“But, wasn’t it just luck?” Me, being obtuse.
That was my absurd response to the fact that a man in Japan might recently have broken a 80 year old record by catching the largest large mouth bass in the world, and the fact that he is now world famous. The old record was 22 lbs. 4 ozs., his fish weighed 22lbs. 5 ozs. That’s a lotta fish!
I was sitting quite comfortably on a plane yesterday. Yes, in coach, but oddly, in a spacious seat with enough leg room that I couldn’t even reach the seat in front of me with my feet. Yes, I do have short everything legs, but still. My next-seat neighbor was a kind, sweet southern gentleman who happens to be a superbly talented bass fisherman disguised as an investment banker. His name is Kerry Jordan, and he’s going to become the Tiger Woods of fishing come April, 2010 – just you watch.
I can only imagine his thoughts as he looked at me, after I said this, with laughing and incredulous eyes and said, “Nooooo…there’s some science involved. And some art.” He began to list about a million ways that a fisherman would go about finding that biggest fish:
- Knowing the fish’s preferred habitat
- Finding out what they eat
- Fish weight trends in specific waters
- How they react to climate, different seasons, different times of the day
- …the list goes on and on and on
Oh right. How easy it is for a neophyte to think it’s luck. That a skilled fisherman, in this case, doesn’t have technique, skill or strategy, but just happened to drop his line in the right lake at the right time.
I even forget this about myself occasionally. I’m so used to my writing practice at this point that when people ask me what my method is, I’ll often say things like, “I just sit down at my computer and it comes spilling out.”
It feels like that, but only because the science, and the art, of it is as natural to me as walking – it’s a complicated process, but years of practice have turned it into something that my body can do without my mind even having to be involved. But, I do need to become familiar with the habitat of the ‘fish’ I’m trying to catch, its instincts and motivations, what it likes to eat and how it operates in this world.
Sometimes the story, the article, the post, the client is the fish. And sometimes the fish I’m trying to catch…is me.
Image credit: Courier Post Online (FYI, that is not a picture of Kerry Jordan, though this fisherman is adorable, too.)