…but you can’t make him cross … unless you’re persistent….
Writing can be like the allegory I’ve decided to share about the two baby goats we got a few weeks ago. Buster and Charlie aren’t little babies anymore. Although still smaller than the other goats, they’re quite strong for their size, and part of that might have to do with their training.
If a goat is going to help carry your gear in the backcountry, odds are you’ll occasionally need to cross streams. Goats, however, can be kind of like cats: They’re clean animals, but don’t like getting into water. Maybe they think that’s where el chupacabra (aka the monstrous goatsucker) hangs out.
You thwart this tendency by taking them through water before they’ve heard enough chupacabra stories from their elders to get set in their ways (watch the movie Jaws and see how soon you feel like swimming in the ocean).
Each weekend we’ve loaded them into the back of the pickup and visited a nearby stream. You see, streams are crooked, so if you try to walk it in a straight line, you’ll have to cross the water several times.
Now Buster is the more athletic one, but Charlie is braver. The first time we took them out to get their feet wet, we waded into the ankle-deep stream the length of their leashes, the next gravel bar right behind us, and encouraged them to follow.
They’ll follow us anywhere … but had to contemplate this particular venture. Somewhere deep in their capricorn instincts lurked murky images of a kelpie/vampire chimera that would drag them beneath the surface while gnawing on their necks. They uttered soft bleats to each other.
Buster: We’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Charlie: What boat? I only know that our milk-givers still look okay.
Buster: That’s just because it hasn’t decided which one to eat first.
Charlie: Oh no – then there’d be nobody to feed us our bottles!
With his priorities in order, Charlie stepped in first and marched right to us. Seeing that his brother didn’t get ripped beneath the ripples, Buster quickly followed.
They can still have instances of hesitation, but by far our pair of pack goats in-training are coming along quite well. Buster prefers to leap over any part of the stream that’s narrow enough, but Charlie will usually trudge through. Despite what chupacabra tales the old goats in the pasture might be telling them, their confidence is growing.
Sometimes writers have their own demons to face as distractions/block/deadlines confront us. I haven’t heard if there’s such thing as a writer-sucker (Would you call a creature like that a logographage?), but we’ve got to get across that stream of consciousness somehow. So we wade in and get our feet wet, but it’s up to us whether to trudge or leap to finish the journey … unless we can find a bigger boat….