One year ago on Memorial Day a neighbor who lives across the street knocked on my door and pleaded with me for the third time to please take her dog. She had grown allergic to him, and she knew I had recently lost my dog in a traumatic freak incident.
I was not ready to take on another animal and felt unworthy of the task, but I finally and reluctantly agreed to keep him for two days to see how things went. She left the dog and sent her son scurrying over with a kennel, bedding, food, toys, and snacks, and all you animal lovers out there can guess the rest of the story. The dog never left my house again.
The funny thing was this: I was not ready to take on another dog. I was still traumatized over my loss. I did not want a male dog and knew nothing about grooming and caring for a poodle. It was not love at first sight, although he was a sweet, cute thing of about fifteen pounds. His weight was about the only thing that fit my idea of what a dog should be. He needed a home, though, and in truth I needed another dog to heal my broken heart, and within two days we fell into a rhythm of mutual trust that gradually grew into deep love.
What does a dog story have to do with writing? Sometimes we resist the very thing we need, and we think our reasons are logical and reasonable. We refuse to learn new writing techniques or to comply with convention. We resist attending a workshop because we think we know enough already or we think we can’t afford the fee. We avoid joining a critique circle or asking fellow writers for feedback. We procrastinate sending our work out to a potential agent or publisher. If we’re lucky, though, something keeps knocking on our door and telling us we need to follow through, just as my neighbor kept returning and asking me to take her dog. Yes, if we’re fortunate, we open ourselves up to possibilities, and once we are open, all doors and windows are open, and what we need will come to us.
Last year I was closed to the idea of taking on another dog, but I relented, and now I have the most loving dog in the world, a dog who insists on cuddling with me when I watch TV, who curls up in his bed in my office, and who keeps me company all day. This loving creature looks up at me with large dark eyes that tell me he loves me more than anything in the world. I never thought it possible, and it would not have been, if I had not opened myself up to the possibility. Open your heart to possibilities and see what happens to your writing and your life. A year from now, everything could be different.
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