Tips for Writers With Dogs: Pack Well, My Friends.
I disappeared from writing for a whole three days, which equals three seconds in dog years and three years in blog days. That is to say, I been a' walkin', instead of a' writin'. Denya says, "You just can't do everything." She's right. But writers/doggers, it turns out that the whole dog ownership thing is not so bad for your writing and you can probably do both, even if you have the supreme strength of will and intellectual sophistication to actually write about something besides your dog for a change. Sooooo..... this morning, rather than fret out loud about the fate of our schools next fall, I present for your reading pleasure:
How to Have a Dog and Still Write
It is possible to maintain some semblance of productivity while also owning a dog, but you must be crafty. Preparation is key.
Before Your Walk:
Stretch beforehand so you don't break something. Walking a young hound is not merely a stroll, a walk in the park, or a light jog. It is a Tough Mudder. There is a chance that two bunnies and one squirrel will be peacefully munching clover in your front yard, and as soon as the gate swings open, someone's Catahoula (possibly yours) lurches forward with Herculean strength in a semi-psychotic burst. Resist with the power of a ladies softball team playing tug of war, lest you be dragged under every day lily, hosta, and burning bush in sight. Dust yourself off, mix your metaphors, then blame the dog.
Pre-open the poop bags and leave them in your satchel. The amount of time it takes to open poop bags is directly related to the attractiveness of the non-dog-owners who are watching you when the poop happens. Oh, and poop happens.
Rename your pocketbook "your satchel." It makes you feel more prepared. Jaunty, even.
Pack antibacterial wipes and place them into your satchel. They are the best thing since sliced bread; they are the sliced bread to a loaf of Germ-X. No matter how hard you try, you will one day fail with your little green bag. The whole thing is gross. For that reason, also pack a barf bag stolen on your last international flight, which you may never take again anyway thanks to the bats in China.
Pack treats. At least that seems like a good idea. (I never do. Why bother, when I live in a tourist town that provides an endless supply of old ice cream, crushed Jimmies, and fish and chips ground into its own sidewalks?)
Bring your phone to log your ideas, but if you forget it, for GOD'S SAKE, carry a pen and paper (in your well-stocked satchel). Otherwise, you will be reduced to writing your essay notes like this, while you walk:
Let's pause for a stroll through Lindsay history.
Husband, 2004, Old State House, Boston, Mass.:
"What kind of writer doesn't bring a pen to a book signing?"
During Your Walk
Walk Alone. Or choose your partners carefully. Seek someone who explores ideas with you, not for you.
Support Local Businesses. I'm wearing the tee shirt from Bradford's, my favorite liquor store, rather than moisture-wicking Lycra like all the other people who gained 15 lbs. during the pandemic closures. I just want you to know that this temple has provenance, too.
Consider Running Instead. Then maybe you won't look so pathetic waving a check book and a green crayon while being dragged along by a lunging dog half your size.
Say Hi to Everyone. Accept the fact that not everyone will say "hi" back, even though you live on leafy, tree-lined streets with cracked cement sidewalks. Mean people still live here. (Be compassionate; they they may actually be a little afraid to talk to you. See, no one walks around with checkbooks and crayons any more.)
And finally, perhaps most important:
ONLY POOP NEAR TRASH CANS. The dog, I mean.