Debby Giusti here!
Summer isn’t summer without a trip to the beach. Usually we head to the
but his year, we changed direction and ended up at .
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The first morning I rose early, grabbed my camera and left the hotel, ready to snap some photos. The day was picture perfect with clear skies, warm sunshine and blue water that stretched as far as the eye could see.
Seagulls cawed overhead, then swooped low and glided across the water in search of fish. Others forged for mole crabs they swallowed whole, while still others watched the waves, their heads turned into the wind, like tiny statues in the sand.
All around me, sandpipers scurried on stick-like legs. Digging with their long, thin beaks, they searched for tiny, butterfly-shaped clams, called coquinas, buried in the wet sand.
In the distance, I spotted a fisherman standing in the surf. He cast his line then anchored his pole on the beach and repeated the process with a second rod and reel. I raised my camera and snapped a few shots as I walked toward him.
Mid-sixties with a ruddy complexion and weather-worn skin, the man nodded a greeting as I approached, and we struck up a conversation. Originally from
, he had vacationed at Myrtle for
seventeen years and, after retirement, moved south to spend the rest of his
years on the beach doing what he loved best, namely fishing. New York
“What have you caught?” I asked, eager to know about the bounty of the
coastal waters. Carolina
“Just about everything over the years. Red snapper, pompano, whiting, flounder. Even a shark.”
Scanning the water, his brown eyes narrowed in the glare from the sun’s reflection. “There.” He pointed. “See the ripples? A school of mullet is heading this way. They’re good bait, and whenever you see the smaller fish, you know the big ones are nearby.”
Scooping up his net from where it lay on the sand, he wrapped the cast line around his wrist and waded into the surf. Patiently, he waited as the churning water, alive with fish, undulated closer.
With one swift swoop, he tossed the net high into the air. It opened in a circle mid-flight and landed atop the waves, visible for only a moment before it dropped below the surface.
Quickly, he pulled the line to trap the fish, but when lifted from the water, the net was empty. Undeterred by his failed attempt, he repeated the process over and over again. The mullet eluded capture, yet he continued on, seemingly unfazed by his lack of success.
Eventually, I walked on, but my thoughts remained on the fisherman with the empty net. In a way, I could see how fishing paralleled the writing life.
I thought of my years of persistence before my first book sold. I wrote six completed manuscripts and many partials and sent them out to contest judges and publishing houses and literary agencies, hoping to garner interest from someone, from anyone.
Yes, I got discouraged at times, but invariably when at my lowest ebb, something unexpected – a request, a contest final, a rejection that included encouragement or a bit of praise – buoyed me to continue on.
As time passed, my writing improved, but the goal to publish seemed even more elusive. I pushed on every door not knowing which one, if any, would open.
God reveals himself through His Word, and one particular scripture passage – John 21:3-7 -- spoke to my heart, especially when I was so close, yet still unsuccessful in fulfilling my writing dream.
You know the story. Peter has fished all night and caught nothing. The Lord calls from the shore and tells Peter to make a change and move his net to the other side of the boat.
In that passage, Christ was talking directly to me. I changed my secular intrigue into a Christian suspense. Like Peter, my nets had been empty so I tossed them on the other side of the boat, on the inspirational genre side.
My story sold. The Seekers formed. We started this blog, and now, six years later, I can look back and see the Lord guiding me as I learned my craft and honed my skills and eventually transitioned from secular to Christian stories. God’s timing is perfect and, indeed, it was for me.
Retracing my steps that morning at
I noticed the fisherman had caught one fish and reeled in a second as I waved
and scurried passed, heading back to the hotel. Myrtle Beach
Once in my room, I settled into a comfy chair to spend quiet time with the Lord. Opening to the day’s scripture, I had to smile.
Another story where the Lord told Peter, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” As usual, Peter groused. “Master, we have worked hard all night and caught nothing,” but he followed the Lord’s promptings and the fish filled two boats almost to sinking.
God had brought me to the beach on this particular day -- in His perfect time -- so I could watch a fisherman cast his net and reflect on Peter, who Christ called to be a “fisher of men.”
Some years earlier, God had called me to write stories that included his message of love and mercy. He had opened many doors along the way, but that day at
I like to think He opened a door of affirmation and confirmation that let me
know I was where he wanted me to be. My net still comes up empty at times, but—like the man on the beach—I keep
fishing. Myrtle Beach
Preparing for this blog, I thought of the attributes fishermen possess that compliment the writing life.
N…never give up
WordWeb, an online dictionary, provided the following meanings that fit the writing life as well:
Fortitude: Strength of mind that enables one to endure adversity with courage
Ingenuity: The power of creative imagination
Strength: The property of being physically or mentally strong
Hard Work: (1) Hard: Not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure; (2) Work: Activity directed toward making or doing something; applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject
Energetic: Enterprising or ambitious drive; an imaginative, lively style (especially style of writing)
Resolute: Characterized by firmness and determination
Management Skills: (1) Manage: To be successful; achieve a goal (2) Skills: An ability that has been acquired by training
Enthusiasm: A feeling of excitement; a lively interest
Never Give Up: Tenacity; persistent determination
What attributes do you find necessary for this writer’s life? Have you cast your net on the right side of the boat? Are you listening to the Lord’s directions from the shore? What do you see farther down the beach? Have you pushed on any doors recently? Is there a scripture that encourages you to persevere?
Leave a comment to be included in two drawings. I’m giving away a Writer’s Journal, a 2014, 18-month Perfect Planner, and a copy of my latest release, THE SOLDIER’S SISTER, to one winner. A second drawing will be for a 30 minute phone mentoring session. Please let me know if you want to be included in either drawing.
Each comment also enters you in the weekly prize drawing and the mega-iPad Mini giveaway at the end of the month.
In honor of Seekerville’s Sixth Birthday, I’ve brought six cakes for your enjoyment -- German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Pumpkin Spice, Applesauce Raisin, Carrot and
Black Forest, along with an assortment of ice cream and frozen
Happy Birthday, Seekerville!
Wishing you abundant blessings,
THE SOLDIER’S SISTER
By Debby Giusti
WHO WILL PROTECT HER?
Someone wants Stephanie Upton dead. A warning to leave town is just the beginning. Fearing for her life, Stephanie turns to Special Agent Brody Goodman for help and protection. But can she trust him when he’s convinced her own brother is a prime suspect? Torn between her devotion to two men—an estranged brother whose trust she yearns to regain and an agent she may be falling for—Stephanie doesn’t know who or what to believe. As feelings between her and Brody escalate, she’ll have to choose sides to stay alive.
Serving their country and solving crimes
Available now at Amazon.