“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx
Wiseassery aside, it’s long been accepted that a dog is indeed humanity’s best friend. The reasons for that are many and symbiotic. However, after many months of serious study on the question, I will posit to you that a dog is not the WRITER’S best friend.
Look, I love my dog. You all know I love my dog. But she does not understand that she is not the center of my world ALL the time, the way I am (mostly) hers. She especially does not understand the appeal of the small box on my desk (or lap) that neither sounds nor smells particularly interesting. And so, she will sprawl at my feet and sigh soulfully, or wag her tail piteously, or – if neither of those attempts work – will bring me a toy (repeatedly) and drop it on my feet. And if none of that works, she will reach up and – gently – take my wrist in her mouth, as though to say, “mother, please stop typing and PLAY with me, please.”
Rinse and repeat, repeatedly.
It’s not her fault. She can’t read, after all. She has no idea what I’m doing, or that it’s being done to continue to afford her (obscenely expensive) food and dental treats and vet visits, etc etc. She doesn’t understand that when I’m snarling at the page, or swearing at the balky plot, I’m…well, mostly having a good time. Or maybe she does understand, and is offended she’s not included.
I should get up and play with her. Or take her for a walk. Or rub her belly.
And all those things are good things, and remind me to take a break and stretch. But only occasionally, dog. Momma’s got a deadline to hit. Curl up where it’s warm and take a nap, please. Convince me to stay put, as though my moving from this seat would be Worst Thing Ever.
… so yeah, when inside of a book, a writer’s best friend is a CAT.
Hope all USAians reading this had a lovely Thanksgiving!
2 thoughts on “Outside of a Book….”
Since I do not write at a desk, Emily (when younger and more flexible) would simply climb onto the couch and curl up next to me and siphon off all the warmth in the room for herself. She seemed to think this was an aid to the creative process. But even then, around Walk Time she would begin to be restive and start sighing heavily. No one sighs like a “neglected” dog.
Max is figuring out being a writer’s dog. She’s young yet. Perhaps she can take lessons in CAT? No, forget I said anything.
Cats indeed cause little trouble much of the day, in part because they like to nap. However, I do have a memory of my cat Sam, before he was even mine, jumping on the keyboard of the friend’s computer I was using and landing on “escape,” which, on that early model, made all my text disappear. Fortunately, it was not gone for good. But young cats and even some of years do like to prowl around desktops and find keyboards entertaining.
And in the morning, when all I really want to do is sit down with my coffee and computer to contemplate the day and perhaps write a few words, I am constantly called upon to (a) keep one cat from eating the other’s food (especially when the other’s food has meds in it) and (b) provide more food. This is usually accompanied by some necessary attention to the cat box, since both of our cats are getting on in years and have developed bad toilet habits. Until the morning drama is settled and the cats have retreated to their favorite nap spots, I am at the whim of cats.
Which is to say that cats are not necessarily a role model for writer’s pet, either.