Our last post on hunting and killing adverbs and adjectives got me thinking about tough love. Which of course led me think about whether animal parents love their babies the way human parents do. The long and short answer: no. Animal mothers do not coddle their young. They give them the tools they need to survive to maturity and then the offspring are on their own; so much so they are often considered competition for valuable resources and chased away, even attacked. Okay, some pack animals are a little more friendly, but even then there are rules.
Rules, rules, rules. I am the Lisa who believes rules are meant for other people. Rules are meant to be broken. Rules are for sissies. No wonder my nerves are raw – the Lisas have been methodically playing by every aspiring-author rule ever written. Even when the rules contradict each other.
Did you know that in 1784 authors were required to wear stove pipe hats when writing in public? Sure, yuk it up, but I’d like to see you concentrate at Starbucks with everyone staring in amazement/horror/jealousy at your chapeau. TOL (The Other Lisa) has it even tougher – public librarians unwilling to share their quill and ink with indigent patrons are subject to thirty lashes, imprisonment and a fine of no more than thirty cents or one week’s salary, whichever is less.
The bottom line? It’s hard not to sympathize with animal mothers who push their young into instant adulthood, especially if the progeny ask to borrow the car and return it with mysterious paint scratches and an empty gas tank. It is easy to sympathize with our fellow Starbucks authors, wild-eyed, mumbling, editing until their work is stripped naked and joyless, all while desperately trying to keep their stove pipe hats from tipping over into their lattes. It’s not as easy as we make it look.