I love my aquariums, and they sometimes work into my fiction writing process.
I fixed new lights on one of my aquariums yesterday. Watching the fish glow under the LED, slow down and hover because this light makes shadows inside the aquarium, mimicking their natural environment, I began to wonder: what do fish think– what are the thoughts that blink up and light their tiny little minds? Do they think at all? What if we knew their thoughts?
And as any writer knows, ‘What if’s can sometimes lead to great stories.
I went back to look for instances of when my fish have inspired me, and found this old blog post– the writers amongst you might identify with it:
As some readers of this blog know, I have a pair of Black Angelfish.
Every two weeks or so, like clockwork, they lay about a 100 eggs, guard them till the babies hatch, hover around the hatchlings still attached to the leaves, try to carry them in their mouths and keep them safe once the babies are free-swimming. Only about 50 babies are left at this stage.
Then for the next three days, they do their best to sustain the babies, which dwindle from 50 to 25 to 10 to 5 to zero. This is because I don’t know what to feed the babies— am both scared of, and don’t know how to, breed mosquito larvae, which is their food.
A day after the last baby has disappeared, the angels are at each other, kissing, fluttering, chasing, back at the mating game. A day later there are eggs again.
I wonder if they remember their babies. I know they are capable of some kind of association/ memory, because they know when I’m around and come begging for food, and dance around like mad puppies when I have the food box in my hand.
I no longer know how to feel about the regular births and deaths.
But I’ve learned the passion of creation by their example: write like mad, polish them like mad, submit like mad, and even if the babies come to nothing, set about making my writing babies again.
And just like with the angelfish babies, rejoice that they lived and swam free, at least for a while.
Who knows, maybe someday, one of the angelfish babies would survive. It would become more than a tiny tadpole, actually grow fins and swim at large.
In the meanwhile, what I and my angelfish can do is create, with passion and commitment. Results be damned.
What do Fish think? Have you ever wondered what your pets think about, the cat, your dog, that hamster? Has your pet ever inspired you to create art or stories?