Do you ever have those moments when you have received so much information or life events that are so plentiful that there’s too much to say, think or write about? Doesn’t it feel like tension and anticipation are building up to a kind of fever pitch? Politics, Covid, Thanksgiving, work, kids back-to-school, Christmas holidays, New Year’s… It’s too much! I have a confession to make…
When I thought about a blog topic this month, I was so overwhelmed. I looked up a topic in a book someone gave me with writing prompts in it. I flipped it open and let it fall to a page. The one that came up was, “Write about something you feel proud of.” It works out fantastic because it dovetails with my news too on the remake of the Catch.
When I first wrote the Catch back in 2008, I’d written nothing before in my life. Nothing! My father-in-law, Chuck, was in the ultimate stages of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and I was a nursing student. Rather than go back to school, I stayed home and help take care of him. It was the best decision I ever made in my life, by far.
I got to know him better and separate from the way I’d always known him around everyone else in the sixteen years I’d been married to his son. We spent so much time alone, talking about everything, and I consider it one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received now that he’s gone.
See, I knew Chuck was dying, but my family, his family, wasn’t accepting it very well. I’d come home, stressed out because I didn’t know how to get through to them, that time was limited. So, I walked… a lot! My favorite show at the time was the Deadliest Catch. The reality show about Alaska Crab fishermen up on the Bering Sea, and their incredibly dangerous job.
I watched everything they produced on it, including the little vignettes on their website. Things like: How does a crab pot work? The anatomy of a rogue wave? And my personal favorite, superstitions. I found out one of the biggest superstitions involves women onboard a fishing vessel and how they aren’t very welcome. Taboo, I think, is the term they used during the season. What a crock of shit! So, I was walking and just watched that vignette on superstitions and started coming up with a story.
I’ve done this all my life, having ideas for a story or making something up about people I’d see on the street or shopping. I love to read and would even do all the voices for my kids when I read them their stories at night. I started wondering what would happen if I tried to write one down. So, I came home and did. Four hours later, I had my plot and a fleshed-out outline.
Over the next couple of months, I wrote most of the story, but in March 2008, we tragically lost our warrior and were all devastated. I also had two middle schoolers with full busy lives, sports, and friends (that always came to our house). So, my novel, the Catch sat. After a time, my son, Charlie, asked me about it and even read some. Not being a prodigious reader, I was tremendously happy my son deemed me worthy, and he insisted I publish it. So, on his birthday in 2015, I did.
As time moved on, I started writing down more stories and going to conferences to learn more about my craft. My second book was picked up by a New York publisher, and I started the Heaven & Earth series. However, I always thought about the Catch, because so much of the story was still rough. My grammar and other writing mechanics weren’t the way I wanted them. However, I LOVED the story about a woman crab fisherman’s voyage into self-discovery in a man occupation and trying to overcome huge losses. I wanted it to be the best it could be for the characters, the story, myself and Chuck because he was the person who inspired me to do it.
The book has changed quite a bit but the basic story is the same, just better. I am so incredibly proud of it because of what I went through when writing it the first time, but more importantly what it gifted me. A career, volunteering with hospice, and an indelible physical token to a loved one.
There are a million memories for me in this book, even a couple of conversations I had with Chuck. In starting the Catch, I began a journey into my own self-discovery and found complete joy in the craft. In finishing it properly, I feel the story is now complete, and one of my greatest sources of pride.
I’m also so proud to announce the new and improved Catch will return, December 15th, 2020, just in time for Christmas!
So, what makes you proud, or what is your most crowning achievement? Let me know below.