Poem #11: Meet Baby the Dog (Wolf)!

baby1I’ve written about the cats in our life, Kiki and Little Puss, along with the two littlest dogs, Buster and Finn. Today it’s time the shyest of them had her moment in the sun. Meet Baby, the husky-shepherd mix (pictured to the left) rescued by Johnpaul years ago.

Want to read it? Scroll down in the alphabetical list for Day #11 to read “Somnambulant Dog.”

If you love poetry, I hope you’ll consider supporting a poet this month.  Please do read my work (and those of the other poets) if you can, and consider supporting me with a small donation. Supportive comments on this blog are also very welcome because they inspire me to keep going!

Many, many thanks to all of you have contributed to the cause so far — either through a monetary donation or moral support, which are equally valuable.

Please know that your contributions are going to a great cause. Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, and for 17 years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work.


Where Do You Write?


Melville wrote from a bedroom in his Arrowhead home in Pittsfield, MA.

Where do you write? It’s a question that emerges frequently among writers. Next to the imagination, our own personal space is often the most sacred thing we have.

And the answer varies tremendously. Like Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor wrote from a desk in her bedroom. And although the Mount included a sumptuous library, Edith Wharton wrote from bed, with her little dogs curled up at her feet!

The ultimate introvert, Nathaniel Hawthorne, wrote standing up from a podium in front of a blank wall, eschewing the distractions of the outside world. And although Carl Sandburg’s family ceded a front room with an expansive window to him at Connemara, he, too, preferred a smaller interior room at a desk turned away from the window.

As for me, I have tried numerous locations, including a little study in the front of the house, surrounded by the books of my favorite authors. As you can see from the picture below, however, Huckleberry Finn quickly appropriated this space for his own watch tower. And in spite of his literary name, he and I have very different job descriptions.

finnatwindowdog/dôɡ/: a domesticated carnivorous mammal that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, and a barking, howling, or whining voice. It is widely kept as a pet or for work or field sports, unless that work includes writing.

writer/rahy-ter: 1. a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist. 2) Unlike you are Edith Wharton, a writer’s work space rarely includes a dog.

The same barking and whining that makes our dogs so charming does often, regrettably, interfere with the reflection needed to write. In spite of this fact, many a writer owned a dog (Dickinson, Lord Byron, and Wharton, to name just a few) and these canine friends enrich our lives tremendously. But that is the subject of another post, I am sure.

As for me, I prefer to write at our kitchen table overlooking a north window. Being a bit of a literary hoarder, I find it useful to have plenty of space to spread out notes, reference books, index cards, and the like. I write primarily from my laptop, and I appreciate the occasional glance at the natural world, and the little dark-eyed junco skittering across the fall leaves.

From where I’m sitting, I can hear the comforting hum of the dishwasher or clothes dryer, which reminds me that the “other” work of the day is nearly done. And of course, because writing requires much brain power and therefore frequent sustenance, being close to the pantry is always a good thing.

In addition to having a semi-permanent writing space, I also carry a little notebook wherever I go so that I can scribble notes as the spirit moves me. I’m currently consolidating all of these notebooks, cards, etc., into one bigger notebook so that I can more easily draw connections among assorted scribblings.

What about you? Where do you write?

finn at my feet

Despite our different job descriptions, we always manage to end up in the same space, however.



Happy Mutts Day!

Today, in honor of Shorty McMullen, the irascible mutt who helps save the day in Naked and Hungry and Born Again, Dead Again, we celebrate a day just for the non-pedigreed dogs of the world. And it’s about time. July 31 is NOT the day for your impeccable pekingese or Maltese. It’s not a day for your regal Afghan hound  or even the Presidential pooch, Bo the Portuguese water dog. It is not a day for dogs named Fifi or Duke.

Today is a day for all those dogs named Lucky, Sooner, or Bubba. It’s for those dogs with a DNA profile as random as the seashells that wash up on the beach. No one know for sure, but Shorty may have some German Shepherd, a splash of Dalmatian and even a smattering of Chihuahua in his genetic profile. Regardless, he’s undeniably a special dog. At times, he’s grumpy and willful. He’s also naughty and prone to outright disobedience. But he seems to have a sixth sense for when his “owner” (and I use this term most loosely) needs him the most. So we have to ask…are our mutts as random as we think?

There’s plenty of mayhem ahead in Born Again, Dead Again and to be sure, Shorty will be right back in the thick of things. He’s also up to plenty of mischief himself, involving the nice girl next door, a beautiful poodle named Miss Angelique!

If you have a mutt or know a mutt, take a few moments to scratch his ears or to toss him a treat. Tell her how grateful you are that she is in the world. And remind yourself that what makes all dogs so special is the fact that they don’t care where we came from; they just love us for who we are.