Reading as Fishing

13 Jan
Kids love to learn which explains ‘why’ being their most uttered word. As a child I rejoiced in both reading (looking at pictures) and fishing, but was unaware how linked the two were. Emerging from my teenage years I shed myself of both. Only now as an adult writer has the passion for reading and fishing returned.

Kids don’t know what they’re looking for. They just want to have fun while they learn and grow. Neither fishing nor reading need a purpose. Sure both take a dose of patience, but much like each new page brought an interesting picture, each reeling delivered an element of surprise. And it didn’t hurt that Grandma and Grandpa had a knack for catching perch off the thousand islands.  

Grandma & Grandpa: The best life coaches a writer could ask for.

As an adult, I never caught anything, and thus found fishing to be rather dull. I equated a dead fish as success. I failed to realize fishing was much like reading. You shouldn’t pick up a book hoping it will change your life, lead you to riches, or motivate you to open Iran’s largest juice bar. Instead, read to enter a parallel universe through someone else’s eyes. Enjoy the act, and if in the end you haven’t caught anything, you’ve atleast spent a morsel of time peacefully adjusting to your surroundings (the fish can disagree with ‘peacefully’).

Perhaps my absence at the fishing pond is due to how I’ve never been much of a reader. I’ve always wanted to tear through the pages of a colorful book, but often 10 pages in I’d become lost, tired, or compelled to take advantage of the 24 hour drive-thru window.

With everything I do, I need a purpose. Since writing is my sole (99%) reason for breathing, reading has recently become an integral consumer of time.

Now when I read I bring along my fishing pole: the hi-liter. Sitting back, looking at the world the author presents me, I’m content catching the quotables from a text much like a fisherman catchs a fish. But there’s need to reel in a prize-winner or any ‘fish’ at all. I just sit my pole by my side and if I get a bite, I highlight that juicy ‘creature’ to digest later.

Recently, I finished Haruki Murakami’s Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, a post-modern collection of surreal short stories. While I enjoyed the hours shaking on a train and snuggled in bed reading it,  the dessert arrived when looking back at all of green highlighted parts. In addition to fulfilled enjoyment I now have a collection of word parades to hang on my metaphorical wall. But these ‘fish’ were caught by someone else, namely Murakami. Thus the grandeur, wit, and wisdom of his sentences mock me as a writer and thus inspire me to pen better.

They say a writer reads, and this is true. If you haven’t been inspired, you’re are learning, despite if you consciously know it or not. But if you have yet to catch something, you haven’t sat by the pond long enough. Remember, the prize is in the act, not the catch.

Be on the look out for future ‘Fisherman’s Net’ posts where I’ll display the catches from a recently read book.

Keep fishing imaginators!

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