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  • November 4th, 2009 | 10:54 PM
Of Dogs and Writing - Are you ready?

Sunday night we went to dinner with friends. We don't go out much and most of the places we go, we take Cassie with us. But this time that wasn't possible. We knew we'd be gone about three hours so the big question that came up was, is she ready to be left alone in the house?

She's never been a destructive dog. Never counter surfs. Never gets into the garbage. Except for a fondness for my favorite pens and plastic water bottles, we've been pretty lucky. But she's a needy, nervous dog who came to us with severe separation anxiety. I used to spray myself with DAP every time my husband left the house just so she would whine at a lower decible.

She's almost two years old and there's no reason she shouldn't be able to stay alone in the house. Dogs all over the world do it every day while their owners are off to work. But still, I worried. We practiced leaving her for short bursts of time, an hour here, a half hour there. Sunday night we got ready to go and Cassie went through her typical frenzied routine. As soon as she saw me with the brush for my hair she started barking and prancing around the house. She worked up so so much excitement at the thought of going out that I expected her to make herself sick.

I moved the bully sticks into the laundry room and shoved the leftover Halloween candy inside the microwave. Garbage was emptied. Pens put out of reach. I unwrapped a brand new bone and put it on the floor in the library. Normally that's enough to take all of her attention but that night, she just didn't care. She ran over and sniffed it once and then raced back to the front door. We kept postponing the leaving, giving her a treat if she went to her rug and stayed quiet. Petting her and then finally, rushing out the door before we could change our mind and stay home.

I waited on the porch, expecting to hear some frantic barking. Nothing. I glanced at the front window, waiting for her to fling herself against the glass. Nothing.

We went off to have an enjoyable evening of adult conversation without the tangle of a leash underfoot (or patio seating) and I didn't start to worry again until we were on the way home. I told myself as long as she hadn't trashed one of our antique pieces of furniture it would be okay.

Normally when she hears one of our cars in the driveway she gets excited and dances around on her rug near the door. But not this night. We stood on the porch and peered in the sidelight window. I saw her, on the floor in the library, next to her bone. She slowly stretched and walked over to her rug and sat down. When we came inside she wagged her tail a few times and then went back to her bone. She hadn't chewed it at all while we were gone but now that we were home I guess she decided it was okay to let herself enjoy it.

There was no barking. No frantic jumping. No racing around the house because we came back.

Many times I'll have a writing project that I want to do but I put off doing because I'm afraid I won't do it well. I procrastinate, ask my husband a million questions, email friends, and play a zillion games of Lexulous on Facebook. Eventually the time comes when I can't put it off any longer and I dive in. And when I finally knuckle down and do the work it isn't suddenly easy but I do eventually remember that hey, I've been at this writing thing a while and I've worked up some skills. And I remember how much I love this crazy business I'm in. I always forget all that when I'm about to start something new or difficult or different.

What are you not doing because you don't think you're ready?

I bet you're more ready than you think.

I know I am.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


November 6th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
Oh, that's beautiful, Susan. And so true. I've found that if I commit to 15 minutes of writing, I almost never want to stop there. But working up to that first minute can be agony, especially if I'm not in the habit.

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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