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Sunday, October 7, 2012

What Kind of Animal are You?

“Life in the R.A.F. reminded me of something I always knew: Men are like animals.  I don’t mean men are ‘beastly.’  What I mean is that no two are exactly alike.  Many people think my farm patients are all the same, but cows, pigs, sheep and horses can be moody, placid, vicious, docile, spiteful, loving.”
James Herriot, All Things Wise And Wonderful, Chapter 29

One show I’ve been enjoying recently is “Grimm.”  I really like how the protagonists don’t let their differences get in the way.  Instead of wasting their time and mine by bickering, sniping, or having arguments over interpersonal issues that they cannot change, they accept each others’ strengths and weaknesses and get on with the task at hand. 

For those of you who don’t know, “Grimm” follows a police detective who can see were-creatures for who and what they are.  These creatures come in all varieties.  Most humans cannot see them for what they truly are, unless they wish to reveal themselves.  (Usually, they only do this when they are attacking someone).  Nick, who is called a Grimm, can see their true form at any time.  With the help of normal humans and his were-friends, he learns to recognize these changelings by their species’ characteristics, personalities, and traits.  These were-people tend to lump members of other species into easily definable categories.  Nick, like Herriot, recognizes that an individual is more than just the type of animal that others might choose to view them as.

What resonates with me most about the series is how unique all of us are.  Sometimes, we don’t even recognize our true selves.  It’s easy to define ourselves by our looks, body type, jobs, personalities, or interests.  It’s also easy to define ourselves by our history.  All too often, we tend to think that what we’ve done in the past is all we’re capable of. 

This weekend, I’m going through the piles of paperwork (and other things) in my office.  I’m finding all those drafts of previous manuscripts I’ve written, plus all the associated outlines, character histories, and notes, notes, notes.  Personally, I don’t know what I’m capable of, but I hope there’s a writer whose capable of being published lurking inside me.  One who will stop giving up on stories at a particular stage, for whatever reason, and say “It’s all too much to put together,” or “This is no good, I can’t possibly sell this.”  I’m hoping that the outside person—how others view me, and how I tend to view myself—isn’t the real me.  Like the were-people on “Grimm,” that process of transformation promises to be painful, but if I really want to reveal that person, I have to work toward my eventual transformation. 

What kind of animal do you see yourself as?  If you have not yet become the person you wish to be, what will you have to do to complete the transformation process?

"Hey, don't over-think this!
I'm a dragon, okay?"

On a lighter note, a family member recently gave me this animal.  She enjoys playing games of chance, particularly ones in which she can win something.  She loves going to Circus Circus in Las Vegas, playing machines where you operate a claw to pick up the animal, even Chuck E Cheese.  Somewhere along the way she found this fellow.  She said, “You call yourself Dragon Dave, so here’s a dragon for you.”  While he bears a slight resemblance to a dragon, he also reminds me of Godzilla, or simply an alligator who, in addition to changing his color, has also learned to walk upright.  What do you think?  Any thoughts on who and what this guy is? 

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to terrorize Tokyo."

Perhaps it’s mere whimsy, but I can’t help wonder what James Herriot might make of him.

Dragon Dave

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