Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Friday, June 6, 2008

I'm gratified

I feel a great sense of gratification today. At least one person seems to have the same interests I do, e.g. science fiction, Neandertals, medieval life and anthropology. Would anybody be even more interested if I added wolves? Well, my favorite animals are wolves and cats, in no particular order(not dogs, mind you, wolves). But wolves are not the subject of this blog. Neandertals, medieval life, writing and the writing process, are. But at least one kind person commented, and shared their interests. . . which happen to be (mostly) the same as mine!

Which is odd. Because the people who come here and leave a comment tend to fall into two totally disparate groups: the ones who are interested in Neandertals, and the ones who are interested in writing and/or medieval life. Not, mind you, that I have any objection to this. I'm happy that anybody at all is taking the time to read my blog. After all, it's not like I"m some well-known commentator in the blogosphere, though I do have my opinions, and I'm unafraid to state them. But the writing process, Neandertals, and medieval life, are not exactly the exciting subjects that make up the bulk of the blogosphere. Nor, unlike some bloggers, am I going to try to make myself famous buy describing my life in minute detail. Outside of writing and my interests, my life is really quite "mundane".

Still, you'd think that there would be more people whose interests are like mine, overlaping. And you'd think there would be more writers sharing. Of course, the writers are probably too busy writing whatever they are trying to get published, to run over here.

But nevertheless, it's gratifying to know that at least one person has my "profile" of interests. So, with continued gratitude for at least this much, I'm going to keep right on linking to Neandertal related stuff, and medieval related stuff, and, of course, anything that relates to writing and the writing process. Not to mention that, whenevery my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece With Neandertals gets published, you will be among the first to hear about it!
Anne G


Bee said...

Hi Anne

I read this entry a couple days ago, and being the opinionated person I am, I'm giving in to the urge to share my thoughts about wolves - hope you don't mind.

Wolves are marvellous animals, but I regret the manner in which they have been turned into symbols of either natural nobility or rapacious evil. I've been fortunate enough to view both NA wolves and one European wolf close up, in respectively, a wildlife park and a zoo (not the best places from which to make judgements of animal behaviour, I know). An interesting feature of wolves is that, unlike most mammals, who will look *at* you, a wolf will look you in the eye, and humans respond strongly to eye contact. I think, besides their complex social structure, intelligence, and kinship with dogs, this is a reason wolves have been either demonized or worshipped through history.

Pretty much every work of fiction I've encountered which included wolves has succumbed to the temptation of using the wolves as metaphors for something else - the nobility or savagery of nature, or the relationship of humans with nature, etc. I don't think, from what I've read in your blog, that you would do this, but I suspect it would be a tough bit of writing to give the wolves their due without allowing the reader to misinterpret, drawing instead on their own preconceived response to wolves (noble/evil). (Does this make any sense?)

Since you like wolves - are you aware that wolves in eastern Canada have hybridized with coyotes? Called 'Brush Wolf' in some places, and 'Coyote' in others, these animals are plentiful, successful, large predators with an interesting mix of coyote and wolf behaviours. They have not been extensively studied (AFAICT), but some material is available.


Anne Gilbert said...


I've seen wolves in wildlife parks and in zoos. Both are nearby where I live. And yes, I'm well aware that they have been both glorified and demonized. I grew up with "demonized" wolves, but that began to change around the time my daughter was a small child. I really got interested in wolves because, of all things, a "flaky" dog in my neighborhood, thiat I wanted to communicate better with(the dog wasn't vicious or anything, just kind of "flaky"). Anyway, I really got "into" wolves, and the more I got "into" them, the more I was convinced that where they exist, they were and are an important part of the natural ecosystem. They are neither "bad" nor "good", just part of the natural world. They have a job to do and they do it very well. Incidentally, getting "into" wolves kind of led me back to my anthropological "roots" and thus i9nto Neandertals, but that was indirect. And yes, I'm very well aware that coyotes and wolves can and do hybridize in certain parts of the US and Canada. In fact, I've since discovered that all members of the genus Canis(wolves, coyotes, jackals, "red wolves" and yes, domestic dogs) are what is known in scientific parlance as "interfertile", that is, they can interbreed and produce offspring that interbreed. Some "wolves" around the Great Lakes area seem to be part coyote for this reason. And most members of the genus Canis are exceedingly adaptable to changing conditions; we have lots of "urban coyotes"(they form packs, BTW), right here where I live, and people encounter them all the time. No wolf/coyote hybrids, though. Wolves have wandered into My Fair State of Washington, but I'm not living anywhere near where they have trotted themselves. So far.

As for readers misinterpreting what I might have to say about wolves, the only thing I can say is, I would(and I have something "on the shelf" which actually does this) describe them as "naturally" as possible. If readers misinterpret anything, that is kind of their problem, I think. I can only write as truthfully as "fiction" allows me to, and that is with some latitude. I'm not writing a biological treatise, after all.
Anne G
Anne G