“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” — Anais Nin
I started writing about Life with my dog Sarrah a few months after she was gone.
It just happened, I never set out to write anything nor get this involved with it, but here I am. As if life cracked me open and the words just started coming out. I began writing daily for an hour or two, sometimes all day and even a few marathon weekends with little time for food or sleep, I did this for about a year.
I set my pen down the day that I learned people in the present run out of time for those who live in the past.
I went from keeping my binder with me at all times to leaving it on the coffee table.
Instead of writing daily, I maybe read it a little every other week and tweaked anything that I stumbled on. This went on for almost a year.
One day I decided to pick it back up and work through it. I made some “Draft Copies” and gave them to a few friends and family, noting that it was far from finished. I wanted to give it, to give Sarrah, some kind of life and protect the story from being lost.
Having never read Memoir I began attending writing conferences, seminars and classes a year ago. Learning to take my story apart, reworking it for Show not Tell is easier said than done, seems especially for me.
I understand that in the paper-thin chance this story of a Special Dog and an Old Boy ever becomes more than evolving pages in a weathered binder on my coffee table (and a bit on a blog) it will be run through normalizing software to Scrub out my Bad Habits, over-polish punctuation and trim off the rough edges… somehow making it no longer feel like it’s mine.
Perhaps what I’m writing is simply a record to be read aloud to an older version of me, staring out a window, trying to remember a life.
Hardly any Focus
Breathing seems Difficult
Oddly the mind makes Time seem slower…
while trying to Absorb the Surreal
Feels like my Heart no longer fits in my chest
as if somehow Bigger, but actually probably Smaller, having another piece …Broken off
an all too familiar Mental Time-Out Torture Chamber
The Monster we Simply call Loss is Beating me again
* * *
Cheers to you John Kelly
* * *
I heard that John gave someone the gift of sight. How awesome is that?!
Like most dogs, Sarrah had a way with cats. I don’t think she would actually hurt one, but these furry creatures intrigued her and she delighted in seeing them run.
Tux and Simon never wanted anything to do with Sarrah. Tux simply disappeared when Sarrah was outside; Simon on the other hand would frequently swipe at her through gaps in the fence and occasionally sit on top of it, to taunt her. They never bonded and never shared the same space at the same time. Though they did share the same house and people, they never really lived together. After they had gone, Sarrah settled into the role as our only pet.
Sarrah’s favorite trick for dealing with cats that crossed paths with her while we were out walking was a quick lunge and two to three quick pepper steps, which usually sent any cat running…. Great fun! She always had a wide smile when watching a cat in flight, and in turn a puzzled look for the rare one tough enough to stay, crouch and Hiss. Through the eyes of a cat, Sarrah was incorrigible.
When Sarrah was about ten years old a coworker of Nissa’s was adopted by a stray cat, and in turn ended up with a batch of genetic soup kittens, born May Twenty Eighth, Two Thousand Eight. After some discussion we adopted two of these at least fifty percent feral, one third crazy, fearless kittens; a black male and a grey female each with faint ghost tiger stripes and a few random white chest spots. Nissa named them after the Egyptian Gods, Rah and Isis. Sarrah was beyond excited and very curious when these little ‘hair balls’ came home, fortunately for them being of wild origin gave them inherent coping skills for excessive sniffing and occasional chasing. Initially Sarrah was amazed with the clumsy little kittens. She acted like she had never seen anything like them before. Sarrah displayed an intense curiosity and fixated on them, under closely guarded supervision. She made no seriously aggressive moves toward the kittens, just a constant intense observation of these mini versions of the enemy.
Sarrah had an insatiable desire to sniff them; it seemed that she drew energy from their essence of new life.
Another of Matt’s prompts that day – was to use different blue crayons and draw a body of water resembling self.
My crude picture was a side view of a river meeting the ocean (I was thinking about the mouth of the Columbia River colliding with the Pacific Ocean between Washington and Oregon).
– Then name it
I came up with “Change of Flow”
– The next step was to write some thoughts about our sketch.
I am at a point in my life where, like the mouth of a river meeting the ocean, flow has changed.
No longer going in a predictable direction, now part of a more random, changing… Freedom.
The largely wilder side of uncertainty is both calming and stressful, at the same time.
This change of flow is unique in its position of looking into the future, while looking backward.
The gravitational nature of this place in uncontrolled.
– Next we were to go back and underline the top three words.
– Then write a sentence summarizing our thoughts.
“I am at a point in my life where, like the mouth of a river meeting the ocean… Flow has Changed”