Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cha . . .Cha. . .Changes

Some of you know me as that weird gal who thinks her muse is a three-legged alligator named George.  I live in Florida part of the year and in upstate New York when the weather is good.  This year that might mean two days in July and several hours the end of August.  It’s understandable that George inspires me here among the palmetto.  He’s grown to almost six feet and doesn’t seem impeded by the missing leg.  When I’m up north on the several sunny minutes there, my muse is a ghost named Fred who inhabits my 1874 cottage.  I have no idea where he goes to spend the winters, but I received a postcard from San Diego the other day.  I guess he’s a kind of bi-coastal ghost/muse.

My point is that I count on George to be around to inspire me, so when he disappeared in December, I found my creative juices waning too.  I tossed it off because I was busy doing the business side of an author’s life, you know, the part where you blog, edit, join internet groups for promotion, set up signings, contact libraries, book groups, and other organizations for appearances, the part that doesn’t require you to be literary beyond a press release, poster, business card, or book mark.

Coincidental with George’s absence, or so I thought, has been the appearance of the developers who have cleared the land across our canal.  I like the jumble of weeds, trees, grasses, dead plants, and other organic stuff that is a part of the rural Florida landscape.  Add a few cows, some horses, and a cowboy or two and you’ve got the perfect setting for murder, at least my kind of murder.  Now it’s so sparkly clean over there that I’m thinking I should write romance.  The herd of horses and cows that roamed that pasture has migrated to a more distant field where the vegetation is still a hodge podge of unidentifiable, but obviously yummy bovine and equine stuff.  Suddenly I got it.  George was gone.  Life was changing here, becoming, heaven forbid, more upscale.  They even started running upscale cows in the field, Black Angus rather than those mixed breed, floppy-eared, tough Florida cows.  My inspiration to write old Florida was fading.

Then the other evening, a small, three foot alligator appeared in the canal.  A George baby, sent as a sign for me to begin writing again.  Perhaps only a short story?  As the youngster peered at me from his watery post, I spied movement farther down the canal.  George, all six feet of him, and not happy about the kid invading his territory.

I haven’t seen either of them since, but I’m content to know somewhere nearby George waits for me to get busy again.  And just in case I don’t, he’s got reinforcements he can send in.  So I think I’ll name the little one Bailey. 

I’ve dealt with that change in my life.  Now, I can take my anger out on the changes they’ve made in the point-counting system from my diet program.  I mean, four points for the worst bagel on earth?  Who are they kidding?  Sic ‘em, Bailey.

Lesley A. Diehl, author of Dumpster Dying, visit me at and


Sunny Frazier said...

So glad George made an appearance! But Bailey sounds like a new phase in your life.
Welcome to OTP!

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Lesley. Very funny post. I find alligators to be highly fascinating although that could be because there aren't any in CA. There is a gang or maybe it's a gaggle of guy turkeys who gather each morning at the top of my driveway. We exchange hellos when I pick up my paper. OF course, if they start showing off for me I may get worried.

Thanks for making my morning.

paula said...

Glad that amid the changes the familiar returned. I don't have any alligators in Chattanooga, but I do see a chipmunk most days around 9 a.m When Chippy isn't there, things are not the same. Thanks for the post and the chuckle.

Velda Brotherton said...

Enjoyed your post and George very much. Occasionally we have alligators in southern Arkansas but not up here in the northwest corner. Here we just had a snow storm that broke all existing records for the entire state. My patio is covered by over a foot of the white stuff, in which I waded barefoot to get some pictures and a bowl of the white stuff to make myself a treat. Snow ice cream. Keep writing and connecting with nature, be it George, or a chipmunk or these pesky little armadillos we have denned up in the back yard.

Marja said...

Well, shoot! I wrote a whole comment about your alligator and our roadrunners, and it disappeared. Anyway, I'm glad you saw George again. We have roadrunners who show up for lunch everyday, and one of them clucks like a chicken, which is unheard of. I guess he/she has a vocal problem. Maybe it's trying to tell me IT wants to be a muse. The alligators and roadrunners both look very prehistoric to me.

Very funny blog, Lesley.

Deborah Sharp said...

Hi, Lesley ... sounds like you're fitting right in as a Florida cracker ( I can use that term, as I am one!): already complaining about how much better everything used to be before the danged developers messed it up!
glad to hear at least some wildlife remains. And remember, don't feed the gators!

jrlindermuth said...

I hope they don't upscale your turf too much. It's getting harder and harder to find an unpasteurized patch of earth, and it sounds like you enjoy yours the way it was when you found it. Maybe you could get George to put the bite on the developers.

Maggie Bishop said...

Counting on George for inspiration is a little like baseball players keeping the same helmet all season. It can work but helps that you have adapted your habits. Hope you sell a lot of books!

Lesley Diehl said...

Who knew how many of you connect with the critters who visit? I wonder if the animals have an underground blog where they comment on how crazy they find us! Mine would be


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hey, Lesley, I'm so glad you've joined us, I feel like I know you already since I see you on Facebook and you've visited my personal blog.

Your alligator story was great. No alligators here, though there is a mountain lion roaming around who is feasting on people's pets, including sheep. Not cool.