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Encouragement in a new endeavour
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I told a former student that it’s important to be passionate about something other than your career, so in case work goes bad, or the exuberance with which you jumped into said career wanes, you’re not left with nothing.

For the sake of clarity, fishing would be a passion of mine, though teaching and coaching provide plenty of their own gratification.

To paraphrase, and agree with John Gierach, fishing is not solely medicinal, it doesn’t provide an escape, because there isn’t anything in my life that I need escaping from. I just love it.

Purpose aside, there are watermarks that come with passions, and in the fly-fishing realm, its the question of whether or not to tie your own flies. That led me to one of the most important quotations in my recent history.

“Crowding the eye a bit, but those will fish.”

My worry was first that I wouldn’t have the patience to tie my own flies, and second that if I did, they would be so hideously deformed it would take more money than I could invest to get them fishable. So my career as a fly-tier probably hung in the balance when I shared pictures of polar shrimp and franks flies I tied with my starter kit during spring break and asked for feedback from someone I know would give it straight and true.

I’ve been rejected by editors from *Field and Stream* to *Northwest Fly-Fishing* and plenty of magazines in-between and though it happens more than we’d like to admit, when someone that has it, says we don’t, it stings. Because even if we say we don’t care we did care enough to become involved, so it’s obvious we do and are now lying to ourselves. But if things were easy, people would do them, and as dad said when I felt like pouting, “suck it up.”

I was ready to, but Klinger’s two words, ‘will fish’ allowed me to ascend to the next level of fly-fishing on an obsessive plane and even feel a little proud.

Seventy some flies later, I’ve started wrapping some quality ones that I can’t wait to put in front of salmon. As Klinger said, some have crowded eyes, meaning I’ve wrapped the thread too close, or too thick near the eye of the hook. Some of the tails are a little long, which could cause short bites (the fish nips the tail, not the barb).

But as Gierach also said, “The best fishermen I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them.”

Strive being the key word here. I’ve been rejected since well before Natalie said we should be ‘just friends’ or editors said my words wouldn’t work. But learning from mistakes has built me a nice little existence in my barn, retrofitted for human dwelling. I am far from rich and or famous, but I freelance, I teach, I coach, I fish, and now, I tie flies.

I include tying flies because not everyone fishes. Fewer fly-fish. Fewer yet look to cut and delicately tie dyed buck tails or hares mask (half a bunny face) onto a hook in an attempt to catch fish. So there is some swagger that comes with saying that I am one step closer to self-sufficiency, even if many people don’t really care.

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