When anyone talks about creating daily habits that aren’t natural, I think of conditioning and Pavlov’s dog.
Recently I bought an African butterfly fish. Having not seen it open its mouth before I thought it unusual and quite beautiful. But if you’ve seen the African butterfly fish open its mouth and you concentrate on the mouth, you wouldn’t be blamed for calling it ugly and even scary.
The same day I bought the African butterfly fish (photo source: National History Museum), I bought 4 hatchets the size of flakes. If you’re a tropical fish enthusiast, you’d probably think I’m masochistic but honestly, I didn’t realize that the hatchet is the perfect prey for the African butterfly fish. You can tell I’m a novice. Still, I know it’s no excuse.
Be assured that the hatchets are fine – I count them every day and they were all there last night. My butterfly fish is scared of them me thinks.
My African butterfly fish is a lazy feeder. Either that or he’s really shy. It will not move a millimetre for food. It will only take flakes floating directly above its mouth. I’ve read it will chase insects, flies, crickets and live food but I’ve not yet fed the fish live food (other than daphnia) so I can’t say – it’s hard to find flies in Spring nevermind catch them without spraying them with chemicals.
Because the fish is a predator and will eat any other fish that would fit in its mouth, I’ve been feeding it flakes, conditioning it to not get scared when my hand looms from above to drop the flake and wave the current to get the flake as close to its mouth as possible.
I’m conditioning it to eat flakes and get used to being fed. I feed it and worry about feeding it more because I fear if it’s not fed, it would eat the other fish in the tank.
I wish I could be like that with my writing.
How can I condition myself when it comes to writing? Do I have to have the threat of death? I don’t want that. No one can handle the threat of constant death.
But sometimes, I think it is the thought of loss that creates a massive drive.
What would I lose if I didn’t write?
What would you lose?