I’m not normally a flibbetyjibbet. I don’t dabble in matters of the heart. When it comes to bestowing my attention and affection, I commit and I stay committed. I’m a finisher. I see things through. That’s what I do.

But in recent weeks I’ve fallen prey to an unfamiliar urge, an inexplicable need. What started as a harmless flirtation, a way of killing time, in the dark hours when sleep wouldn’t come, has now become serious. So serious I told my husband about it this morning. Now I’m telling others.

Regular readers have caught glimpses of the half-grown hound that has been tearing up my mental backyard for months now. Big brute, dangerously attractive, difficult to bring to heel. A challenge I’ve been running with during the day, curling up with it at night. He’s a work in progress and I love him. A big, bad, beautiful beast, that’s not safe around kids.

But now a new dog has slunk in, under my guard. More of a pup really. Perfect for the small fry. Sad history. All eyes and ribs. But heaps of potential, you know? Could be really beautiful if someone gave him a chance.

He’s been nosing round me for a while, pressing his wet nose through the gaps in my defenses. Begging me to take him in, give him a home, breathe some life into him.

He won’t leave me alone. Won’t accept that I’m already committed.

I’ve started dreaming about the damn thing: can identify its fleas; already know where to scratch to get his back leg thrashing helplessly. Caught myself laughing at his antics this morning before my husband woke up.ย  Blinked back tears when I saw where he hurts.

Couldn’t stand it any longer; decided to take a chance and let him in.

So I opened the gate, watched my big dangerous beast sniff its arse, then move aside to make room for one more.

I’ll be keeping the door closed on this one for a while. Can’t risk letting him out till I know that he’ll stay. But he’s already showing promise, curled up now on my computer. The new work-in-progress. One for the kids.

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Comments
  1. Run with the pup, Chris. Let him in to romp all over your mind! You won’t regret it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Lynne Green says:

    I like big dogs, like Labradors, proper spaniels, even the completely brainless Afghan hounds. At the moment, my dog is smaller than my cat and he is fully grown – and just as brainless as any hound can be. He has only one eye, and his breeder was going to put him down. I couldn’t bear the waste of a little soul who needed love and sympathy, and a regular tea time. The heart sometimes overrules the mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Sheryl and Lynne. Being led by the heartstrings isn’t such a bad thing, is it?

  4. Julie says:

    Oh Chris,
    Of course you need to let him into your life. He’s chosen you and that’s a gift. There is no greater joy than being surrounded by loving animals and let me assure you, he will bring more into your lives than you would ever think possible.
    J

  5. Chris, another great post that makes me look forward to dust – I just love the way you write. You always conjure such a vivid picture. A wonderful analogy, this. And so, so true. Why is it that writing one thing almost without fail allows other ideas to creep in and take up residence in your mind? I find it’s often when I’m feeling a bit vulnerable with one ‘dog’ (such as hitting a hard point with ‘training’ him) that a new pup creeps in to tempt me with his freshness ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. chrisbongers says:

    I’ve been wrestling with that very point Katherine, wondering if I was merely entertaining a diversion. I think not; I hope not. My big brute of a WIP hasn’t left my side. He’s shadowing me while I get the new little guy settled so we’ll see if they can work in tandem. I’ll keep you posted. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. It sounds like the new pup is here to stay, which is a wonderful and exciting thing Chris! Would love to hear how juggling the two goes.

    The same thing happened to me recently: I was writing the second draft of my mentorship novel when an extremely vivid new novel ‘puppy’ came and would not leave me. I managed by playing with the ideas and writing a few chapters, but then finished the other ms before fully throwing myself into the new pup’s first draft. I actually found it helpful to have two novels on the go: I finished the new pup one over Christmas, and now I’m able to tackle the third draft of the mentorship novel with much fresher eyes.

  8. chrisbongers says:

    I think that it’s good to have a couple pots on the boil sometimes Katherine. I did the character sketches and plot outline for The Lonely Dead before I rewrote Dust and it let me segue seamlessly into my “new” project as soon as I sent Dust off. Consciously working on another project also lets the unconscious stew over anything unresolved – often with surprisingly effective results. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Go for it, Chris. If it’s speaking to you that strongly, you can’t ignore it. I believe a writer’s subconscious is a very powerful thing and I’m sure yours will be working away on your WIP while you tend to your ‘puppy’. Enjoy them both ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Julie – I already am!

  11. I say go play with your dog, CB. I’ve had a similar thing happening (insert twilight zone music here) but my dalliance is a cat called Mr Perkins who first began as a character on a new pair of shoes that I bought in Melbourne and turned out to be a companion who talks to me and, indeed, has his own story to tell.

  12. chrisbongers says:

    OK, anything with shoes works for me. I’m in!

  13. […] during the difficult stage of any novel a new idea comes along to tempt me with its freshness. ย Christine Bongers recently blogged about this phenomena, using a really clever analogy. ย But like Chris, I’m […]

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