Gone Fishing

I sat in frustration yesterday
and for too many yesterdays before that,
worried if the Joe who did
all those nice poems would again
warm the heart of the Joe
who was doing nothing but
warming this seat.
Bill Stafford never worried like that.
The old poet would stroll to his couch before dawn
and just cast his line into that dark stream
behind his eyes,
not caring if he reeled in a bullhead or a rainbow.
Bill was an angler of words
who knew enough to love the fishing
as much as the prize.
Not that he ever threw
any of those catches back
into the Stream of Subconsciousness
from where they came.
Why do I worry about the straightness of my elbow
when I cast my line,
or what type of tackle I’d use,
or whether the bait was just right?
Today I’ll just tie some string
to a safety pin and snug the other end of it
to a stick. I won’t worry if they’re biting
on worms or grubs or any bait at all. 
Whatever hits the hook will be fine with me.
And that’s what I just did.
How many of you, like I am, are too often blocked from creating because of paralysis by analysis?  The great American poet, William Stafford, addressed this in an essay in his book, “Writing the Australian Crawl.” This poem is about how old Bill taught me to “just write.” And that’s a lesson I believe is “just right” for all writers.

9 thoughts on “Gone Fishing

  1. excellent topic and excellently written joe. i love the idea of tying some string to a safety pin and snug the other end of it to a stick..and then just relax and wait what happens..

  2. I have a hundred and one notebooks dedicated to times just like this. Push it out until something actually comes that slightly resembles a poem, or a song, or a story. I cannot leave a page blank for the life of me! One of my more healthier addictions I think. Write, write and write some more…it's the only way to get over the wall! Thought this was a wonderful write. Even the wall can at times provide the most fantastic inspiration 🙂

  3. Oh yes. I know that feeling well. Over-analysis only leads to disaster in creativity, be it poetry, music, painting…to some degree, you just need to step back and let it flow. When you start second-guessing yourself, everything comes crumbling down. Great write though, addressing a topic all us writers can appreciate – and now, if we can just find some successful way to do away with generic writer's block too, I think I'd be set…

  4. Hi JosephIts very interesting post.. I liked your lines…'Today I’ll just tie some stringto a safety pin and snug the other end of itto a stick. I won’t worry if they’re biting'Its so vivid…ॐ नमः शिवायOm Namah Shivayahttp://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/02/whispers-night-along-sea.htmlTwitter @VerseEveryDay

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