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  • July 13th, 2010 | 10:00 AM
Of Dogs and Writing - You Get What You Give

Getting a new dog is like getting anything brand-new. You bring it home and for a while --- days, weeks, months --- it becomes your entire world. Such was the case with Cassie. When we first brought her home her separation anxiety was so bad that she would follow me into the bathroom, refusing to wait on the other side of the door. And of course there were the classes we took and the initial obedience training that meant focused time working together each day.

But time marches on and suddenly I look at Cassie and see not a nervous rescue dog. Not a puppy or a doggy teenager but a grown-up dog who is secure because she knows we love her and she has a forever home. We can leave her loose in the house while we are gone without worries about coming home to find accidents or something chewed up that we wished we had put out of her reach. It's nice having this new and more mature relationship with her. Oh, we still play the back and forth game to open the doors when she rings the bell but life is a bit calmer because she is less needy.

Or is she? Just because she's not in our face begging for attention doesn't mean she isn't needy. When the handyman was here working I ran Cassie through her tricks and she hesitated at a few of them. I tried to remember the last time I worked on them with her but couldn't. If I want her to be at the top of her game I can't just assume that she will remember (or be inclined) to perform tricks she learned 2 years ago but hasn't been asked to do in months. I need to revisit them regularly. Daily, even just for a few minutes, is all it takes.

Isn't it the same thing with writing? We've written before so we assume that we can do it again. And we can. But if we aren't paying attention to our writing self on a daily basis we are going to have to expect to be a little rusty each time we sit back down at the computer.

I'm putting playtime with Cassie back on my to-do list. Right after I take a look at my work-in-progress.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 12 comments — Leave comment )
July 13th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
I love your Dogs and Writing posts.

And I so agree about the paying attention part (both to the dogs in our lives and our writing). I'm trying hard to get back into a routine of writing - something that was like breathing to me back when I lived in NY. It's been too long and I'm out of practice.
July 14th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC)
Thanks for the support on these doggy posts. I'm out of practice too and am trying to find my way back to it.
July 13th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
You are so right about both. The pets in our lives (I have a needy cat) must be nurtured no matter their age. Our stories, too must be treated tenderly, for they are after all our babies. Nice post. :)
July 14th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC)
Thank you. We all need a little nurtured, that's for sure.
July 13th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
You know how much I love these!! XOXO to Cassie!
July 14th, 2010 06:34 am (UTC)
Thanks, Laura! I REALLY need to figure out how to put them into a book. Really.
July 14th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
Had a nice comment all typed up; lost the connection. Okay, briefly:
Love the dog. Love your posts about dogs and writing. Love your posts.
You are sooo right. And sometimes those rules apply to people too.
I ache when I can't write for more than a day or two. I getcha.
July 14th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC)
Glad the post connected with you. I haven't forgotten your poem request, really, but life went a bit wonky on me for a time.
July 14th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
What a terrific, thoughtful, inspiring post. Thanks for this, Susan!
July 14th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC)
Thank you, Kelly. I appreciate the pats on the back.
July 14th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
One of the best analogies to why we need to write daily that I've ever come across. You're absolutely right, and I'll work with my setter and my writing more diligently from here on!
July 14th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
Thank you, Lia.

You have a setter? I used to have one. Couldn't keep her in the yard but boy was she a lover.
( 12 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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