On squirrels, best-laid plans, and the future
A letter from BCW President Patrick Stuart.
Squirrels. To most people, they’re harmless, yea, even engaging icons of domestic tranquility. To me, they’re squatters. Tree rats. Fur-mites. Thieves in the leaves. You see, we live in an old house. Built in 1927, this is a house with a history. Decades of abuse, with a major fire and renovation (prior to us moving in), and now . . . them. Gnawing through our soffits and throwing subsequent rodent raves in our attic. Crawling inside the walls and between ceiling joists, scampering across a thin panel of drywall , and driving our dog and cat into rare cooperative interspecies fury. Then came the babies . . .
I’m getting verklempt just thinking about it. I’m also an urban wannabe gardener. Each year I attempt to grow something in the small strip of sunlight next to the garage. This year: heirloom tomatoes. Now, every morning I enter the backyard like a medic searching the aftermath of a WWI battlefield. Tender green fruit carried off before ripeness, their half-eaten remnants littering the sidewalk. And every so often, I find one on the fence gate, like a severed head left behind as a warning. Genghis Kahn would be proud.
So I surf Youtube videos of homemade squirrel catapults like rodent porn. I dream of elaborate traps, and imagine antagonists in my stories as giant bipedal squirrels, suffering imaginative and horrific consequences as a result of their criminal endeavors. And strangely, I feel a little better. My writing is a little sharper. It has a little more oomph to it. And then I realize another day has gone by. Which is a victory of its own, in a way.
Another day gone by in a summer that’s anything but forgettable. Sometimes the smaller victories help dull the edge of larger issues that can get overwhelming. Issues like COVID. George Floyd. A tempestuous and divisive presidential election. And hopefully, towards that end, BCW is helping. Unfortunately, it looks like the cancellation of our in-person events will now be extended for the rest of 2020. But, we’ve started virtual Zoom meetings, including a recent presentation with former FBI detective Harry Trombitas, which was also attended by SIC chapters across the U.S. and Canada. We’re planning other events, such as a self-publishing roundtable with BCW experts on the topic (details TBA). We’ve announced several online events being held by other SIC chapters around the country. And we’re highlighting local and BCW authors every week on social media with our Author Spotlights series, as a way to recognize and encourage our own.
Finally, our board members are continuing to meet monthly, feverishly batting around ideas to keep you productive and engaged. If you have any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions, please feel free to contact us, anytime. Otherwise, stay tuned to the email notices, website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. And, as always . . . keep writing! – Patrick.