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.

  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.

  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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