There’s something Fishy about the AtoZ Challenge today

Welcome to Day F of the A to Z Challenge. What you will learn this month is: 26 Ways to Procrastinate a Writer
6. The sixth way to procrastinate a writer is with FISH.

Fish are Zen in motion. They go where they want, flip around and continue on a different path at a whim. Writers identify with this path as they look for the directions to lead their characters. Writers must be deliberate in their choices while fish swim and sway in a random dance. Writers struggle and think and overthink the events that move their characters forward while fish stare at writers, maybe blink, and move on. It’s an indifference that makes cats jealous.

Take your writer to a pond or an aquarium. A Chinese restaurant or doctor’s office with a large fish tank will do in a pinch. Small schools of fish scurry from reed to reef between sauntering sharks or stingrays. The writer will follow their favorite fish in a playful hide-and-seek peek inside whimsical treasure chests and rock tunnels. The mesmerizing color of coral buried in gravel. That water, it’s own relaxing self, swirling in the trail of a fish’s tail. A writer may close their eyes to savor the sounds of tank filters’ bubbles and burps. Their heart beats to the rhythmic gurgle-plop-gurgle of pulsing water. The writer returns home relaxed and soul soothed. The thought of sitting at a laptop or picking up a pen is disturbing. The writer curls up in a chair or on the couch, their mind a pool of ripples that swirls in hypnotic memory.

Jayne and Her Inner Mermaid

Jayne could not think inside her apartment anymore, her writing stuck. She shoved a paper pad and some pens in her writing bag, grabbed her smaller floppy beach hat from the closet and marched to her car. She started the engine and realized she had no idea where to go.

A coffee shop felt stifling; she wanted to be outside. It was after the lunch rush, but Crate Park’s outdoor food court might still be crowded. Crate Park Mall. Local. Outdoor. Sun, trees. Park. Pond. Fisher’s alumni pond. That’s where she would go.

Riverview Park itself was not a large park, but the trees were tall and shady. There was just enough room at the center of that space for P.S. Fisher, hometown business developer, to design a pond and sitting area. A perfect place to sit and relax beside your thoughts, inspiration for the taking.

Jayne found a partly shaded wooden bench. She pulled out her yellow notepad and favorite good-grip blue pen. She stared at the paper. She stared at the pond. She listened to the birds and the bubbling of the small waterfall. She stared at the water.

Lazy goldfish swayed around the pond. Two together, then one swam away, then another fish floated in and swam in a circle. A circle, round and round. Going nowhere.


Jayne pulled out a small, square piece of paper. She recently discovered a drawing technique called Zentangle, and she thought this area would be a quiet place to practice.

Inspired by the fish, she sketched a fish shape and drew the designs inside that. These “tangles” are simple repeated lines drawn in a particular order. She challenged herself to try a new tangle today, Fanz. It was bumpy like the rocks at the bottom and reminded her of flecked fish scales.

I am those rocks, Jayne thought, stuck at the bottom. My story, my characters aren’t moving. I’m not a flowing fish. They’re smooth. How can I relax when I have no path to travel down?

Her Zentangle filled out into an underwater fish scene. Although she focused on the lines she was drawing, Jayne didn’t feel as calm as she should be after tangling. She tucked all her papers away and watched the gliding fish. It didn’t matter that they had nowhere to go but the pond; they didn’t know there was anything else out there beyond their world.

I wish I was a fish, Jayne thought.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Arlee Bird
    Jun 07, 2015 @ 20:47:45

    I think there is even a widget you can put on your blog that has fish swimming around. I’ve also seen the aquarium screen savers. You don’t even have to leave the house.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin’ with A to Z
    Tossing It Out


  2. sgoetterSusan goetter
    Jun 07, 2015 @ 20:48:32

    Very cool! Love the way you used the tangle on the fish! Thanks for letting me know.


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