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April 16, 2003: A Dog's Life

Revisions. Harder to do than I thought. I've decided what I want to do, but finding the right places, not to mention the right words, takes some work. As I go through the manuscript, I see other things I want to change, too. I guess it would be easy for a person to work and re-work one manuscript for the rest of her life, never getting it right, never being able to let go, never being able to say, "Enough! I'm done now!"

So for fun, I began planning my website. I taught myself how to use DreamWeaver and know a little html, so, with some nice graphics I found, at least I was able to paste some stuff together and I like it. School's out next week so we'll be off, but the week after that, my husband's going to help me finish it up at get it running. Of course with no actual book title and no cover graphic, no recent photo (hey, I was cute at five, will that do?), no glowing quotes, and basically no content, it's going to be the least useful site on the web (well, maybe the recipes will draw a little attention).

I did something today that I've been putting off. In January, our old dog, Luke, a black Labrador Retriever, died. He was 14. It's funny, we never noticed him growing old. He was always young at heart, ready with a doggy smile and a wagging tail. Well, he died and we had him cremated so we could bury him in the backyard. He used to love my old shoes - he'd find them, gather them one-by-one into a pile, then sleep on them - so we're going to bury Luke with a pair of my old shoes and plant a tree in his honor - a dogwood tree, of course. Although Luke's ashes have been waiting at the vet's for three months, neither my husband nor I could go in and get them. Avoidance, I know. But it had to be done, so I went at lunchtime today.

The box is heavier than I thought it would be, but I put it in the car, in the back where Luke liked to sit and look out the window. Of course, I cried all the way home like a complete idiot, but it was nice having Luke in the car with me again. You know how much dogs love to go for rides.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Lots. It's emotion, common to us all, and without it, your reader won't feel what you feel, what you want her to feel. When you write, let yourself feel the pain, the joy, the fury, the tenderness within you and bring it to the page. This advice is nothing new, I've heard it myself a hundred times. Doesn't make it any less true.

Happy Easter!

-- Marianne


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