Friday, January 2, 2009

Dog Books

There is a phenomenon trotting across the landscape of publishing, and it is the dog-book. (I blogged about this in my first post in December on my other blog.) Possibly the reason for so many in one year is the phenomenal success of Marley and Me.

Whatever the cause, it has emboldened me to try short fiction from the point of view of a dog. This is an illuminating mind-meld. We all can immediately imagine the amount of interest a dog has in food or the pleasures of chasing prey. But what then?

Dogs sleep a lot, and they dream. What do they dream of?

If ever you really study a dog, you will see all sorts of expressions cross his or her face. I think anxiety of one kind or another is fairly frequent. Just think of it--here's this wonderful hunting machine, capable of high intelligence as it interacts with its world, an individual, adult creature, and now it exists at the whim of an owner. An owner it didn't ask for, but still manages somehow to love depite the owner's necessary failings.

The owner is leaving. Will she return? The day is growing dark. Will they remember to feed me? I am thirsty and the toilets are closed (or perhaps the dog hasn't learned the availability of the eternal spring). I am a creature that NEEDS to smell many things, and I am confined to a closed house or apartment for endless hours. When will they take me for a walk? Well, you get the drift.

Love is clearly one of those emotions a dog feels, though. We were at a neighbor's house on New Year's Eve and one of the dogs--who has visited us several times on his wanderings around the neighborhood--spent much of the evening lying at, and sometimes on, my feet. He likes me, and I have no idea why.

Has that ever happened to you?

I don't know whether a story will coalesce out of my imaginings, but the seven pages I've written so far are the first fiction I've felt like writing for a couple of months. So, viva!


Christina Awesome said...

Hi! I just wanted to talk to you about something kind of off topic. I found you through your husband, and I've been reading his Chronicle columns for years, and now his blog too. But what I wanted to talk to you about was a kind of career path. I've been in college a few years now and am finally able to declare my major in English. I've also decided that now is the time to move away from my job at Starbucks and start doing something that actually pertains to what I want to do, which is writing, publishing, editing and maybe teaching. Any words on the subject?

willow said...

Aww, he's so handsome and reminds me so much of my dear Ralphy, went to doggy heaven last year.

PJ's talking2.... said...

You're on the right track... I think. While you're gone, thinking she's bored, thristy, maybe hungry, she's probably been in the fridge, drank a cool one, layed on the bed, watched some videos and called a friend or two... We are talking about the dog aren't we? ~PJ

aliceinparis said...

So true, I come from a family of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, our last, Sequoia passed away 2 years ago.
Dogs are truly trusting and golden creatures.
Dean Koontz wrote a great book years ago about an incredibly intelligent dog who could communicate. A very entertaining and spooky read.

Cheers, Shelagh

Bdogs said...

Oh, thanks Shelagh! Will check it out. Have you read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle?