Monday, February 15, 2010

The dogs that saved me....

Dear Followers,
I realize it has been two weeks since I’ve posted anything new here. You’ll forgive me, I hope; I’ve been working on a new book, and I’m reaching the stage with it where it becomes all-consuming. I go to sleep thinking of the next passage, wake up trying to remember what I was processing when I fell asleep, and then ruminate on it all day while I’m at work. Slowly, all my other writing work is getting pushed aside.

This book will be a memoir, as Tainted Legacy is, but the focus is a world apart from that one. In my life, some dogs have owned me, heart and soul. I never lived up to their devoted attention, affection and protection, but I tried. Some of them, at times, have saved me….

The book is being written in chronological order, beginning with the family dog we had as a child, then leading into a section on *Rufus, the dog I had as a teenager, who saved me in more ways than one. (This section has required me to write—for the first time in my life—about my wicked step-father. It has been tough going. I write about those experiences in the daylight hours, then at night, have nightmares about what I’ve written. Still, I continue. Some things need to be said.)

Just to give you a small sample of the tone of the book, here are two tiny excerpts. They are taken from the first chapter, and are separated by large amounts of text in between:

Human beings are resilient, and it has been my experience that we can find our way through some very dark times, as long as we have hope that somehow there is light just beyond the shadow of darkness. But the absence of hope will ultimately lead to despair, and from there it is a short journey to the point where we are ready to give up.
I have been to this point several times in my life, but by far the most critical time for me was at the age of fifteen. So much happened in that year that was so crushing to my young spirit, I really don’t know, looking back, how I survived it. Well, but yes, I do; the powers of the universe tossed me a life preserver in the form of a block-headed mongrel dog named Rufus.

* * *

I suppose we had expected something like the Ponderosa. What we found was anything but. Art’s property was squeezed onto a long narrow street of rundown houses—nothing like our small but neat home in Orange County. The house on his property was more empty shell than home. In the yard we saw the tiny metal travel trailer which was Art’s real home.
We were still trying to take it all in as Mom drove through an open chain link gate and up a bumpy gravel driveway. Before we could get out of the car, we were greeted by two dogs. One was a small black and white terrier. The other dog was mostly white with a couple of large brown spots, one across half his face and one on his body. He was larger than the terrier, but he was clearly a puppy, with huge feet he had yet to grow into. He jumped on us with dirty paws, wagging his tail excitedly. Art strolled out to meet us, beer can in hand.
“That’s Five,” he said, pointing to the terrier and belching. “They left her here when they moved out. That’s her pup. I gave all the rest of them away, but that one’s so ugly, no one wants him. I call him Rufus.” He kicked at the dog with his boot to make him get down, then laughed.

*Note: The dog in the photo here is not Rufus. This is Osa, my last best dog.