Monday, May 13, 2013

Stagnant pools of dead fish stink

Growing up, one of my strongest scent memories is that of stagnant pools of dead, rotting fish. Since my parents took me on most of their fishing trips, I encountered a lot of dead fish one way or another. Those little cut-off bits of water were fascinating to me because of the variety of plants, insects, and general stuff that collected in them, but they STANK! And if you touched them, you stank. If you wiped your hand on your shirt IT stank. The rocks, the plants, your shoe, anything that touched it stank. The stank was contagious and something my mother was always warning me about. I didn't understand as a child what she meant, except she didn't want to sit with a stinky kid all day. Which is understandable. But I think she meant something more.

When you get in some private time by yourself, perhaps to recover from an injury, rest from stress, or focus without the world interfering, this can be a good thing. We writers especially need some alone/focus time to devote to our craft. But if we spend too much time alone, we begin to stagnate. Our water of humanity stops flowing new life into our little pond, and our fish begin to die. It's hard to live in the real world sometimes with all its pain. It's frustrating to see friends and family go through crises and not be able to help except pray and provide a shoulder. The longer we stay in our safe little place, though, two things happen: we start to care less for people and we become stilted writers. I don't

There's already enough stank in this world. As a natural introvert, it's hard for me to come out of my pond and explore, but I know that's the only way to make myself a better person, make my little corner of the world a little better, and be a better writer. I don't want to be part of the stank. As a revising goal, this will take a lifetime, but, hey, isn't that the point?