This week I recieved an email from Centum Press requesting submissions for their forthcoming animal themed anthology, One Hundred Tails. Not just to me obviously, I’m just on their mailing list. Now I’ve never even considered writing stories about animals but part of me was tempted. After all, it’s always good to push your boundaries a little. So I turned to my daughter and said:
“I need an animal”
She paused in her run around the dining table where I work and quite reasonably said.
“It’s for a story. I need to write a story about an animal”
“Oh” She thought for a second. “Anteater!” She announced and then continued on her run.
It didn’t seem the most promising start but the word anteater wandered round my head for a bit and I soon realised that I knew very little about anteaters.
So I did some research and found out that there are basically four, of which I found the Northern Tamandua most aesthetically pleasing. I also found out that it lives in the Mexican rainforest, and that its main predators are Jaguars and Harpy Eagles. Jaguars didn’t seem to fit somehow, so I let the words rainforest and eagle join anteater in wandering round my head while I walked the dog. By the time I got back I had the idea for an opening and a vague plot structure. I started writing.
I arrived home from work the next day with a 500 word story in my briefcase. I gave it to my kids to read and one said it was good and the other that it was my best one yet. Encouraged by the positive reviews, I did a final check and sent it off. Yesterday I recieved an email saying it had been accepted.
I felt like reality had been suspended for a brief moment. A point where I could say to myself “That’s how it’s supposed to be”. A spell of plain sailing in the choppy waters and headwinds of trying to be a writer. It probably won’t happen so easily again, but it’s nice that it happened once.
I’ve had those moments before, when you just get it right and it all comes together. They are rare but sweet, and you have to enjoy them while you can.