An excerpt from the book “Pack of Two” by Caroline Knapp ( June 1999) was the homework for discussion a few months ago at the weekly gathering of writer’s that I hangout with. I didn’t care for it. It is a story about humans and dogs, so that was a bit of a surprise. After a few weeks I decided that I should read the book, give it an honest chance and if nothing else figure out why it didn’t appeal to me. As I began reading it, I started liking it a little better and then later not so much. At times this book feels like it was a project, get a dog and write about the experiences. She constantly delves into why people love dogs by quoting many studies and other books, so plenty of research had be done. Discussion’s with many other dog people and their experiences fill about another third. Perhaps a book full of trying to understand the bond with people and dogs is too much, maybe it is as simple we trust the love of a dog because we know they won’t drop it and walk away. Could it be that learning to write Memoir has (finally) made me want to see more scenes and less telling? Am I too independent to be concerned with the opinions of other’s as to why I love my dog? Despite not really liking the book – I read it anyway (a first).
Will this experience make me a better writer – time will tell.
Why do people carry the same books with them?
Usually Bibles or other religious books, I assume, but why? Is it to read, or reread when time is theirs to spare? Could it be kept nearby so they can make notes on the pages when something comes to mind? Perhaps to have it on hand to share with others, if so moved. Maybe it is simply for comfort. I’m not sure why and I’d never really thought about it, until Nissa asked me “Do you think your binder is a Security Blanket?”
I replied (after a day of contemplation) “Perhaps… It is a security blanket, but I think it’s more a need to complete it (with no rush nor deadline). If I stop, it may never be restarted and remain unfinished. The story is too important, at least to me (besides the time invested) and deserves to be written to some level of completion”.
This question and contemplation all came about because; from the moment that I began writing about Sarrah I kept a black pleather binder with me, at all times. This ‘manuscript’ evolved with daily handwritten words, as they came to me. Mainly I retyped it in the early morning hours, those when Sarrah would have been by my side, while my dragon waited and before the day cluttered my mind. Then I updated it onto printed pages. In the quiet, alone times often I just read and reread portions of my writings, reliving them in my mind. Sometimes I simply kept it open to a picture.
I am lucky that I started writing about Sarrah when I did, otherwise I may have never done it.
Equally, that it grew enough momentum to help perpetuate itself.
I always wanted the story to progress… but did not really want it to conclude.