Ten years ago, I was all about short stories, and had no ambitions towards writing a novel. I found this post today, written at the time, and thought it very apropos. It perfectly describes my journey.
As some readers of this blog know, I have a pair of Black Angelfish.
Every two weeks or so, like clockwork, they lay about a 100 eggs, guard them till the babies hatch, hover around the hatchlings still attached to the leaves, try to carry them in their mouths and keep them safe once the babies are free-swimming. Only about 50 babies are left at this stage.
Then for the next three days, they do their best to sustain the babies, which dwindle from 50 to 25 to 10 to 5 to zero. This is because I don’t know what to feed the babies— am both scared of, and don’t know how to, breed mosquito larvae, which is their food.
A day after the last baby has disappeared, the angels are at each other, kissing, fluttering, chasing, back at the mating game. A day later there are eggs again.
I wonder if they remember their babies. I know they are capable of some kind of association/ memory, because they know when I’m around and come begging for food, and dance around like mad puppies when I have the food box in my hand.
I no longer know how to feel about the regular births and deaths.
But I’ve learned the passion of creation by their example: write like mad, polish them like mad, submit like mad, and even if the babies come to nothing, set about making my writing babies again.
And just like with the angelfish babies, rejoice that they lived and swam free, at least for a while.
Who knows, maybe someday, one of the angelfish babies would survive. It would become more than a tiny tadpole, actually grow fins and swim at large.
In the meanwhile, what I and my angelfish can do is create, with passion and commitment. Results be damned.
I have been writing with almost the same uncomprehending zeal as the angel fish, and of all the babbly stuff I unleashed upon the world, YOU BENEATH YOUR SKIN and THE BLUE BAR survived–grew fins.
All I hope is I’m able to come back to this post in 2033 and find this blog still alive, and of course, more books.
Have you ever kept angelfish? Were you a visitor on this blog in 2011? What lessons have your pets taught you?
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