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  • December 16th, 2009 | 12:29 AM
Of Dogs and Writing - Commitment

Due to health issues, Cassie gets 8 pills a day. They're spread out, four times a day, some with food, some without food. I finally had to buy one of those big plastic pill containers that had four compartments per day just so I could make sure I didn't forget to give her one. They're mostly big pills and not the kind you can just mix in with her food. I figured out that a slice of American cheese works pretty well for pill pockets. I take a small piece of cheese and mold it around the pills and she scarfs them right down.

As I was filling the compartments with all the pills today (and trying not to think about the cost of all this medicine) I started thinking about the commitment we made to Cassie when we rescued her. At the time we adopted her we had no idea that she would have medical issues. We went to an adoption day, fell in love with Cassie, and brought her home to start a new life with us as soon as possible. We've lavished her with love and treats and toys, and most importantly, training. When the health stuff popped up we just started dealing with it because that's what you do when you love someone, even when that someone is a dog.

And then I started thinking about how some people might give up on a dog with health problems and expensive medicines. They might say enough is enough and walk away from the dog, unwilling to deal with the expense or the hassle of a dog with health issues.

Not us. We're in this for the long haul. Sorta like that "in sickness and health" promise my husband and I made when we got married.

Sometimes writing is easy. You start to write a story and you fall in love with it and the words seem to fall from your fingertips to the page with hardly any effort at all. And you smile to yourself and think, man, it's so dang easy to be a writer. This is the life. But sometimes writing is tough. Plots fall apart. Characters misbehave. Theme evaporates right before your eyes and you start to wonder why you should even bother, especially with the state the publishing industry is in right now.

If you feel like you've had enough and you want to walk away, go for it. Because if you can really quit the writing, maybe you didn't love it quite as much as you thought you did. Now quitting isn't the same as taking a break. We all need those breaks to shift our thinking to another part of the brain for a while. But when you are in a story, you need to make a commitment to finishing that story, even when it seems like everything is stacked against you. Sometimes all you need to do is promise yourself to keep on keeping on, one word at a time. The battle will fight itself under the surface and as long as you don't quit, you don't lose.

When we first started giving Cassie all this medicine I felt bad. Several times a day I had give her something yucky. Something other dogs didn't need to deal with.

But you know what? Cassie doesn't look at it that way. When I pop open one of those compartments she comes running into the kitchen from wherever she is in the house. She knows she's getting a pill. And she knows that pill is going to be coated in cheese. She's not thinking about it being medicine. The way she sees it, she gets four yummy cheese treats a day.

It's all in how you look at it.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 6 comments — Leave comment )
December 16th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
Wow, Susan, you are absolutely right! And your commitment is absolutely beautiful. I would do the same thing for my dog. We rescued her too, but somehow, my writing doesn't get the same commitment. It is definitely something to think about.

Thank you. And Cassie is very lucky to have you and hubby as family.
December 18th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
Thank you. Try giving your writing that kind of commitment in small doses, five or ten minutes at a time. Maybe that will help?
December 16th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Excellent post, Susan. Thanks!
December 18th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
December 16th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
I so needed this today. I always love the Cassie posts, but this one. Oh my. Thank you.
December 18th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
Thank you, Liz. I'm glad our words and needs connected when they needed to.
( 6 comments — Leave comment )

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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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
--Bonnie Friedman

"As writers, we must be willing to feel our sadness, our anger, our terror, so we can reach in and find our sweet vulnerability that is just sitting there waiting for us to come back home."
--Nancy Slonim Aronie

"Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is."
--Anne Rice


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