Friday Links #21 – My Puppy Partner

We interrupt our normally scheduled programming for a potty break. Please find your preferred plot of grass quickly so we may continue.

After months of doling out pros and deleting cons, my wife and I decided it was time to welcome a new puppy into our home. So last Saturday we drove out to Port Orchard and promptly fell in love with a nine-week-old golden doodle. We named her Juniper and she has ruled my life ever since.

One might think working from home would be ideal for introducing a new dog into the home. One would be mistaken.

She’s a quick learner — we had her sleeping through the night in her crate by weekend’s end — and she’s partially house-broken after six days, but she requires near-constant supervision. Don’t chew on that Juniper. Stay where I can see you Juniper. WHEN DID YOU PEE UNDER MY CHAIR JUNIPER?

Yes, it’s great that I’m home with her. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking I’m getting much work done.

I’ve temporarily abandoned my wonderful writing room in favor of the kitchen table. The main floor of our townhome isn’t carpeted, aside from the two area rugs she has been kind enough not to poop on. We currently don’t have a yard, so I must walk with her outside when she has to go. It’s not bad: I only have to take her out eighty-one times a day. And it only rains every day this time of year.

But I’m a quick learner too. My favorite days spent writing are those in which I can get lost in my imagination and lose all sense of time. Oh, honey, you’re home early. What do you mean it’s already after six? But now the marathon must wait. With a puppy in the house, it’s about intervals. There’s no time for long slow distance; only wind-sprints. Less novelist, more Tweeter. So I write for an hour, walk her, play with her, and wait for her to return to her puppy slumber so I could write for another hour.

If I’m lucky.

My productivity suffers, but my life soars. She lays motionless in my lap as I read, she’s too cute to focus on the page. She curls at my feet as I write. And she can’t stand to be out of my sight. After dinner — No, don’t eat the jalapeno! — my wife takes over puppy duty, freeing me and my laptop to drink write in peace.

But she’s a good girl. Yes, she is. Yes she is a good girl. BELLY RUB!

Bookish Links

  1. The Alchemy Behind Book Publishing – A link to a podcast on FiveThirtyEight with Reagan Arthur and Miriam Parker, both of Little, Brown and Co., about how a book, well, becomes a book. The first six minutes of the podcast are devoted to a recent poll concerning Boston potentially hosting the 2024 Olympics. Feel free to skip ahead. Hat-tip to my wife for the link.
  2. Writing the Tight Synopsis – One of the members of my critique group is currently revising a requested 10-page synopsis (sounds too long to me) and there was some lively discussion the other night about what that entails and exactly how many details should be included, and whether or not they should be given equal weight. This post by Beth Anderson shed’s some light on a task most writers dread as they enter the querying phase.
  3. Fates and Furies on Twitter – I didn’t actually read the content of this link because I’m currently reading the book it’s based on. Fates and Furies is fantastic and if you haven’t read it, you should. Then, once you’re done, come back to this link which contains a parody Twitter feed from Lotto and Mathilde, the two stars of the book.
  4. Barry Hannah, The Art of Fiction – I haven’t read any of Barry Hannah’s work, but I know I will after reading this interview in The Paris Review. There’s an exchange partway through the interview about first- and third-person point-of-view that I found really fascinating (and strikes close to home). That alone was worth the read.
  5. The 100 Greatest Beach Books Ever – I don’t read at the beach. That’s probably why I only read nine or so of these hundred. But regardless where you do your reading, this is a list I can get behind. It’s got a nice mix of classics, contemporary, literature, and non-fiction, complete with one-sentence blurbs to help you pick what to put on your shelf.

Bonus Link

How an Ad Campaign Made Lesbians Fall in Love with Subaru –  We’ve all heard (and even repeated) the stereotypes about Subarus and the gay community, especially those of us who live in the PNW, where it seems every other car is a Subaru. But most of us only sensed a connection between the two without understanding the story behind it. This article by Alex Mayyasi on the Priceonomics site tells the story about how, after firing their prior ad agency in the mid 1990s and watching sales slide, Subaru reinvented themselves… and discovered they were a huge hit with lesbians who they immediately began courting. Fascinating article, especially given the less-than-welcoming attitudes that pervaded our society twenty years ago.

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