Tuesday, May 1, 2018

shop Dogs and Someone Else’s Story

Yesterday I left home weighted down by a story not my own. I’m on my final week of school visits for the year, and while I love talking to students this particular week is hard on me, mostly because of things that are not my story to tell but make me feel I should be at home.

I flew to Nashville and went to Parnassus Books, which is honestly one of the places other than my home that I feel most at home in the world. It’s a fantastic bookstore, exemplary in nearly every way, but it’s also the first bookstore where I can just barge into the back office and be greeted with, “Yay! You’re back!” My husband didn’t quite understand why I went straight to the bookstore from the airport yesterday, instead of checking into my hotel or shopping or something. But I needed to discuss that evening’s presentation, with excellent authors and friends Linda Williams Jackson and Andrew Maraniss. I need to scout the ARCs. (Snagged a copy of Naomi Novik’s latest!) I needed to look at all the books. I needed to discuss the partnership between Parnassus and the Appalachian Literacy Initiative. And, most crucially for my mood yesterday, I needed to commune with the shop dogs.

I’ve been without a dog since January. It’s been difficult; one of the negative side effects to over-packing my spring schedule (though not the only one) is that there has not been a good time to get a new dog. In fairness to said hypothetical dog, I would need to be in its life for more than five days without leaving for a week. .But the Shop Dogs of Parnassus are always good for a cuddle.

Sadly, that was all I got. The dogs on duty were Frankie and Bear. Frankie is lovely, polite, understands her role as a shop dog and graciously permits me to cuddle her all I wish. But it doesn’t
move her. She has people, and I’m not one of them.


Bear is elderly and stiff. He patrols the shop with dignity. One does not take liberties with Bear. He would permit it, but one would sense the imposition.

I’d really been hoping for Lewis, the hyper enthusiastic floof who’s perfected giving complete strangers full body hugs. Or Mary Todd Lincoln, the long-haired dachshund with dignity to match her name, with whom I have an affectionate long-standing relationship. Or Sparky. Sparky just seems to really like me.

At any rate, I had a lovely evening, with dogs and friends, children and writers. This morning I’ve got a late call at the hotel, so I woke, breakfasted, worked out, got dressed, got ready to go,  sat down and wrote this blog. Next I’ll put on the earrings my girlfriends Tracy, Meg, and Diane gave me, put on my “love mercy” necklace, and go out to brave the world. Xoxo xoxo