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Ronan's report

Sunday 2nd, December

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

This has to be one of my least favourite sayings. It's often used in management meetings as justification for someone about to crap on someone else less fortunate, and from a great height. Oh yeah, silly me, people are just like eggs aren't they and business is exactly like an omelette isn't it? Just you carry on regardless and don't feel bad about your rubbish decisions.

The other saying I really dislike is "Charity begins at home". No it doesn't. Responsibility begins at home, and being nice to your gran doesn't mean you can ignore the plight of less fortunate people who don't share your accent, skin colour, or beliefs. People who use this line often follow it up by saying proudly "we look after our own". Well, you'd have to be a pretty dismal person if you didn't. We're all expected to look after our own, so you don't get brownie points for it I'm afraid. Charity is about caring for people who you don't actually have to care for.

But back to the Omelettes. I hate to say it but sometimes breaking metaphorical eggs can be a good thing. On the radio the other day I heard a potter talking about how in his apprenticeship he'd spend the whole day making pots, only for all of them to be broken up at the end for him to start afresh the next day. He said that this experience freed him from any nervousness about starting something new. He wasn't worried about things going wrong, and sometimes things going wrong would lead him in new and fruitful directions.

An artist friend of mine says the same thing about starting a painting or drawing. If you worry about ruining that beautifully pristine white canvas, you'll never start (or finish) anything good. Often you just have to make a start and see where it goes.

And yes, as you're expecting me to say given that this is a fishing web site and all, you do have to have the same attitude in fly fishing.

Faced with a glassy water surface and not a fish in sight you have to make a start if you're going to catch a fish. Like my artist friend you have to lay a line down somewhere, eventually. No one is going to show you where, so you'd better just damn well get on with it and see where it leads.

My casting practise is very omeletty. If I worried that a cast might go wrong, that I'd tangle, or catch the bank, or just look crap, I don't think I'd have progressed very far. You've got to try new ways of doing things, learn from what goes wrong and look out for things that go unintentionally right ("where did that curve come from?!").

Stefan once told me that he often gets students to try to do things wrong on purpose (eg breaking the wrist), so that they can see the consequences and then fix it themselves. I often ask students to spend time messing around with the casting plane, not worrying about hitting the grass and just working out what movements make the line go in different directions.

All these casting eggs being broken in pursuit of the perfect piscatorial omelette. Creative destruction.

And no one gets hurt.


Pic Of Day



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