posted by Doranna Durgin

The Chaos Factor is sitting at my feet.

No, seriously.

Heading home from agility practice to write this blog, with nothing more on my mind than the simple pleasure of disembarking the car to travel all of ten feet to the hose, dogs in tow, to rinse us all of the powdery soft drought dust, we encountered chaos in the middle of the road. Standing there, stupidly staring at the car, tiny tongue sticking out slightly between teeth separated by a modestly undershot jaw.

I drove past.

And then I cursed, and pulled over, and grabbed the slip lead I always have in the car, and with my two four-legged kids waiting patiently in the back, I went out to round up chaos.

Rounding up a stray isn't easy--in this case it took a road full of good Samaritans--but it's the easiest part of the process. The Decision Tree once you have the dog is immense. Is it sick or healthy, do you dare have it anywhere near your dogs, how do you even get it home? Does it have tags? Is it aggressive, so the house will be a tense powderkeg even as you keep it separate from your own dogs?

And heaven forbid it be a weekend in this rural area--no one's going to come take a stray off your hands, that's for sure. And Monday? Fergeddaboudit. That's when everyone else is tying out the county animal control officer with their own weekend issues. Rescue groups, no-kill shelters...you're on your own (but only after you waste a morning trying). Meanwhile, has the dog needed care? Is it, say, matted to the skin? And can your former dog groomer self even begin to stand it? How many work hours does it take to free the dog of that solid mat coat?

Uh-huh.

Writing, to me, is the process of avoiding chaos so the important stuff can happen. I often refer to the Chaos Factor in my newsgroup--those things that crop out, generated from outside my life as opposed to within. The things I can't anticipate. The things utterly not related to my writing.

Skip2 Like the particular small person sitting at my feet, they can be quite rewarding things. Or they can be annoying, or even crisis-like, or they can be niggly little "I wasn't expecting that!" things that simply must be done. But they're always unexpected and somehow they always take precedence. I guess I see myself as in a video game...zooming down the game course, dodging the chaos factor bombs and getting page points...but sometimes they hit square on, a big splooge of chaos gunk. The little icon that is me goes reeling away in random directions, ever more vulnerable to further chaos hits...

Because the writing is the foundation of things, you know...the be-all, end-all, and I-am of things. The place my brain dwells, and the place upon which it places priority. As long as the writing has happened, then chaos just becomes what we all know as life. But when it interferes with the writing...

*shudder* Excuse me. Judging by the last day, I'd better go find a bunker.

(Chaos, by the way, is not housebroken.)

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