A Dog Writer's 'Tail'|
Copyright © 1997 Walt Zientek
The tall man sat at his keyboard. His wife was working and his daughters at
college. He had just spent some quality time with his dogs. This meant that
they were tired and resting at his feet. It also meant that he was exhilarated
and filled with that old familiar feeling. A story was was about to be born.
And while his dogs, those nearby and those remembered, were always the
inspiration for his works, he could never write in a personal, narrative style.
He had to distance himself a bit, in order to keep a balance. In order to keep
perspective. In order to keep emotions from swallowing his words.
He tried to squeeze meter and balance from prose until an essay felt a little
like a poem. He forced the feelings onto the page and prayed it said what
really couldn't be written. He hoped the readers would hear it with their
hearts as they read it with their eyes.
Sometimes he succeeded. And when this happened, he soared. For he had
found a tiny, universal truth that linked people of different places and lives,
to a common understanding.
Sometimes he failed. And when this happened, he crashed. For his weakness
with words somehow hurt or troubled or confused someone who didn't deserve
But, because he knew himself so well, he wrote on. And hoped that next time,
he would paint a clearer picture. And choose the perfect words. And touch, at
least a little on the relationship of man and dog.
This time, however, the rules had changed. The readers wanted game and
sport. Oh, he understood. He understood the nature of competition. He
understood that it often brought out the worst in himself. The obsessive desire
to be the best in everything he did. The need to win.
He didn't much like that side of himself. At least not where dogs and writing
were concerned. That wasn't what it was all about.
The tall man sat at his keyboard, shook his head and sighed quietly. He really
didn't have a choice. Because he really did know himself so well, he closed
the screen........ and walked away.