Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why a Writer Needs a Dog...

This is my dog, Blaze, my loyal and faithful companion. The photo shows him at Long Beach, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, waiting for me to throw his ball into the surf. Chasing a ball through the waves is his very favourite activity (other than eating).

Blaze set off with my son on a roadtrip today, and was very excited. When the two of them left, I began to think about why a writer (me especially) needs a dog. Writing is a solitary activity, often done in the seclusion of a writer's home. If there wasn't a dog to curl up under the desk, the writer might get lonely. Secondly, a dog needs to go for several energetic walks, every day, in all kinds of weather. This gets the writer up, off her chair, away from the computer and out into the world.

Beyond the benefits of exercise and sociability, walking allows the writer an excellent opportunity to let her mind wander. I came up with the final sentence in my story, Lily and the Mixed-up Letters, on a dog walk. The wording had eluded me for months, and then one day, out on a walk with Blaze, the words appeared like magic in my head: "Feeling as light as a kite on the wind, Lily skips all the way home."

I owed Blaze a big dog cookie that day!

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