Living in North Carolina, I am close to waterfalls and beaches, but my favorite place to go is the river. In the northern parts of the Triangle, the Eno River connects gem after gem of prime fishing spots, swimming holes, and heavenly places to picnic. Some writers love urban landscapes and screaming subway cars full of bustling characters, but I’m a female Thoreau.
I love casting my rod and feeling the tug of a fish on the line, it’s like shaking hands with an old friend. On the surface, some parts of the river are shallow and you can see every rock fracture and reed. Crayfish bump into each other as they meander backwards along the river rocks, and you think there’s probably not enough room for big fish.
These are the parts that surprise me. I’ll cast my line and what had been a rock’s shadow turns into a bass that snaps at the lure. In deeper waters I use live bait. As soon as my bail’s open and the bobber (or floater if you’re from the South or Midwest) hits the surface–it’s sucked down by brim.
A few days ago I went to my favorite spot on the Eno and fell even more deeply in love with the river. For a few hours that morning I had the place to myself and my dog Ramsay. I fished and swam. After a while I went to sit in a spot where the rocks form a small cascade into the swimming hole. The rocks create a natural chair with Jacuzzi-esque jets that hit you from three sides.
I had a daisy in my hair. A butterfly landed on my shoulder. A dragonfly rested on my knee.
Something splashed at my back.
Ramsay was sitting in a shallow pool of river rocks to one side. I didn’t want to look back to see what was tapping on me.
But something continued to splash my back.
So I looked.
There was a proud snake with a fish in its mouth. The snake swam over to a few boulders three feet away and I decided it was time for my own lunch–on shore.
When I was in the river I didn’t want to look back, but reality was there anyway. Two weeks ago I celebrated the two-year anniversary of the last time I worked a 9-to-5 job. I haven’t worked a salaried job since June 2010. It has been 730 days since I gave six weeks’ notice.
I know I’ve done a lot with my writing business, yet I still feel like I’m not doing enough. So I took a tip from the snake and I’m stopping and looking back. You should to.
Since starting my freelance writing business:
Over 300: Blogs I’ve written for clients.
4: Books published.
95: Press releases written and distributed.
75: Articles published.
Over 150: Poems written.
0: The number of deadlines I’ve missed.