dogs · On Writing

Saluting Dawn

Downward dog greets day

Barking, running, then resting

Let sleeping dog nap


As much as I adore dogs, this post is not about dogs. It is, however, about a valuable lesson one I learned from my in-house life coach, known as my dog companion.

For several weeks, I’ve been religiously using my SELF journal. Many, many daunting challenges have been faced, borne, and accomplished. Hydra-like, once these formerly scary obstacles are vanguished, fresh hordes clamor, shove their way in the door.

That is the joy. That is the wonder. That is also why I am scratching my sage dog’s back in gratitude.

I was scribbling fast and furious during a rich, marvelous Reedsy webinar about revisions and editing. Suddenly, the line went dead and there was no more intelligent chatter and tight, cogent advice (much of it I’d heard before, but for some reason finally understood yesterday).

My dog snored behind me in his usual place. He didn’t budge when I wrenched my chair back from the desk to get a cup of coffee and get into what was next on the agenda.

What was next was rubbing his head. In his sleep, he rolled over for a belly rub. Still asleep, he arched his back to deepen the joyous massage.

Then, unbidden, came the solution to a vexing problem. A mean guy in my work in progress revealed what he is doing and why — and it is far more devious and underhanded, diabolical and brilliant, than anything I could have made up on my own. He is in a class of his own, the assassin who convinces you that you’re the one who stabbed yourself in the back and he’s the hero helping you remove it until your hands slip…

Even in his slumbering pleasure, my dog inspires creation, that necessary blank slate for ideas to bloom. Perhaps my work that morning, the webinar, and reading helped to call forward my happy character/plot answers, but I think it’s rubbing my sleeping dog’s back.

He agrees.


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