Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Half-way through writing a spellbinding post, I got up to put out the trash. That's when I noticed my dog Hank was being awfully quiet. Usually at 6:40 in the morning, he's chasing squirrels and waking up the neighbors. So I checked on him.

Horror: empty yard, broken hook dangling eerily from the dog run.

The yard had been quiet for about 10 minutes, or was it 20? So enthralled by my wonderful blog post, I wasn't sure. Bad dog parent, I scolded myself. Then I ran up and down the block, through the yard, and to the train tracks where he could get easy access to other dogs' backyards.

Silence everywhere. I called his name. Silence. I jumped in the car and would not let myself drive to the main drag where too many half-asleep souls were driving to work too fast. No way he'd go there, right? Right?

After 25 minutes of frantic searching, I spotted an SUV stopped in the middle of the road, door flung open and left that way. The driver stood outside the open door, talking on a cell, and looking down at something on the side of the road.

I raced down the road and halted next to her SUV. She was looking down at the old man who was crouched on the ground, rubbing the ears of my Hank. Our reunion was joyous.

But after our short ride home, there was no way I could finish my post. I was too anxious. My heart beat at a techno bassline pace. So I started typing this true story for you, and I tried to think of a way to tie it in to reading or writing so I wouldn't just be the crazy blogging dog lady.

Here's what I came up with:

Life and writing is filled with surprises, both horrible and kind. Do not be so rigid in your ways or your writing schedule or your outline that you see something like your dog running away as a total screw-up of your entire day. Embrace what you have, not what you want. Write what comes easily. I could have forced myself to sit down and finish that post, but it would have sucked. What came easily today was this love song to my dog.

As I write this, Hank is asleep at my feet, weary from his adventure. Today's blog post is almost done. And the other one--the greatest half-finished blog post in the world? I'll finish it later. Last night, I went to bed wondering what I could write for Nathan Bransford's guest blog challenge; now I know.

It's 7:35: one crisis solved; one blog post written; one contest entry halfway done. And I even managed to get the trash out on time.

When life hands you lemons, grab some sugar and make a lemon drop shooter.

And yes, that is Hank at the top of this post. Isn't it obvious why I love him? He's made of awesome. Ever had a sidetrack lead you in the right direction? Tell me about it.


  1. I am all for the crazy blogging dog lady. Probably because I'm one of them :)

    Seriously though, I'm glad you found him okay. I know the panic of a missing dog.

    Ohhh, so what are you writing about for Nathan's contest? I was thinking of entering myself, but can't think of anything really interesting to say.

  2. My heart stopped when you said the car was stopped! Oh my gosh...I am so glad it turned out ok!!!!!

  3. I'm so glad your dog is okay! Good luck on your entry for Nathan's contest!

  4. Wow Hank is beautiful!

    I'd say "writer's block" (although I'm beginning to think that maybe there's no such thing as writer's block...) is a "sidetrack" which always leads writers in the right direction. ;)

  5. So scary. Glad everything turned out alright! He's adorable.

  6. First off, specify that Hank wasnt HIT by the SUV when you get to that part in the story. My heart was in my stomach. Second I'm so glad hes okay. I'm sorry I didnt see this post earlier. Third, what a cutie!

  7. Like Karen, I was terrified Hank had been hit by the SUV, and then so relieved when he was fine.

    I loved the conclusions you drew and the way you used the experience (and the emotions) you were already having to be an authentic writer.

    An almost identical situation happened to a writing friend of mine exactly two weeks ago, but it was about her beloved cat. She came to similar conclusions and also blogged about it; using her writing as a way to help process the experience in the moment. She also noted that she was processing the experience into a "story" she can use later, in a fictional setting.