Why do I keep trying to understand the list of many things that I do not. I carry around a fifty-one year old scroll of weathered paper inked with a variety of unknowns. Some once understood – now not. Many new, others ever-changing. The list grows…
If “Life is what happens when you are making other plans” – why plan
Why do traits that attract – become reasons to leave
How is walking in rain therapy to some – yet loathed by many
How does a special animal change a person’s life – what do you do when they go
Why does pain remain when the damage is long gone
How do butterflies know to show up when you need them
If writing can be an antidote for Depression – can it help with Understanding
Destiny, Obligation, Calling (words that are larger than life) – can you really see them coming
Herman Hesse wrote, “I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
Was there an event that opened his eyes to this realization or is it the wisdom of a tired traveler? When is it okay to let go of questions and simply embrace?
The surprises never end. Perhaps it’d be healthier to lean back: let the bad be curses and the good magic.
As always I learned while enjoying my day at the “Write to Understand” writing workshop on December 10th 2016.
Matt Love lives and teaches in Astoria, Oregon.
Born December 8, 1965 in Jamestown, North Dakota the only child of Esther and Stan Goffe. Raised in Enumclaw, Washington by schoolteacher parents gave a solid start – blending mid-west values with small town growth.
Being a bit of a traveller and seeker it was often easier to question than accept.
Surviving a taste for adrenaline and gravitational pull from the wilder side, eventually settling down in the Seattle area.
Learning about the gifts of life from daughter Heather and her journey.
Sharing eclectic experiences with several great friends, many special acquaintances and a few wild characters.
Enjoying the path with a special dog proved to be life changing.
Life was rich.
I liked the idea of becoming a kind of Renaissance Man.
Hopefully I achieved this on some level, before I left.
“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.