Thursday, June 14, 2018

Whose Idea Was This Puppy?

I haven't been writing much in the past few weeks, and it's making me insane. I get really cranky if I don't write on a regular basis--the months I suffered from major depression and couldn't write were incredibly scary for me on that basis alone. What if I could never write again?

Today my mental health is quite good, except for the transient crabbiness. I spent last week making new good friends with a couple we were hosting from Scotland. (Yes, we spent a complete week hosting total strangers, in our home, and it was a blast. It's not the first time we've done something like that. It's always ended well.) We were up in our mountain house, and just before the Sinclairs arrived I got a long editorial letter from my editor about my Egypt book, which was perfect--if you can, you need to let editorial letters marinate a few days. I mulled. I didn't write.

The editorial letter was comprehensive and fair. My husband, who had been very happy for me when I finished the draft and joyfully declared that it was a Book, was a little flabbergasted by the amount of work still left to do. There's a whole part of the setting that hasn't been adequately addressed, a few characters that drop out halfway through the book, some motivational issues--a lot of work. My husband said, "Are you okay?" and I said, "Oh, honey, I already knew most of that." The thing is, you can't--or at least, I can't--work on problems in a novel until you have a novel. Spend too much time perfecting the first chapter and you'll never get to the second chapter, much less the end.

Two things prevent me from diving headlong into the morass. One is that I now absolutely need to finish the 486-page 400-pound reference book I've been avoiding because it was written by someone who loves jargon and actively resents clarity. Yesterday I made it through 6 pages in 20 minutes before I fell asleep.

480 pages to go. It'll take me til Christmas.

The second thing is my darling puppy. She is a barrel of fun. She is fluffy and cute and opinionated and I love having a dog in the house again, but man, this morning she is wearing me out. Last night I went to sleep composing a blog post in my head (because even writing this blog post is much better than not writing at all) about the incredible beauty of my friend's little daughter frolicking with the puppy on our lawn. This morning I woke to the discovery that the puppy has been using a secluded spot under my floor loom as her own personal loo, and perhaps toilet-training hasn't been going as well as I thought.

I took her out, then put her in her crate while I cleaned up the mess and got dressed. And made coffee. She began to bark maniacally. I took her out. She grabbed the middle of her leash with her teeth and attempted to lead me. It's cute when it's not your puppy doing it. I put her back in. She barked. I took her back out. She shot me insolent looks, and lay down. I took her inside and put her in the puppy playpen. She pooped. Instantly. I grabbed her and took her out for the final dribbles.

Into the crate. Clean up the floor. Attempt to eat breakfast. Puppy throws tantrum in the crate. I don't care. I ignore her. She barks. I take her out. She tries to lead me.

I put her in my lap. She snuggles for a few paragraphs (the first two, above) then tries to bite my hands as I type. I put her back in the puppy playpen, now moved to my office, with a nice fresh chew bone. She barks maniacally. I ignore her--it's more puppy tantruming. Finally she goes quiet, and I turn to give her some attention now that she's not barking. She's just peed an enormous pee all over the wood floor and is sitting in it. Her expression says clearly, "I told you I needed to go out."

It's not even 9 am and we need a do-over around here. Happily I'm off for a walk at the weir dam, with my friend and her large dog. I'll take the puppy, and she can walk and walk and frolic and poop, and after that she'll be knackered, and I'll sit down with that damn reference book and more coffee so I can stay awake and learn everything I need to know. Wish me luck.

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