Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A writer's best friend

Deadlines are good. Quotas are our friends.

Last week, I set a deadline and daily and weekly word quotas and announced it to everyone, so it'd keep me on track. Already, I'm thinking of excuses why I can't meet it this week. I'm going camping Friday through Sunday, so that means I have to write 12,000 words in four days. But I threw it out there, so I feel obligated.

So far, it's working. I wrote my 3,000 words yesterday. But today, I'm already stalling. I read other writers' blogs (here's a good one: J.A. Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing); I spent twenty minutes finding just the right picture of leaves to paste onto my blog. Become unemployed and you, too, will have the time to find just the right picture of leaves!

So this is the week I officially started my draft. It's also the week I officially started talking to a dog.

Chester is a sleek, undersized black lab with two bum hips. He loves two things in this world: his mother (as my girlfriend Amy affectionately calls herself) and green tennis balls. This love is not equal. If Amy were being savaged by a bear, and there was a ball in sight, I firmly believe Chester would not bark or run; he would calmly push the ball at Amy's (now flailing) feet and backup expectantly, waiting for her to stop playing with the bear and throw the ball already.

As the stay-at-home dad, I spend a lot of time with Chester, and he has taken quite a liking to me. Not green-tennis-ball-like, but enough that he follows me all over the apartment. When I'm writing in the office, he lays patiently at my feet, waiting for me to quit and take him to the park.

I used to talk to people all day long. That was my job. Now, alone in my office, when I feel the urge to talk, Chester is the only one there.

Sometimes Chester is sleeping and he doesn't want to talk. But he looks so peaceful and content laying there that I can't resist.

I whisper "Chester." his head jolts up, eyes expectant. Seeing that I have nothing more, he settles back down.

I whisper again, "Chester." He lifts up, flops back down.

Then I wonder if he really knows his name. I say:

"Blister." Same response.

"Plaster." Head lift, but a muted reaction.

"Molester." Same head lift, but his eyes look shameful.

"Marshmallow." Ear flip, no head action.

"Amoeba." Eyelid raise, almost imperceptible. Clearly annoyed.

"Tree." Nothing.

"Chester." Still nothing. He'll show me.

We'll see about that...

"Park." He jerks his head up.

"Ball." He jumps to his feet.

Now I've done it. I needed a break anyway.


  1. Did you try calling him "Dog"? Good post. I could almost feel the slobber on the ball.

  2. See if Chester will respond if you call him Bobo man? Great blog Brian. Very fun read. Looking forward to more.

  3. If you're not happy with writing about your current topic, you could always write another dog book, title it, "Chester and Me," and become fabulously rich and succesful. Keep up the good work.