Waiting for the fish

​I was going to write about how creativity is like spearfishing. But it’s not.

I watched some spearfishing on YouTube. It’s videos of people diving in beautiful waters with a GoPro, wielding a spear gun, impaling some unsuspecting fish and giving the camera a thumbs up.

The spearfishing I had in mind was different. I was picturing someone standing motionless in a river. Waiting, arm drawn back, willing the fish to swim close to him. When one does gets near enough, he strikes.

Thoughts are the water in the river. They flow endlessly. Most don’t matter. But some are the fish that we wish to catch.

When the words aren’t coming, when you don’t know what to paint, when you don’t know how to begin, you have to be patient, like the man in the river. You have to stand there, with your weapon poised, watching the river flow past, waiting for the fish.

It’s difficult. When nothing comes, you want to run. You want to pull open a browser and find a distraction. You want to make a cup of tea, send a text, start a conversation. You want to do anything but sit there and confront the anxiety and the frustration. The fear.

But it’s what you must do. Lack of inspiration, the temporary paralysis, is just that. Temporary. You have to wait it out, like the man spearfishing in the river. Arm drawn back, senses alert, waiting for the fish to swim by.