clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, March 20, 2014

She Wore a Fur Coat to Bed

At left, a consulting writer in his natural place: co-pilot. [ Photo Jonatan De Geest].

Writing? You need help. A dog is best.

I don't have such a lovely picture as above of Louis because I drive a smallish car now and am driving. My co-pilot does ride beside me but he doesn't sit well for pictures in or out of the car.

This is a lovely beagle.

A dog helps you write. 

How? Those long morning walks? Perfect for mulling over the problems of plot or character. Tumbling a little in the late evening? You're going to be interrupted by the nuzzle of necessity and be forced to resolve an issue with haste.

Awkward passage? You can read it aloud to the dog - who does indeed look at you with contemplation - and not feel the idiot for reading aloud in an empty room. It's good for the self-esteem. ( The dog, in contemplation, is listening for the works "biscuit" or "walkies" but that's no real matter for our consideration tonight. Illusion will do...)

Best of all, the dog cannot offer suggestion and criticism unlike every other human on the planet.

When it is going well, you won't notice the snoring beast beneath your desk. When it is going poorly, the occasional thump of a tail or a foot nuzzle will convince you that it is all a matter of perspective.

John Le Carre famously acquired a long stretch of cliff in Cornwall upon which to walk. I like to think he does so with a hound or two.

Your writing is strongly influenced by your attitude and outlook. Having a dog as a writer improves one and tempers the other.

Having a cat does the inverse for me.

You can pick either, but you need a consultant on staff who wears a fur coat to bed.

Your writing will be the better for it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Well, now, Jack, I'd say that the cat is a good *critic*, though. I (sadly) have the habit of talking to myself when at home alone (have convinced myself I'm talking to the dog, who *does* seem fascinated by my stories). The cat looks at me as if to say, "You're not going to throw *that* crap at the world, are you?" A nice balance. :)

jack welling said...

Our cats are rather disgusted by my efforts, too.

"More rapid random movement" is the common complaint.