River otter

You're on a first date. Awkward pause ensues. How do you break the silence?

One of my favorite break the silence, get folks talking questions is: "What animal would you come back as in your next life? Why?" Animals, totems, wildlife, openness to alternative spiritual ideas … are all very important parts of my life, so if that didn't work to end an awkward pause, or if it made it worse, it would probably be the last date anyway.

One of the best answers I ever got came from a friend, not a date. She would come back as a parrot. She'd live in the Amazon just outside of a resort so that people could feed her all day and she could bite their fingers off and fly away if they got obnoxious .

I would come back as an otter, a river otter most likely. Otters are smart, active, playful, top of the food chain, and they get to play in the water all day.

One of my favorite quotes:

Tor editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden had a wonderful rant some years back. She had been talking to an animal trainer, who explained to her why otters were untrainable. Other animals, it seemed, when given their food reward or whatever by their human handler, would seem to think, Great, he liked it! Ill do that again! Otters, by contrast, would seem to think, Great, he liked it! Now Ill do something else thats even cooler! Writers, Teresa concluded in a moment of Zen enlightenment, were otters. At least from an editors point of view.

~ Lois McMaster Bujold

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