Monday, April 1, 2013

What do Dogs Have to do With it?

Today, while doing mental research, it occurred to me that my dogs are helping me write this book in a couple of ways.

First, the mental research itself--that time between being fully awake and drifting off to sleep--is arguably enhanced by the imagination of dogs. When I settle down for an after-lunch nap I close my eyes and start to think about the book, usually starting with where I left off and what will come next. My dogs--I have what, 40 of them? Okay, four--settle around me. Most days they leave me alone for 15 or 20 minutes and I eventually drift off. Today, they imagined Mongol hordes attacking about every three minutes. It turned out to be kids going by on skateboards outside, a distant siren or a squirrel running across the roof. Once again, we were safe from Genghis.

But, the frequent interruptions meant I had to regroup my mind, go back to the story and--probably not--drift off to sleep. The dogs were prolonging my mental research time. My reptilian brain wants to bite them for it. Higher brain powers win out, and so they live.

Dogs also contribute to my health, which contributes to my writing. Sure, we go for walks and they throw Frisbees for me. Or something. But they also seem especially concerned that I not sit at the keyboard in one position for a length of time that might result in an embolism. The white schnauzer is particularly adept at this, coming to remind me with his persistent paws about every 45 minutes. Good boy. If I am successful in ignoring his relentless pestering, the Irish wolfhound/Australian shepherd cross will begin whining in tones of increasing pitch until I leap from my chair and go spend three or four minutes with them in the backyard.

And they say writing a solitary pursuit.

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