Life with dogs

I have a goal of 4 pages a day in order to finish the novel by the end of October. Okay, say mid November. The year begins today and ends on Thanksgiving, in my mind. Lately I've met the goal by hammering out 4 pages of triplespaced-narrow-margined-throw-in-another-line-break text. Text with stretch marks. But since I'm crashing headlong into my birthday I'm determined to meet the daily quota.

So this morning I was trying to write a scene in which the wolf, the old male patriarchal geriatric wolf, is trying to deal with the endless presence of the woman, the young, curly-haired, not-entirely-close-to-nature woman who has nevertheless cast her lot in with a bunch of close-to-nature types. I'm giving a lot away here, kind of, so sorry. But the scene has not been going well. It has run aground a number of times. The wolf and the woman really don't have a way to communicate. This is not a mystical rocky mountain high fantasy I'm writing here, it's a skewed tale that presumes very little. That's what I seem to do. But the scene has no been going well.

And this morning what bashed the fragile wisp that is fiction writing's delicate eggshell head into the distracto wall was one of our dogs. Canis germanus fangus biggus distractus. Specifically, the male patriarchal dog. The father of litters that includes amazing working dogs who have successfully done all sorts of Rin Tin Tin-like things.

Papa is a big hero dog in own right and has accomplished many titles and numbers and certificates and honors, and has giant saucer eyes that would, if they could, speak volumes.

This morning as he lay on the kitchen floor he decided volumes had to be spoken.  He tried, over and over again, to get my attention — dramatically jumping to his feet and whining if I did so much as shift in my chair.  When the writing is not happening I tend to shift a lot. So there was a lot of canine activity happening as well. We fed on each other in that strange reciprocal feedback loop called getting nothing done because we're getting nothing done. Eventually his whine successfully pitched his needs in my direction, right into my brain, at peak velocity, where it ran around, chasing my words into the dark corners to huddle and wait.

This is entirely natural. It is as natural as the way I abuse metaphors daily. He is a working dog. He has ideas and drive. I am a working writer. I have ideas and drive. What was driving me this morning, and not fast enough, was the idea of a wolf trying to deal with a human. The wolf, in this story, came first in the cabin they live in. How does this wolf assert its territory? He pisses on things. He was taking aim at her down coat (specifically L.L. Bean ripstop navy blue nylon, a leftover from her early college days) when the whining turned to barking. It turned out, of course, that Papa needed to go out and take a piss. So who, I wonder, looks the dumbest here?

I have yet to get back to that scene. The time is now. arrivedoggi.

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