... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Monday, October 24, 2011

432: maCorrie and maFigWasps

Uh oh, almost forgot to do today's second post, what with all the reading about Scientology I have got caught up in; fascinating subject, one that can really enslave your attention. Plus there is the distraction of the missus' maCorrie (that's Coronation Street to you and I), which she has been watching solidly on ITV Player, doing catch-up in preparation for tonight's serious storyline payload. I now have overtime all this week in the day job, and it's good to be back. But I still have a humongous amount of writing to be getting through this week... and then there is the really important stuff: catching up on House and An Idiot Abroad. And my feet are really itchy... not figuratively. I mean that entirely literally. I have very itch feet. I wonder if I can continue writing, and thinking about how itchy they are, without scratching them or taking off my socks. Like eating a sugary doughnut without licking one's lips. My fingers are starting to go weird, what with all the (that's the second time I've said what with all the in this paragraph; I wonder where I've picked that up from) unscratched itches. Sorry to bore you with that, but what do you expect. This isn't exactly the New York Times or whatever.

I have lots of disparate and odd plot points and character traits, and solid plans on how they will pan out and fit together, and the only problems I have are nothing that three or four solid, uninterrupted two or three hour writing sessions couldn't fix.

I used to enjoy coming up with song titles, band names, that sort of thing, when I was a teenager, yet hardly wrote any songs. I was in one or two bands, but have no ear for music or confidence with rhythm or performing, so I nipped that bud (only took four years). Now I come up with names for short stories, create a Word doc with the title, and often just leave them empty. Waiting for the story to fit the title. Sometimes I have a plot in mind to accompany the title, and when I do the story just seems to write itself. Last night I came up with the title Fig. 1, Fig. 2. I think I saw it in an animated graphic in the background of a physics documentary. Yes, now I remember: it was on episode three of Jim al-Khalili's Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity. Immediately it made me think about the fascinating and bizarre life-cycle of a particular kind of wasp that is of interest to evolutionary biologists. The fig and the fig wasp have co-evolved into an amazing symbiotic relationship: the male fig wasp lives out its entire life inside the fig (well, he digs out a tunnel to allow the female to escape, but he dies immediately after), whereas the female leaves only to find another fig. As she enters the second fig her wings are ripped off, she then lays her eggs and dies. In some species she is impregnated by the male before she has been born. The fig could not exist without the wasp, and vice versa. Both have evolved to accommodate the other. I think that is amazing, and it is one of the many mind-blowing, consciousness-raising and beautiful things I have learned from Richard Dawkins' books. Also the fig is not a fruit; it is a flower that has turned itself inside out over the course of millions of years. Amazing. So, a story about figs and fig wasps.

Goodnight, kids.

A page from the Mexican Huexotzinco Codex, painted onāmatl

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