Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last Fire

Tonight is going to be the last fire in the fireplace, and honestly, it is a bit warm for it. But having a fireplace open means soot and ashes, and there is always a fine film of grey dust covering everything when the wind blows. The house always smells like smoke, and I want to get the wood burned, and close the flue. The fact that I like fire does not play into this at all.

There is still a mountain of debris in the backyard that needs torching but the water level in the firepit is coming up, not going down. The Loki Mutt is having a blast trying to catch frog and it is only a matter of time before he tangles with a Cottonmouth. The Elder Mutts pretty much are a little jumpy when it comes to things popping up around them near the ground, but Lucas hasn't learned. If I can just get him through this first snake season and him come out breathing and with all limbs…

All in all the chances of Loki being bitten are small and if he is the chances he will live are good. He's young, strong, and he's got some mass on him. Cottonmouth venom is designed to kill cold blooded creatures like frogs and fish, and the Loki Mutt is running hot. I'm nearly certain Sam would kill anything that attacked a packmate, and I'm equally sure Bert would, too. Bert is better armored with his thick fur, but Sam is a speed merchant. I've seen small mammals make the mistake of underestimating Sam's speed, but never the same one twice. Still, it isn't speed that's a factor but rather quickness, and Luke for all his puppy energy, doesn't understand how quick snakes go from coil to catch.

Yet somehow Bert and Sam both survived being puppies here. Bert as a puppy was as senseless as any mutt I've met and Sam was incredibly fragile when Bert found him. Still, from early on those two have always worked as a team. I'm at a loss to figure out where Luke fits in all this. Maybe he does better when I'm away because I really thought Bert would kill Sam, accidently, before I could get some meat on his bones. I need to stop fretting and realize I've chosen this path and there isn't anything to do at this point but be thankful for the time I have with them.


 

If it wasn't so damn wet; it all comes down to the fact I loaded the firepit with a lot of debris and it flooded before I could burn it off. If I would have sat down to explain to you how to create the perfect Cottonmouth habitat my firepit in its present form would have been a bright shining example of Cottonmouth heaven if not haven. The wading birds which slurp young Cottonmouths down like scaly spaghetti cannot get near the firepit because of the mutts and even if they could the snakes can hide in the debris. Because the firepit is shallow the frogs love it, and because there are frogs there will be even more snakes. I'm fretting again, aren't I?


 

Writers are, as a class, habitual fretters, and there isn't anything we can do about it, is there? Face it, if you have what it takes to put it all down on paper, you've obviously got what it takes to make the hamsters run on the treadmill of your mind, don't you? It cannot be help, don't fret about fretting or not fretting, or you'll lose what little sanity you have left. Show me a writer with time on his or her hands and I'll show you someone who although they claim to have some sort of creative drought, they're cranking out the fictitious personal disasters in their heads like a Jack Russell Terrier with a Starbucks Gift Card.


 

And while we're on the subject for the perfect habitat for serpents, is there a more fertile ground for all the snakes in a person's head than the mind of a writer? Hell, we hope one day someone will pay us to write down what's going on in the snake pit but in the meantime the people around us have got to get used to the idea some of us are running an enforced multiple personality disorder as a hobby. You think the guy who pumps out cesspools for a living has a hard time interacting with the general public, trying explain to someone how you managed to create a story with a all too plausible serial killer as a main character, but you're perfectly fine. Really.


 

The bad news as far as I can tell is this never gets any easier. You will, if you are a writer, continue to fret. Your mind is already running on overdrive, and it will continue to do so until the day you decided to give in and take the meds, or they bury you. Or you get abducted by aliens. I imagine writers are a lot of fun to play with as far as extraterrestrials are concerned. The good news is this doesn't get any easier. Writing is hard work, or rather, writing well is hard work. But it's the kind of work that farmers do, the kind of honest sweat that only those who produce it can relate to in a manner of speaking. No one ever woke up and decided to be a farmer; you either are, or you are not. Writing is like that. Farmers can do everything right, have everything perfect, but still nothing come of the efforts. Too cold, too hot, too dry, too wet, not enough lime, not enough feed, or whatever, because I have no idea what it takes to be a farmer, all I know is it is damn hard work, and the people who do it love it and you will never find a farmer who throws down his pitchfork to become a used car salesman. If you're a writer, you ought to never consider throwing your pen down just because no one reads you, or you aren't selling your stuff, or someone on the Internet told you that you weren't good, or your mind is giving you fits about that person on the Internet who, as far as you really know, is some knocked up fourteen year old in a trailer park in Lower Alabama.


 

Sorry, I was going to talk about fire and got distracted.


 

Take Care,

Mike

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