The other day I was with my friend and his dog. He had gotten some “bear scent” in order to scent train her. Well, more accurately, it was to see how she may react to the scent. My dog was there too. He took the scent out in the backyard while the dogs were inside, so they wouldn’t see him doing anything or be able to smell it and get an unfair advantage. Then, once they were done eating we took them outside and allowed them to sniff the ‘test’ patch so they would get an idea of what the scent was. Yes, this has to do with writing just let me get to my point.
My dog, Sawyer, smelled the test patch and was somewhat interested but didn’t decide to pick up the scent trail and went off to play in the grass like it was no big deal. His dog, Scarlett, got on the scent immediately. Keep in mind, we have never trained her to do this or even know what this is. However, she started to bark, running into the back yard like she was attempting to ward off an intruder and then seconds later she was right at the “bear site” where most of the scent had been placed for her to find. She is, in no way, some kind of working hunting or herding dog. Her breed is though. Great Pyrenees were bred to protect goats and sheep from bears and wolves. Despite never having seen or smelled a bear in her life, she knew that scent meant danger instinctively and she ran to protect the yard, herself, and her humans. Meanwhile, my dog didn’t do much of anything or even try to help her.
It got me to thinking about nature vs nurture. How somethings (in animals) is just an instinct. This goes for humans too, though. Believe it or not. For instance, humans with a more sensitive sense of smell (eons ago) were more likely to survive based on instinct and smell. They could smell sickness, or when food was rotten. This kept them from getting infected by bad things. There are also studies of mice, tarantulas, and baby chicks, hiding from the shadow of a hawk even if they were raised in a lab and had never come in contact with a bird of prey. It’s just something in their brains that is there and that’s how they react.
Writing, for me, is like an instinct. As I am sure it is for many others. It feels like it is just there and you have to get it out. No amount of doing anything else is going to cure you. Almost like an itch that you can’t scratch. An invisible monkey on your back. I knew from a young age I wanted to write stories. I was writing stories from a young age as well. Recently, I went back to a box of old stuff I had from elementary school and found a bunch of this stuff. Even projects that said I wanted to be an author dating back to the first grade when I was only five. This makes me wonder, was I born a writer? Was it always just an instinct? I cannot think of a time in all my 30 years where I did not want to write or wasn’t creating some sort of story or imaginary world.
Since there are tons of people out there like this, I do wonder if it’s some sort of trait. A gene that might be passed on somehow. Is it a mental defect? An asset? Why is it that so many people lack the passion for the written word and why is it that some of us would rather die than suffer from a day or two of writer’s block. Though I would never say that writing isn’t also a craft and that it can’t be learned by the disciplined who want to learn it, I think there is a difference. I think there’s something that sets apart the nature writers from the nurture writers. Yet, I will always wonder why this is and how it came to be. What importance it plays in evolution or if everything I’m saying here is absolute and complete nonsense.
What do you guys think? Feel free to leave your ideas in a comment down below because I’d love to hear it.