Monday, March 30, 2015

Sinking in Quicksand, All Alone Without Help at Hand

Lately I've felt like I'm standing still. Do you know what I mean by that?

I don't mean that I'm creatively unfulfilled because currently I've got lots of projects going on and I'm working towards a massive one for later in the year. But I feel like I'm not getting the traction I want. This isn't a permanent state mind you. I know that and it's that knowledge that makes it so damned frustrating.

When I was twenty I went walleye fishing on this river over in the mountains that was flooding. It was so cold that all of us were wearing multiple layers and I can remember my breath hanging in the air in front of me as I made my way down the side of this drop to the valley below. The river was flowing and rolling and all I can remember thinking as I watched it was that if any of us fell in we would be all on our own and quickly racing off to meet our Maker. 

So I'm casting my line in and watching trees wash away while this old boy sings songs of loss and imaginary girls who never returned his love when my line gets pulled. It's a fierce pull that has me almost jerked into the river but I'm able to set my boot in the muddy bank and lean back. My pole is pulled down almost to the grip and I'm reeling in the line as fast as I can watching for a fish that's trying to pull me into the deep because I know that cats are out here and they're big bastards. The reels is squealing as my line keeps letting out and I'm fighting to keep it on the hook because I'm convinced that this is a fish and not some hidden tree attempting to fool me. My arms start getting tired but I'm not stopping because if I do it's gone for sure. 

Then I see it just below the surface. It's a shadow under the rolling, muddy water but it stands out as clear as daylight. I start laughing because this thing's the biggest fish I've ever hooked. Suddenly reeling doesn't feel as hard because the son of a bitch is right there, right under the surface; and that's when I can see him look at me. It's like the whole time he was just heading this way and mildly annoyed that his lip stung but when he sees me it dawns on him that I'm trying to catch him. So then he turns, flicks his tail, and snaps my line. 

I land square on the flat of my ass and start laugh all over again because while everyone else is just casting their lines out time and time again I've actually gotten a bite and he was fucking huge! Then I look at my reel and my line is wrecked. I can see the threads on my line where its worn away at from the pressure and strain. So I start restringing the line when the Game Marshals come up on us and start check all our fishing licenses. I hand them mine and keep on working on the line because the sun's starting to set and we're leaving when it starts getting dark because that drop we came down was nearly a half mile at a ridiculous pitch that looking back at it made me wonder why we came down here at all. 

The Marshals take off and I'm heading down the side of this river trying to find a good spot to cast when is see this shallow little stream. It's nothing. Just a tenth of an inch of water trickling along so I don't even think about stepping into it. Well it got my attention when my right leg sunk all the way up to my thigh and I'm doing the splits. I'm stuck and I'm kind of embarrassed because who the fuck wants to have that happen?

All the same I'm stuck there trying to figure out my next move. My Dad's about a quarter of a mile back behind me and my cousin's another quarter ahead of me on the bank fishing. I could shout out for help, and they'd probably hear me, but then I'd have to listen to them give me shit for the next couple of hours and that's not fucking happening. I manage to get my leg that was laid out behind me across the muck and onto the far shore after about twenty minutes of struggling. I'm slowly pushing myself out of the much when my boot gets caught and starts trying to come off my foot. By this point I'm so fucking frustrated I can't see so I just stop what I'm doing and slide my foot better into the boot and lay back against the ground.

That's what I'm fucking talking about when I say I feel like I'm standing still. I'm stuck and frustrated because I know what to do but right now it just isn't working out the way that I want it to. 

Deep breaths kids, deep breaths.


  1. I think that feeling is common among people who like to create.
    From my personal experience I go through periods of deep “stuck-ness.” I would say borderline depression to be honest, when don’t want to work on anything, and consider giving up the hobby altogether. It happens to me about once every three months.
    Then <> the wheels spin I get some half cracked idea and off I go, back to it.
    My point, it passes.

  2. I started journaling when I was in 5th grade I think, but I never wrote more than about once every 2-3 months. Sometimes I'd go the better part of a year without writing so much as an entry. By the time I was graduating high school, I think I'd written 2-3 dozen entries and I noticed something on rereading them.

    When I journaled, I was usually upset about something. A cursory look over the dates showed that I got super-upset or depressed about every 6 months or so. I got this idea that I went through cycles of moods, and that encouraged me to write more often to see if I could detect other cycles of behavior.

    I cultivate a pretty strong "This too shall pass" attitude but it doesn't stop me from getting moody. Sometimes the badness out-bads my attitude. I usually bounce back eventually though -- and it only helps if I can find and confront the source of the bad mood.

    Recently I got hit by a bad mood upon learning a gaming friend was going into the military. I realized that I'm getting older and I don't have a lot of friends, and so there was that mortality thing and also that loneliness thing. I had to talk to a bunch of people to figure it out, and I'm gradually doing better.

    Wounds take time to heal. Sometimes the best you can hope for is 1 hp per level per day.


  3. When I get stuck, I usually make myself break away and do something else. Yard work seems to work best. I've had quite a few eureka moments while pushing my reel mower.
    I can relate to getting stuck in the mud on a fishing trip too. One Spring, I was bank fishing and got my line wrapped around a willow sapling at the waters edge. The ground between me & the sapling was heavily saturated from recent rains but (failed wisdom check) I'd be damned if I was going to lose my spinner bait so I headed out to the sapling. I was careful to space my feet wide apart so my weight was more evenly distributed so I wouldn't sink. It worked. I got out there, untangled my line & marveled at my expert execution of the whole maneuver then turned around to head for solid ground and (another failed wisdom check) placed my feet side by side. I went into the ground like a hot knife in butter. Buried up to my waste in mud, I started laughing. My wife, who was on the other side of a rise & couldn't see me, hears me & asks if I need help. Nope, I'm good. I managed to pull myself out with a nearby sapling and crawl on all fours to solid ground. When my wife saw me, she started laughing but she stopped once we got in the truck and realized just how bad a man with that much old creek bed on him smells.


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