I chose my blog’s tag cloud (muse splash) as a prompt for the latest writing 101 assignment. Conjunctions have been provided to protect the innocent and their sanity. See how many tags you can find, then turn your computer upside down to discover how many I employed. (Or just glance to the right to see if you found them all).
A Life Shared.
We were as random a romance as Limbaugh and Obama, but that didn’t keep us from floating down life together, like Autumn leaves on the Little Spokane River. We portaged our dreams from Spokane to The Netherlands to Argentina to Brazil to Portugal to South Africa to San Francisco to Germany to France to Seattle to Italy to Chile to Costa Rica to Snoqualmie Falls to Mt. Olympus to Mt. Spokane.
The World Cup was our oyster.
We played football (soccer) like Chelsea and debated politics like Congress. Travel was our photography, nature was our prose. We slept on beaches like turtles and watched the Perseids drop into the ocean. We hiked through history in the EWU libraries and carved our fiction like October pumpkins.
Autism thieved our hope. In the democracy of our fears, we hid from holidays like dogs hide from fireworks.
Avalon retrieved our humor. She chased waterfowl through rivers and wetlands like a Christmas puppy deep in the snow. She embedded herself in our lives like taxes and the national debt in a tea party speech.
Then we rediscovered books and characters, Spain and Hemingway. We attended Get Lit! and NaNoWriMo, gulping down writing like coffee.
And even as smoke fills the panorama of our lives, we still hold hands while watching the meteors fall into the sea.
Writing and not writing, taking a break from typing, not from observing.
Our day nine assignment for Writing 101 is to create a post about what we do when we are not writing. I consider these “breaks” to be a separation from the keyboard, but not a complete divorce from the process of writing. All the inputs for written pieces are gathered as we live our lives.
Hemingway was very adamant about not writing when you were done for the day. Put it away. Recharge for the next go around. I agree with that sentiment. Hemingway likened this act to allowing a well to fill back up with water after being emptied. The image that works for me is a snow cornice hanging on an alpine cliff in a blizzard. It builds until the next time I’m typing, ice piling up, moaning, creaking, cracking, but holding on, until I re-open that document file, then crash! It all comes flowing out.
Putting writing aside serves two purposes. One is the aforementioned recharging of the creative batteries. But the other, observation, is just as important. Stepping away from the piece you are working on allows you to observe the world around you. When I’m involved in anthropocentric activities, I never miss the opportunity to people watch. I gather mannerisms, pick up dialogue, remember names.
Yes, I can be a real nosy bastard.
But even more enjoyable for me is getting away from people. My free time is often spent on the trail with my four-pawed friend and companion, Avalon. She loves water and so our adventures usually involve a lake or river. Time in the backcountry also presents unique opportunities for observation and gleaning new settings.
No matter how you spend it, time away from writing can be as important as the writing itself.
Anyone that meets our flat-coated retriever (a Newfoundland-lab mix) Avalon, quickly realizes their meeting serves only one mission, Lonnie’s entertainment. In fact, all of creation was apparently zapped into existence for Lonnie to play with. Every item dropped on the floor is there for her to chew. Every meal is prepared for her to taste, every cat is there for her to chase and every guest is invited over solely for the purpose of petting and praising her.
And it doesn’t stop there. On walks, she sniffs every garbage can, smells every mailbox and snuffles every animal track. I won’t abuse you with what she thinks is appropriate when encountering deer scat.
But Avalon’s princess-like qualities radiate most when we she goes for a ride to Starbucks.
Lonnie's fan base.
As we approach the drive-through, her ears adjust, her rump squats and, before the window even finishes lowering, her nose pokes out like a spy-hopping orca, whiskers and nostrils twitching. She never considers that the barista is displaying great charity by offering her a dog biscuit. This must be the sole purpose for our arrival. What other impetus could there be? Certainly not the “treat” I’m being handed with a straw and sleeve (although she certainly wouldn’t mind chewing on that lovely smelling cup when we get home).
I know these occurrences are familiar to most dog lovers, but what I find so endearing in Lonnie’s actions is her attitude. The look on her face tells everyone, “It’s my world, just be thankful you’re in it.”
On March 19th I will be celebrating two birthdays. My mother will turn 82 that day and Avalon, my Flat-coated Retriever (a breed derived from Newfoundlands and Labradors – yes, she’s big and strong), will celebrate her first birthday. I didn’t think my mom would let me take pictures of her playing with a frisbee, chewing on a fence or digging a hole in the back yard, so I published pictures of Lonnie doing those activities instead.