(Lower content blog today, folks, but it’s been a busy week. Hope you enjoy it anyway 🙂 )
Time to live up to a promise.
Promises are an interesting thing in writing. Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal do this awesome podcast called Writing Excuses, and they hit this topic a while ago. (Check out the episode here: (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/01/09/writing-excuses-5-19-fulfilling-promises-to-your-readers/). If you’re even casually interested in writing, I strongly recommend Writing Excuses. Not only is it education, it’s immensely entertaining.
Basically, the idea is if you’re writing a mystery and there’s a murder in the first chapter, there’s an implicit promise to the reader that the case will get some kind of resolution. If you’re writing a fantasy that starts off with a light, humorous tone, you’re promising that you won’t end up with George R. R. Martin body-counts.
Anyway, for those who read my previous entries, you may recall something about puppies. (And cupcakes, but I’m deferring that one.)
So here you go.
And a story to go with them, if you can manage to still read while sobbing with joy.
Let’s rewind. I grew up in a house in rural Maine with my parents, brother, a bunch of cats, and a really amazing dog named Pip. Having cats and dogs was part of my existence. When Pip died my freshman year of high school at the age of 8, I missed him. What I didn’t expect was to continue missing him ten years later.
So, now I’m on my own. I’ve got a job, my own place. Small apartment. Dog didn’t seem practical, but I love cats too, so I adopted two of them, named Sabin and Edgar. They’re wonderful, but it turns out I didn’t just miss having pets, I missed having both cats and dogs. I decided last year it was important enough for me to start researching dogs and figure out if I could have one in my living situation. My office is dog friendly, so it seemed feasible, assuming I could pick up a breed that was okay hanging around an apartment between walks / play sessions.
Growing up with a dog as a kid, you don’t know anything about them. You don’t know about life expectancies, potential health issues, temperament problems. Especially when you get lucky and your dog turns out perfect like Pip did. It was frustrating to find out how short the longevity of most large breeds were, worse to find out that many of them tend to have chronic problems with their hips and other issues. It was depressing enough that I stopped looking for a while.
Then, through some random thread on a gaming forum, I found out about American Alsatians, dogs being bred by a couple kennels, one in Oregon and one in Colorado. They’d been breeding for fifteen years. The result is a large dog with a calm temperament, long life span, and fewer health problems. I spent a couple weeks reading up on them, thinking about it, and then finally decided to pull the trigger and put down a deposit on a puppy. There will be some challenges raising a dog by myself.
Then I remember Pip, and I know that he’ll be worth it.
I’m 23rd on the waiting list. I might get a puppy this fall, but more than likely it will happen sometime next year. His name will be Locke, and if that video proves nothing else, he’s going to be adorable.