Writing is rarely a team sport but …

January 26, 2009 § 12 Comments

So there you are at the desk. You’ve finally nailed yourself to your seat, turned off everything in the house that rings, buzzes, vibrates, dings, chirps, chirrups or beeps, and you are writing, or, about to.

It’s so quiet. It’s sort of lonely but you can’t complain. Writing is not exactly a team sport and you just have to dip into it and get going. If only, though …

And then you look down. What is that? You’re suddenly aware of a warm spot on your ankle, a steamy kind of warmth. And there’s your dog (or cat.) Asleep. With his nose not even an inch from your bare foot. Trusting that you will be in that chair for more than a minute, he’s totally conked out, and the little in-outs of his breathing help to hold you there, in your seat. Oh, partly because he’s cute. But overall, because he wants, in his dream time, to be near you, to keep track of where you are.

He can give the cold shoulder better than any Brit, he has perfected it, actually, and will sometimes hop right out of your reach. But he’s sleep-dreaming now, miles away and over the moors, leaping after rabbits and ramming about with a pack of his beagle-y peers. His lips twitch. His ears wiggle. He sleeps and keeps running. 

Minutes ago, he was in full sun but it’s moving across the room. If he wakes, or opens one eye and notices, or if he moves a little and feels a chill, he’ll push himself forward into the sunlight. No, he won’t get up; he’ll just scoot with his hind legs ’til he’s back in the warm.  Then he’ll look up to see if I’m still in the chair, working quietly and not planning to turn on the vacuum cleaner or anything else that will have him hysterical on a sunny afternoon. And just like that, he’ll go right back to softsnoring.

Pets are good great for writers. Their animal vocabulary is limited to the only thing a writer needs:  love and constant quiet support. 

Besides pen and paper then, a writer needs a pet.


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§ 12 Responses to Writing is rarely a team sport but …

  • Writing definitely needs silence! Go forth and do! Keep on writing! Keep focused! Keep positive!


  • shoreacres says:

    Your post just made me cry. I’m going to go find Dixie and give her some extra pats.

  • anno says:

    Beautiful post. And there’s only one change I’d make: Everyone needs a pet.

  • jeanie says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The Gypsy keeps me laughing, cheerful, enchanted, smiling. And when the soul is calm, the creativity flows — well, flows better, at least!

  • qugrainne says:

    Oh, you are writing like mad! I can’t keep up with it. How wonderful!!
    I know I depend on the unconditional love from the pup. I can’t write a single bad word as far as she is concerned.
    Isn’t it amazing, how they just want to be near you – it’s all they ask for (other than the occasionally walk or cookie).

  • oh says:

    Ceylan! Thanks for stopping by and do come again!
    Shoreacres – oh boy, that Dixie will be thanking my beagle now; anything for some extra pats, eh?
    Anno – You’re right. Everyone needs a pet; that “exchange” between pets and humans is some sort of magic.
    Jeanie – Doesn’t the Gypsy love having his picture taken? They add so much to our lives and pictures can really capture that sometimes.
    Q – Writing, yes. Housekeeping, um, not so much. As for your house, it must be so much fun with Zoe-the-pup! And now you have her as yet another fan!!!

  • Kim L says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I have learned to check near my feet when I get up after a long writing session so as to not disrupt my companion.

    Sometimes my dog likes to take a more active role in my writing and curl up in my lap on top of my laptop. This is not the best plan, but its so darn cute.

  • ds says:

    How true! Though in my case, it’s the cat who will deign (occasionally) to sit on my lap and purr away–so long as I stroke her. Typing with one hand? Messy!
    Even now she is on the other side of the room curled into sleep. But I know that as soon as I stand, she’ll be right there, meowing: Play with me?? Play with me NOWWW….

  • oh says:

    Kim – love the “active role” your pet takes! (I am pondering a lapsize pup but the BigDog and the Beagle might complain!)

    DS – These pets are so good for us and yours talks! pretty darn sweet. And it’s good; they get us up and moving around … and away from the call of the keyboard!

  • shoreacres says:

    Dixie sends her regards & thanks for your post. When I read it, I looked at her just sitting there, looking at me, and realized as I’ve been writing more and spending more time caring for mom, she’s been the one more neglected.

    So. We now have a new “permission granted”. She’s not a kitty who climbs, happy to be in her chair or on the bed. But now I’m allowing her on the computer desk. She jumps on to the keyboard shelf, nuzzles the monitor and then daintily picks her way to the empty spot I made on the desk. She doesn’t stay long – just long enough for an ear rub and a few purrs. But we both like it!

  • oh says:

    Ah, Dixie, the power of the purr! Next thing you know, she’ll be writing her own poetry. Doesn’t it make it easier to sit still and write when she’s right there by the laptop, though?

  • Becca says:

    Absolutely true – my two are lying at my feet as I read this 🙂 They are my constant and true companions. And they much prefer my writing practice to my piano practice – apparently they aren’t music lovers!

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