Tuesday, 23 February 2010
A Wolf in Woman's Clothing: N M Browne
I am a wolf. This is somewhat inconvenient because wolves don't cook or clean or shop for food. I also seem to be something of a stay-at-home, chocolate eating wolf, inclined to sleep a lot: a semi hibernating wolf who, lacking opposable thumbs, is pretty useless at living my life.
I thought I was going to have to be a wolf for most of my book but I am rapidly changing my mind, though, to be honest, as a wolf I don't do much rapidly. My claws make too much noise on my wooden stairs, my breath smells and my dog has forsaken his place under my desk; I think I have to give it up. I have been a fox before now, but she was female and largely co operative if more feral than I would have liked. I am often a man, or a boy anyway, which is straightforward, though I obviously have to remember that it is only in my mind that I pee standing up.
I like shapeshifting it's what we novelists do. I always remember an internet friend remarking that she had persuaded herself she was several inches taller in order to live in the skin of her heroine and was constantly surprised that she couldn't actually reach the pickles off the highest supermarket shelves. That hasn't yet happened to me, though I am occasionally disturbed to see the face of an old woman in the mirror in place of my youthful and (invariably attractive) protagonist: always a bit of a let down that.
The wolf is different. The wolf is semi-nocturnal and always tired, plus he has no self discipline. Absolutely none. He is an alpha male who won't compromise and is horribly territorial about the best place on the sofa. He expects the pack to obey him, which, frankly, has come as a bit of a shock to the pack who are used to a little less snarling.
None of this poses an insurmountable problem, the deal breaker is that the wolf doesn't want to tell his story. He can't be arsed. The wolf doesn't care if it never gets written. The wolf wants what the wolf wants and it isn't what I want so I think I have to let him go, let him slink off back into my id or wherever the hell he's come from and take his stink back with him. I think my husband will be pleased.