Sorting through one of our umpteen bookcases, I came across my Elfquest graphic novels – that brought back memories. I was introduced to them way back in the early 1980s, when I had first come to the UK. I loved the stories and especially loved the artwork. Even though I haven’t read them in ages, I still remember the characters … their names and traits … their wolf companions!
The one idea that appealed to me straightaway when I first read them, and still the most resonant one, is the ‘now’ of wolf-thought – nothing else matters but the moment the animal is in; he doesn’t worry about the past, he doesn’t fret about the future.
Back then – growing up, first time so far away from home, trying to deal with life – I desperately wanted to be able to live in that ‘now’ ... I still waste so much time worrying about things that have been and gone, things that haven’t happened yet and may not happen – things I can’t control or change, although I am a lot better than I used to be … taken me long enough!
Another reason I’m glad to have discovered ‘Elfquest’ is that it portrayed the wolf in a more realistic light. Before that, all I had heard about was how bad the wolf was, from fairy tales (Little Red Riding Hood) to sayings – wolf at your door; predatory lone-wolf – so many negative connotations. But it’s such an amazing creature, not the monster it’s been made out to be. Neither is it a saint, just another living being making its way in the world.
It’s strange that other predators, like big cats, haven’t got the same negativity attached to them, even though they hunt herbivores, toy with their prey, clash with humans … I suppose it’s because, when raising livestock became a viable livelihood in the US, the wolf was seen as a direct threat. But then, there are still those who mind them hunting caribou … hmm …
I’d always wanted to write about wolves but couldn’t think of a workable idea to show their caring, nurturing side. Until, having decided I wanted to write a story that featured a moon goddess, my research showed that the wolf is a creature of moon goddesses – yes! After that, the basic story idea fell into place … almost like magic …
The downside of having immersed myself in Elfquest – I really, really wanted a wolf-friend of my own!!