My dog Cassie is at the vet right now getting a further biopsy of the odd bumps that have suddenly appeared on various parts of her body. I had postponed having it done because I wanted a second opinion. Somehow hearing my regular vet tell me that she had never seen anything like it over 25 years of practice didn’t inspire a lot of faith in her ability to solve the problem.
Actually, the vet didn’t inspire a lot of faith on several levels. I took Cassie to that vet two times. Once after we got her for her heartworm test and once when the bumps appeared. Both times were odd. You have to know that Cassie’s most favorite thing in the world is people. She has a passing interest in other dogs and she likes to eat but her world is brightest when there are people to meet and greet. Everyone is instantly her best friend (sorry about that kiss Mary Pearson)and those ear nuzzles for Becky. She lives for meeting new people.
So at the vet Cassie was just being her wonderful Cassie self, so excited to see people that her whole body wiggled like a snake, faster and faster as she waited for the vet to bring her face low enough to be sniffed.
But the vet never did.
Eventually Cassie gave up waiting and jumped up and the vet was not happy. Cassie tried to sniff anywhere she could but the vet was wearing a dress (both times – what’s up with that) and the vet was not happy. She never once got down to Cassie’s level or let her sniff around.
Cassie was not happy. And I wasn’t happy either. What kind of vet shoos the patient away from her? Why wasn’t she trying to make friends with her or at least acknowledge that she was in the room? I had used this vet before but never noticed this behavior perhaps because Chelsie, my last dog, was about as opposite in personality as a dog could get and very anti-people. She was much smaller than Cassie and I’ve come to the conclusion that this vet feels much better with cats and small dogs.
It takes a certain kind of person to love big dogs. It was time for a new vet. But first, those odd bumps needed to be taken care of and I called in the experts.
I found a specialist, a dermatologist, so alas, we can’t use him as our regular vet but I love him. His practice is in an old house and all the rooms are set up like family rooms with family furniture and end tables and bookcases and not a single metal table in sight. On the first visit he sat down on the floor and let Cassie snuggle and kiss and love on him and she was thrilled. He’s had a lot of experience with these sorts of bumps and I feel confident that once we discover, from the biopsies, WHAT they are, he will have the right course of treatment in mind. When I dropped Cassie off this morning the girls in the front office were making such a big deal over her that she never even gave me another look. And that’s okay.
What does this have to do with writing? A lot I think.
Many writers have days when they think the words have left them completely. Some writers have those kinds of days that turn into weeks and months where it seems like they can do anything BUT write. I know. I’ve been there. And here’s what I came up with.
I think the words are always there, like Cassie, full of energy and just waiting for us to notice them, just waiting for us to get down face-to-face and be there. Cassie doesn’t expect anything special from the people she meets – she just wants them to stop what they’re doing and “be” with her. Sometimes we’re lucky and if we ignore the words they come up and smack us upside the face and remind us to pay attention. Plant Kid is forever whispering to me and Max gives me a growl every so often. Flyboy, he’s a bit different. Aloof, always watching, waiting for me to make the first move and spend time with him.
Sometimes I think that’s really all we need to do with our writing – just be with it. Get down on the floor and play. Forget about deadlines and publication. Forget about what your teacher said you needed to work on or what your critique group said was a weak idea. Don’t worry about what order the scenes go in or even if a certain scene belongs in the book. Surround yourself with people who will understand your writer self.
Embrace your writing with all the tail wagging, face licking enthusiasm of a dog who is meeting a new friend and who has absolutely no fear about looking stupid.
The words are there, right in front of you, waiting for you to notice them.