail. Those are the ideas that got away.

I had one of those today. It was visible, but I am not sure how large it was. Then just when I was preparing my word processor. Just when I was ready to write, it spit the hook and was gone. The idea did not even spend one second looking back and I do not know if I will ever see it again. But I am sure it was a doozy.

I like fish stories. I have even told a few in my day. But I really hate it when I have a great idea, and end up writing about the one that got away.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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