The Bad Witch Packs Up

The Bad Witch has dogs.[1]  Lots of dogs. Five that you can see.

The Tiller Girls walking Borzoi, 1952

I’m quite a sight on walksies. An excess of two-hundred-fifty pounds on leads and little ol’me in front. A huge Catahoula with a great Katrina survival story, a Tervuren with a great Desert Storm survival story, a Chow-Lab-Spaniel who is afraid of water (go figure), and the biggest Springer Spaniel you’ll ever see: at some sixty pounds, he is a mutant.

The newest addition to the pack is a little-something. (She’s obviously a Lhasa Apso but we can’t tell what else since she was bald and ragged when she arrived a few months ago.) She followed my daughter home just before a terrible electrical storm. The Bad Witch couldn’t turn the poor thing away. She is, after all, my daughter (ba-dum-bump). After the storm passed, we took the li’l dog[2] to the pound to check for a microchip, nada. Posted posters around town, nada. Took out an add in the paper, nada.  Our first observation of this pooch was: she’s about eleven-years-old, she’s “fixed” but has had a litter, and she thinks she owns the world, a real lapdog. After a while, it became apparent to us that this li’l dog was A) alternately overempowered by and abused by her previous owners and B) was ours to keep.

Needless to say, when I introduced her to my gigantic Cerberusesque pack, she needed moderate supervision. She had no earthly idea what it meant to act like a dog. For the first few weeks we kept her crated in a separate part of the house when we were not home to provide guidance.

SciFi and Fantasy Art C is for Cerberus by Natalie Lynn Rainwater

Eventually, as dogs will do, she integrated with the other dogs. Now, she lays in the floor or on a hammock with the “big dogs” rather than insisting on the sofa or a human lap. Now she eats respectfully with the pack rather than stealing from the table or hoarding at mealtime.[3]

Finally, Li’ldog became a dog.

According to Giles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (aka, “The Holy Trinity” to The Bad Witch[4]). Becoming  is a process of change; they compare it to “lines of flight” and to the mimicry of movement within an assemblage.[5] An example of this concept might be explained in connection to the way atoms are drawn into an assemblage with nearby atoms. The properties of the constituent element disappear and are replaced by the new properties of the assemblage—“Becomings-molecular of all kinds, Becomings-particles” (D&G 272). Hydrogen and oxygen Become-Water not merely hydrogen+oxygen. Sort of.

So if The Bad Witch were to assemble with A Crazy Witch, this would tend to make something new, not just A Crazy+Bad Witch, right?

I was something, alright.

Likewise, my poor Li’ldog, in being assembled with vacillatory and unsteady people, had Become Vacillatory Dog, Unsteady Dog, Persondog, Mog.[6] Poor thing. She never even knew she was a dog. She never knew her boundaries and allowances, so she was all out of sorts all the time.

Now that she has readjusted to a more natural way of being, now that her lines of flight are attuned to Dogness, now that she is surrounded by stable dogs that have neither been overempowered nor abused,  she lays in with the pack and looks at me as if to say, “Well, hell. Look at me. I’m a dog. Ain’t life grand?”

The Bad Witch is back on her way to Becoming-Dog as well. For a couple of years, I had assembled myself with vacillatory, unsteady, undogs. There was alternately overempowerment and abuse. There were no boundaries. I was all out of sorts all the time. I had forgotten that I was a dog and, therefore, what it meant to BeDog: to simply lie with the pack and not fight over bones.

Of course what I mean is that I had forgotten what it was like to BeWitch.

But a few months ago, I started running with a new pack. It’s a healthy pack. No abuse. No overempowerment. Boundaries.

I too have readjusted to a more natural way of being, now that my lines of flight are attuned to Dogness, I mean Witchness, now that I am surrounded by stable Witches that neither engage in overempowerment nor abuse. And now, after just a few months with this new pack, I’m remembering what it’s like to be in a healthy, stable group where I don’t have to worry about some unbalanced mongrel attacking me. And it seems when an outsider attacks, this pack huddles up and growls.[7] This isn’t to say that the pack has all its kinks worked out. But that’s a normal natural process and, like any set of healthy pack-animals, we’ll manage to do it with the survival of the group in mind.

Li’ldog and I are doing fine. She has her pack and I have mine. She’s enjoying safety, affection, and letting her hair grow out. Me too. She’s actually a lot of fun to watch now that she knows how to act.

Now that I’m chillaxing with my new pack, I hope I’m fun to watch too. All I can say for certain is, “Well, hell. Look at me. I’m a Witch. Ain’t life grand?”

[1] And if I haven’t mentioned, Momma and Daddy have chickens. Real ones, not metaphorical ones. Today, my big sister, who lives next-door to Mom and Dad, let me know that my dad’s favorite chicken, named “Miss Priss” after yours truly, was live-plucked, trussed-up, and consumed whole by a hungry hawk. Downhome chicken security is currently on high alert. TBW knows a thing or two about dogs and chickens. Dogs tend to protect chicks. Hawks are what ya gotta look out for.

[2] Eventually her name became Chanel. Adoring Miss Coco as I do, I couldn’t stand it; so I settled on Nell, or Smelly Nelly onacounta her toxic fumes. But, in the end, we just call her Li’ldog. She answers.

[3] It was actually pretty funny to watch her growl and nip at dogs three to six times her size and to see them condescend to her because I had introduced her as a “boss” of the pack (had to for her protection, she’s so lil).

[4] Read A Thousand Plateaus of the Capitalism and Schizophrenia project, you’ll get the joke.

[5] As Deleuze and Guattari explain, the process of “Becoming-something” is not merely one of imitation or analogy – but that’s part of it. Becoming-something is generative of a novel mode of being; it is a function of influences rather than resemblances. It has more to do with affinities than “looking like” or performance.

[6] John Candy’s character, Barf, in Spaceballs is half-man, half-dog, a “Mog.”

[7] I have to say that it’s cool to be protected for a change. It was kinda groovy watching my new pack-mates’ scruffs go up in my defense.

3 comments on “The Bad Witch Packs Up

  1. kaye berry says:

    he he he he, good for you, my dear…..

  2. […] lived in my little town for almost – not quite – ten years now. I met the only other Witch I would know for most of that time during a long-ass stint in grad school. At the time we met, she […]

  3. Reblogged this on Ehsha and commented:

    Apparently I’ve been dog-ish for a while now. This is an old post from The Bad Witch Files–still applies (re-applies?). Enjoy!

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