Like a Shark

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on a constant quest towards…something.

In school, it was to get good grades. After graduation from college, I formed a rock band and the quest became one for a recording contract (alas, that never happened). Then, once I decided to go to law school, it was to do well enough on the LSAT to get into a good school. Next to pass the bar exam. Then to win the motions and appeals that I drafted as an attorney.

And even as a lawyer, I found I had the need to do something creative which was outside the law. So I formed another band (this one performing and recording country-rock songs which I composed). And then I enrolled in cooking school, during which I worked hard to master all those French sauces and become adept at carving beautiful garnishes and baking the perfect baguette.

Recognize a pattern here?

Some years ago, I began describing this need for constant forward motion as being like a shark. Sharks can only obtain oxygen through the process of water passing over their gills, and in order for that to happen, most species of shark must constantly keep swimming forward through the water, lest they suffocate.

So it is for for me, except instead of oxygen, I have the need to constantly swim forward in some sort of creative quest, lest I become unhappy and depressed.

As a result, when I retired after twenty years working in the law, I knew there was no way I’d be satisfied simply spending my days reading, watching TV, or working in the garden. I needed a PROJECT. Something to work on and to aspire to in the future.

For a variety of reasons, I settled on writing mystery novels, and it may have been the best decision I ever made in my life. Not only is it a quest that can keep me busy for years to come, but it’s brought me into a community of like-minded people, all swimming forward in a glorious school of amazing, creative, and generous sharks.

So, c’mon, let’s all keep swimming!

Readers: What are you: a shark who needs constant forward progress, or a cat who’s content to curl up in that sunny spot in the garden and simply enjoy the moment?

35 thoughts on “Like a Shark

  1. I’m so glad you decided to write mysteries too, Leslie! I have to ask if that’s a real photo of a shark through the roof though. I must know the story behind it!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Let’s see, Leslie. First there were the years I was a disc jockey for weddings and other celebrations, then there was the fling brewing my own beer, followed by a stint as a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (following my dad’s footsteps there), then bicycling, until I finally arrived at writing in 2011. I’d say my life as a shark has ended and I have settled into the cat life. Give me the sun patches and naps!

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Yes, it’s a real photo of a real shark (sculpture, that is) through the roof of a house. It’s in Headington, outside of Oxford, England, where I lived for a year as a teenager (though the shark wasn’t yet there when I lived there). At first the neighbors were horrified, but I think they’ve now grown quite fond of it.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’d have to say a cat. But what about a dog who just likes life in general –
    dogs are nature’s optimists, after all, and there are worse things to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m generally swimming for all I’m worth, but I’ll be 70 in July, and my body is telling me to slow the hell down! Yes, even from writing–after sitting in an office chair all day, I feel like I’ve played a game of pro football or went 15 rounds with the champ when I get up. I’ve recently started working as an ESL editor again, too, which means deadlines are back. I do spend two or three hours with my sweetie each night, in my recliner watching bad TV (so I know what not to do in my books). But maybe a little more of that is in order.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel like my life doesn’t really change. I’ve been reviewing for 20 years. I’ve been an accountant all my life. And accountants have a very cyclical work life. So I guess I’m more of a cat who occasionally wishes he would get a little forward movement in his life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d say that keeping at reviewing (and as well as you do!) for 20 years, not to mention your long career as an accountant, gives you the right to use the Shark honorific if you so desire, Mark!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I like the idea of a dogfish, perhaps because I’ve never had a cat so I don’t know about them. But I am single-minded in purpose when I write, but on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, I do a 180 and pursue things other than writing. Much like Nala, I like to chase the occasional squirrel, get some treats, and lounge around the house. She’s older now—like many of us—but when we got her at about four years old, I clocked her absolutely still, staring at a squirrel for more than three hours. That is some single-mindedness, eh? At least I get some words under my belt.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Love this! And I am SUCH a shark. I was an ambitious child – lol, sounds like an oxymoron – and then flailed through middle and HS due to social crap. But I got my mojo back in college and have been sharking ever since. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I guess I have some shark-like tendencies—but I am likely more of a squirrel (I wrote a blog post here on that once!). I do like to sleep, though, which sharks suck at, so maybe that’s where the cat comes in…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. For me, it depends on the day! I kept at writing mysteries for years, while sending queries. When I have a new project, I really dig in. But there are plenty of times, especially in the past couple of years, where curling up for a cat nap has won me over!


  9. Can I be a Jet because I’m often tempted to break into dance? If not, then I’ll gladly don my Shark mantle. I do love some luxurious downtime, but find that I’m happier when I’m in motion. Must be all that oxygenation.


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