Like Toy Moses, I think the hours just before dawn are the best time of the day. The world is so quiet that small sounds are enormous. Lucy -- a black lab who showed up here hungry a few months ago -- is noisily lapping from an inverted, thirty year old Tupperware cake cover that serves as a water bowl. Venus, an elderly Basset Hound, is sleeping so soundly that her deep, steady breathing can be heard across the room. And Little Old Man (a Beagle – so old he creaks) is apparently dreaming of running, probably in the pasture. His legs are fidgeting rhythmically, tapping the floor in cadence.
Those aren’t all the dogs. We rescue, so we have a passel. The rest are lying about on the floor, not making a sound. (That's Athena, a ridgeback-something mix, pictured above.) And here I am in all this quiet, with my coffee and my thoughts and a post to write. My first on this blog. I’ve started a couple of other blogs, and abandoned them the way some folks dump dogs near our gate. “I can’t feed him,” those people say, when I catch them at it. And I keep the castaways until I can find a home for them. Sometimes, that means forever. I turn out keeping the homely ones, the pitiful cases, the ones nobody is ever going to want. But y’know what? I feed their bellies, they feed my soul.
Those other blogs were things I couldn’t feed, and they’re out there somewhere. Like the dog dumpers, I try not to feel guilty. I tell myself that I’ll take care of this one properly. I’ll love it and nurture it and try to feed it on time.
Of course, that’s the frightening thing. Feeding it means writing for immediate consumption.
When I write a piece of fiction, I labor over it and polish it. I wake up in the middle of the night knowing a change I must make, and I’m up. Out of bed. Hunched over the keyboard. Nurturing. But this. This thing. It’s a different kind of animal. This one scares crap out of me.
It’s about me, not some fictional character. This is my life I’m sharing. My day-to-day. My feelings.
I tell myself I’m good with animals. Just reach out. Don’t flinch. Nothing to be afraid of. Why should this be different?
So here we go. Let’s do this. I’ll offer my thoughts and hope they find a home with you.