Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Required Dog Story

It seems if you want to get anywhere in publishing, you have a few choices available:

1. You can write about what a terrible job (fill in politicians' or general's name here) is or are doing and how he/she/they will destroy this land and everyone in it if we do not stop them immediately.  It helps if you blog (OK, got that covered), have a good size audience (appreciating a reading audience of even one right now), and can also squeeze in a radio show (still waiting for that callback from Current Network).

2. Turgid erotica, with the words "Oh, my" in it a lot.  You can be a celebrity, or a person who is famous for being famous, or a person who knew someone famous (or think you did and it also helps if the person is a dead famous person), or know a person who can write and will put your name on the book.

3. Write about an animal - cat or dog, usually a dog, and put said animal on the cover of your book, and let the money roll in.  Dean Koontz, thriller writer extraordinaire, usually hides a dog somewhere in his story and the dog can either talk, or make words out of letter blocks, or drive a Maserati backwards down any street in California.  Then there's Dewey, the cat at the library, and how he helped people read.  And there are a ton of others that I'm sure you could bring up.

I've let my interest in politics wane over the last four years, and there are more than enough opinions without adding an uninterested one to the chorus.  I don't know anyone famous.  In Upstate New York, we have politics as our celebrity outlet of choice, but those folks come and go.  But now and then, Angelina Jolie or Ryan Gosling show up for a movie (acting in one, not watching one).  Local media follows the stars for us, which I appreciate. So since I don't really do politics, and don't follow movie stars, that leaves one way to get wealthy writing.

Here's the Dog Story.

She saved no ones life but my own.  No burning buildings did she run in to save the babies.  She never found a bomb, drugs, or a thrown ball.  She was terrified of rats.  Yet she was brave to the end of the fence, defending her territory, unless someone opened the iron gate and walked into the yard.  She would then look at that tall thing moving by, sneeze at them in greeting, and go back to contemplating the ants on the sidewalk.  Or roll on her back and watch the world walk by upside down.

That was my dog Cookie.  She looked like this:

All right, not totally like that, but this drawing that I found at a craft fair in Lansingburgh in 1983 got the basics right.  She was a a mix of beagle and collie (a colgle?), which meant for my family a very hairy beagle.  Here's another picture:

I think that's my mother's Corvair there in the street which makes this picture some time in the very early 70s (picture taken by a Polaroid Swinger!).  Cookie was with us from 1965 to 1976.  During that time my family peaked, and then was separated by weddings, move outs, and my father's gradual decline into Primary Progressive MS.  But Cookie remained until even she saw it was time to go.  August 1 1976.  My father came home later that day to tell us he'd been let go by General Electric. In later years I was dumped by a girlfriend on August 1, and then was transferred out of a favorite job to one I could not stand on another August 1.  I hated that day.

I've written in these blogs about the years that were then to come, and how I'd be dealing with my father's disease and then my mother's bipolar depression.  But I didn't say anything, I don't think, about my dog NOT being there.  She was in my heart, where she still visits me.  Even in my dreams, she'll drop and and talk to me, actually talk, seeing how I'm doing, and then wander off.

When I was contemplating retirement back in 2010, a number of people said I could get a dog as a companion for these days.  No thanks.  While I was an immature dweeb during much of Cookie's life and would occasional take out my life's frustration on her (my own bipolar rage boiled even then), I'd thought that another dog could have the advantage of a new improved post millennial Tom (all drugged up and no place to go).  But as moving around is a bit harder for me these days, I felt the dog would walk me instead of I walking it.  It just would not work. Besides I had had the best.

So her ghost sits besides me looking out the window at the birds in the bushes, smacking her lips at those tasty treats.  She looks back at me and wags her tail, and I smile back.  Both bipolar and MS effect the brain enough for some to see illusions, or delusions.  For this one, I am grateful.

I have lots of Cookie stories (real ones) to share for the rest of my Required Dog Story. You no doubt have your own for your past pets.  Love to hear them.

Right now, we're going for a walk.

From Lisa at Brass and Ivory

1 comment:

  1. No doubt animals can get you through the hardest times of your life. And I do believe that after they pass they come to "visit". We had a chihuahua named Cha-Cha. After her passing a white butterfly would come around and usually get inside somehow and land in her favorite spots. Reincarnation too? Who knows, but I would always put a smile on all of our faces.