Earlier this week we had dinner at my father-in-law's and we turned on a TV program called 'Swamp People.' At first, I thought, "Oooh, cool, a Sunday horror flick!" It turned out to be something entirely different. It was a show about Alligator Season in the swamp lands of Louisiana.
If I wanted to be an alligator hunter in Loosiann, what would I need?
Equipment would include a flat fishing boat (sorry all you boat experts out there, I have no idea what kind of boat it is, I'm just trying to describe it), large pieces of decomposing chicken on enormous hooks (aka bait), a strong pole and line, and a hand gun and/or shotgun with ammunition.
Non-equipment essentials would include a guide/mentor, knowledge of alligator hangouts and a great aim (or a sharpshooter).
The bait is hung just above the water along the banks of the swamp lands. After baiting several hooks and setting them out along a route, the team returns and checks the lines. Sometimes bait is missing, but when they're lucky, a 'gator is on the other end of the line. They carefully reel it in and it puts up one mother lode of a fight. This is where the sharpshooter comes in. As soon as that 'gator's head is above water the shooter is firing. If the first shot doesn't do the trick, he fires off another round into what they call the 'sweet spot'. The 'sweet spot' is about the size of a quarter and unless you hit that spot Mr. Alligator is not slowing down. Next they load the gator - head first (very important) - into the boat. Then they move to the next bait spot. They have 30 days to hunt their license limit.
One thing that really struck me was the mentors - the older men - passing their skill and knowledge on to the next generation. They were so patient, guiding the younger men through the whole process and a few mistakes. Who had taught them? Their fathers and grandfathers and so on, going back generations and generations. When those young men followed the lead of the older ones success and safety followed.
Our writing is much the same. There are so many generous and talented 'mentors' out there helping those of us who are just starting out. They encourage us and guide us and give us little tidbits of wisdom. Our writing is better because of them. I am grateful for past generations of wonderful writers. Thank you and Write On my friends!