Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Brain Dead

Sorry—it's going to be a lousy blog this week. One of our pets developed a heart issue and stopped eating, among other things. She was somewhere around seventeen years old as near as we can reckon. At least we got her seventeen years ago from the animal shelter and she was already an adult at that point, so she was at least that old. So, as you may have guessed, she passed away today and I'm wiped out.

And this incident was the culmination of several similar incidents this week that all seem related to attachments, emotional commitments, and why I'm such a crybaby. All I can hope is that this will someday make me a better writer. (Probably not, unfortunately, because being good at whining doesn't necessarily make others want to read your whines.)

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me because of animals. Two weeks ago, some jerk abandoned four puppies in a bean field about two miles from our house—in the middle of nowhere. We found them when we were out walking. The puppies were starved and covered with various parasites. We feed them and managed to get one adopted before we took the rest to the animal shelter. And at the animal shelter, there were already a variety of animals including two dogs some family said they just couldn't take with them because they were moving, and a lab that some woman brought to the shelter because the dog refused to let her in the house. (Now, why would a dog refuse to let its owner into the house? That really made me wonder.)

And yet there I was at the shelter, trying not to weep and feeling like a complete swine and duplicitous-betrayer for taking those puppies to the shelter—even though it was the best thing for them. They weren't even my puppies and I felt like shit. I still feel like shit, even though we did get one adopted and they do have a chance of adoption at the shelter where we took them.

So what I want to know is how those other people could just abandon their pets? Or abandon a litter of puppies in a field, miles from anyone, knowing that they would probably starve to death. What the hell is the matter with them? Don't they have any emotional attachments to anything beyond themselves?

I never thought of myself as the emotional type. I mean, any story described as "heart-warming" is an immediate turnoff. I can't stand weepy chick-flicks and if a book is billed as "makes you cry and laugh" then there is no way I'm going to read it. I'd rather read a good horror story any day. I've got enough problems without searching for more emotional jerking-around. I HATE to cry.

But I get deeply attached to things, like people and pets. I sure can't just abandon them and yet I see other people doing that all the time. I see spouses cheating on each other. I see families just throwing out dogs and cats down country lanes and I can't understand what the hell they are thinking. And yes, I consider the pets to be members of the family so it seems perfectly reasonable to talk about all family relationships, including pets, in this rant.

The only conclusion I can come to is that others either don't care or they are emotionally wired in a different way. They obviously don't form the deep attachments I'm accustomed to. They don't care if they hurt their spouse. They don't care if a pet dies a long and lingering death covered with parasites, diseased and starving. They just don't care.

And I just don't get it.

Maybe, ultimately, that's why I write. And in particular, why I gravitate toward writing mysteries. Because it is a mystery to me how mankind can be so desperately cruel and thoughtless. I'll probably never really understand it, and in answer to that inevitable question: Haven't you ever wanted to kill anyone? No. No, I have not. I've despised certain people, but I've never wanted to do damage to anyone. I don't know why. I'm not a particularly good person. I have the world's worst temper, however, I generally prefer just to curse a lot and write mean things in blogs. I don't like to destroy things. It makes me feel bad.

Writing, though, gives me an opportunity to try to understand these other people with their otherwise incomprehensible motivations and thought processes. I can develop scenarios where I think people who have these other behavior patterns might commit the ultimate crime. It's a way to try to make sense of the world around me and a way to deal with my oft-times uncomfortable emotions, such as grief.

There are no answers, only more questions: therefore, I must write.

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