Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

Poaching Coyote Tales

Man! I was dreaming!

An email: another literary agent had heaped praise on my book, This is How it Begins, calling it emotionally moving and superbly-written. And this after two other offers of representation– how was I to choose?

Ah, it was such a good dream.

Meditating this morning, I had a sudden pang because I suddenly realized it was only a dream.  Ah well, it gives me good impetus to continue my search for an agent. And it’s much much better than the dreams where I’m lost in an abandoned hotel, pushing aside body parts and looking for spiders.

In between shopping my manuscript around and precept-writing, I’ve been able to get a wee bit of new writing done. I’m in that beginning stage, where most everything is possible and it’s all going to be just spectacular. That will soon make way for the “what a bunch of crap why am I doing this?” stage, so I should just enjoy it while it lasts.

My new book involves coyotes. Urban coyotes, to be exact, inspired by the ones that I see trotting up and down our street most nights and mornings. They really are the most adaptive of creatures. Here is a video of an interaction between wild and the domesticated creatures that conjure up all manner of story possibilities…

I have to say I side with the coyotes on this one…

My friend Sally one at Sal Gal Central (writer of YA novels and preserver of lemons) has given me some true stories of her interactions with coyotes and groundhogs, which I plan on incorporating shamelessly into my narrative. Which bring us to you, gentle reader— have you had any interactions with coyotes that you’d like to share? Include them in the comments… I’d be happy to steal them…

Speaking of stealing, here’s my take on the Zen Precept of the day—

Precept #2: Non-stealing, give generously
My 10-year-old son is angry
with the thieves
who’ve raided our car, twice.
They’ve stolen headphones,
navigational aids,
beeping, chiming Gameboys
left carelessly behind.
Why do they do this? he demands
—outraged, betrayed—
Do they want to play with my stuff?
I tell him it’s for the money.
Mostly they’re wanting to buy drugs, I say,
but we don’t always know that.
I sketch out a portrait,
an urban Jean Valjean
stealing to feed his family,
but my son’s unmoved.
It’s ours! he insists,
It’s our stuff!
We are stuffed with his stuff.
Piles, Bins of it,
all of it was absolutely, crucially necessary
at the time. 
Not that I’m any better:
we sit side by side
flipping catalogues,
he for the games
I for the gizmos,
the latest
HD bluetooth-capable wi-fi-enabled internet-ready 
3-D touch-sensitive mega-pixeled
All of it made 
in a foreign country
where they pay workers more
than they’ve ever made before, 
but less than a decent wage.
Little enough that, were they living here,
they might still have to walk a street
on a moonless night,
looking for an unlocked vehicle
loaded with electronica
looking to cram their pockets
with absolutely, crucially unnecessary
It’s not right, I tell my son,
but it might be fair.
We need a little less.
Someone needs a little more.
Who builds it? Who buys it?
Who steals it? Who loses it?
We are the same hands
dipping in the same stream.
May 15th, 2012 - Still Life Las Vegas

3 responses to “Poaching Coyote Tales”

  1. Doug says:

    How come you never write a precept about me, Mr. Zen-ner than thou?

  2. Sally Nemeth says:

    GOPHERS. Not groundhogs. Sheesh.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good contemplation.
    Coyote story, out here in the Southwest:
    I saw some neighbor's young dogs (also not taken care of well- I had corralled these dogs before to bring them home to the neighbor, but they seem to have "gotten free" many times, so I stopped trying to save them. We have a lot of coyotes here in the valley. I saw the coyotes taunting the dogs, just like in the video. They are very clever and get dogs to run after them, so they can lead them into and surrounded by a pack. Unfortunately, I heard the dog crying out a few minutes later. It was awful. I was trying to get my dogs inside during this whole situation, and thank goodness my dogs are very well behaved and listened to me.

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