Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mr. Coyote is Back

As you may recall, there is a coyote wandering around our complex. When I first saw it, and told my husband, he instantly said stuff like "coyotes won't hurt you", "don't move too fast", "what are you so afraid of?" and blah, blah, blah.

Well since then, a notice has gone out to all the residents about said coyote and all the things to do or not to do should you see it.

And alas, this morning...the bedroom light flicks on at 4:45am, husband is standing in the doorway shaking just a little. The coyote is back and was standing even closer to him than he was to me. Husband asks me to drive him to work. I laugh and say, yeah right. After all, IT'S 4:45am. I ask him if he did all the things we were supposed to do. And of course he didn't. He ran inside leaving his coffee on the table, dropping his cigarette to the ground, without even a second thought.

When I said goodbye to him as he walked to the bus, he was still shaking. I had to smile just a little. But of course, I watched until he was gone to make sure no wild animals were stalking him in the dark.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Coyote Hunger

I grew up in an area of BC where wild animals were the norm. To see a bear or cougar or skunk or deer get the idea, in the middle of downtown while heading to the corner store for grape bubble gum or Nerds (grape, too) was so normal we never thought twice about it.

But we move to suburbia where the new normal is a person walking her cat on a leash.

So you can imagine my surprise when the other night I'm sitting on the patio minding my own business and not 20 feet away I see a coyote staring at me, those black eyes and pointed nose, not to mention lack of meat on its body, looking hungrier than Uncle Jim at the Chinese buffet.

And what did I do? In my 38 years on the planet, growing up in mountain regions where you're taught never to run from a wild animal...that's exactly what I did. Run! I don't think I've ever done anything as fast as I bolted that night.

The child, playing idly with her Play-Doh turns around and says, "What's the matter, Mommy?"
I'm dumb-founded. What do I tell her? I know I shouldn't scare her and tell her there's a carnivorous beast outside ready to take a chunk out of my calf. But it's not a dog. And if she ever comes up against one, do I want her to think that coyotes are safe?

I opt for..."Oh nothing dear. There's just a coyote outside."

"What's a coyote?"

And I precede to explain how they look like medium sized dogs but they aren't very nice. Yeah. Big mistake. Now she thinks the coyote is going to sneak into the house and use her as a midnight snack.

In retrospect...the stupid thing was probably more afraid of me than I was of it, and I was pretty scared. I probably could have remained on the patio and it would have walked by minding its own business, searching for a skunk or a squirrel to chew on.

But in the end, wild animals are nothing to take lightly. They are unpredictable. And if they want something bad enough, they will find a way to get it.

And that's my story for today.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's Dark in Here

I've noticed this odd pattern emerging, and not just with me.

When I first started writing seriously again, all the stuff I wrote had some element of darkness in it. Bad things happening to good people. Something horrible happening to a child. People just generally messed up because of bad things that had happened or were happening to them.

Over the years since, although I still have this tendency to lean towards the darker side of life, I have started to write somewhat nicer, gentler pieces. But they always lack that oomph that is so apparent in all the bad stuff.

I looked back at this and discovered that when I was writing all dark stuff, I was in a relatively dark place in my life. Thankfully, I got out of that, but what happened was weird, too. When I wrote something, it wasn't as full of energy. Or worse, I didn't write at all.

In the years since, I have tried to balance and write just because I wanted to write. It didn't matter what came out. And still some weird stuff did.

In a class I am teaching right now, some of the students are writing a lot of dark stuff. It's an introductory class. For many of these students it is the first class they've ever taken. And they are writing that darkness that I was so familiar with.

Why do we do that? Do other writers do that? When you first start out, maybe the writing is meant to be cathartic. Meant only to get all the bad stuff out to get to the good stuff. Which shouldn't be any less creative.

In my opinion, creativity is creativity whether it's dark or happy or claustrophobic or somewhere in the middle. I write about things I want to know more about. And it just so happens I want to know more about the way the mind works. Why people do the things they do. There is darkness in all of us though we don't care to admit it. It doesn't mean we are bad people. We just have a curiosity in that side of humanity. Or lack of humanity. However you choose to look at it.

I have a hard time believing anyone who says or thinks their world is full of unicorns and rainbows.

But just because your creativity stems from a dark place, or from a happy place, or an abstract place, does that mean we are any less creative? I don't think so.

I've had many a writing teacher tell me, "whatever gets you to the page". Great words to live by, I think.