The Trouble with Big Dogs

The Trouble with Big Dogs – In Memory of Franco

The trouble with big dogs is that they are big. Large. Huge, enormous, and perhaps even gigantic. They take up a great deal of space wherever they are, naturally; whether that be lounging in the middle of the floor, dominating a couch–their couch, of course–in the most spread-out way imaginable, or nosing their way to the door to greet a visitor who probably should have been let in already (where are your manners, slowpoke?).

Big dogs have big appetites, and often find their big noses on the table sniffing out food they certainly shouldn’t be eating. This, of course, does not prevent some of that food from occasionally finding its way to the appropriate dog dishes.

Big dogs have a capacity for big naps, often accompanied by big snores and big dreams. The biggest, most-accommodating couch or bed will invariably be taken up by such a large dog, leaving little space for much else. This is the new order of things, and should be accepted as an unwritten contract. Whatever recliner, sofa, or small segment of bed is left should be more than luxurious for any humans. Continue reading

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Dear Franco

Today, far sooner than we’d have liked, my family had to say goodbye to our dog Franco. This is one of two posts I’m making on the subject. They’re largely selfish, as a way to cope and get this out of my system. In a small way, this is me working to say goodbye.

Dear Franco,

You weren’t always our dog, at least from the start, but you always felt like part of the family. Words fail me as I sit here, the dull hum of the ceiling fans we made sure to keep on for you the only company I have at the time, trying to fully process this morning. Bluntly: it sucks.

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All things considered, you could have been a very mean, temperamental, and unpleasant dog. The word ‘table’ was brandished at you like a weapon. Furniture was off-limits, of course. You still greeted people, tail wagging, with a lasting warmth.

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When we brought you home, there was a little apprehension. The adjustment period, where Mackenzie and Missy taught you that this was most certainly their house that you were moving into, had some interesting moments, but went smoothly. You seamlessly became another member of the family. The living room couch, covered with the dolphins-with-sunglasses blanket, quickly became shared property between you, Missy, and Mackenzie. 280779_669407042466_1444293402_o

There was a lot to love about you, Franco. The way you would only let some people pet you over the fence. How you greeted everyone at the door, often barking along the way as you readied to charge. The look you gave if someone happened to wake you up, and the grunt that would almost always follow.

In retrospect, your time with us feels both like it was gone in a flash but also like it lasted forever. Still, selfishly, I wish there were just a little more time. I will always wish there were just a little more time. Thank you for the years of howling along with sirens, going outside just to come back in for a treat, kisses, times you were waiting by the door when we got home, and so much more. My only hope now is that you are at peace, in a place where steak is regularly left unattended and well within your reach.

 

The idea that got away

I recently did something I have, on a fairly regular basis, told myself not to do. No, I’m not talking about eating spicy food and then rubbing my eyes (because I still do that more often than I care to admit).

So there was this story idea, right? A basic framework of an idea, with tangible if not fully-realized characters, right there in front of me. It could have had big, neon signs saying “Write me, Philip, you lazy, well-intentioned bastard.” It practically did.

Tonight has been spent being cranky because that idea has gone, having very fragmented thoughts that I’m fairly sure are just the flotsam and jetsam of me rereading Dreams and Shadows trying to manifest as something more, and eating ice cream. Halo Top is really hit or miss, I’ve decided, but there are a few flavors I’ll need to stock up on.

My question is this: what next? Should I revisit a novel project I already started on but abandoned? Should I really put my nose to the proverbial grindstone and get to the serious proofreading and editing for Dissonance in Harmony? Should I force myself to stop being so damn serious and just try writing stuff? Thoughts?

Eating Halo Top Vanilla Bean feels like the adult equivalent of eating paste

Sure, that’s a long-ass title, but it’s catchier than my usual go-to of indicating I’m not dead, that I’ve not forgotten I have a WordPress, or some pop culture reference. Related: how the Hell do I have 18 drafts? I need to do some belated spring cleaning.

The Halo Top, for the record, isn’t half bad, but it has a weird consistency – just to set the record straight.

“What’s new in the land of Phil’s Misadventures in Fiction (and life)?” asks no one in particular.  Continue reading

Make, and support, art

My post-work goal for the night was to get a little writing done (likely in the form of adding to Dissonance in Harmony, of course) before playing some Pokemon Moon and going to bed at a moderately reasonable hour. I love some quality video game wind-down time, but after seeing more news regarding President (using the term loosely here) Trump’s intention to move forward with defunding PBS…Pokemon will have to wait.

It would be easy to throw names at the Man-Child-in-Chief. Too easy.

What I want to do is, instead, charge you fellow artists to create. Keep creating, keep spreading art and encouraging (and supporting) others to do the same, and keep spreading wonder and joy and love that is otherwise being snuffed out in the name of further crushing critical, independent thinking in favor of lockstepping along to the wrong side of history.

Make art that is wonderful, and make art that is unsettling. Challenge the ever-loving shit out of people who dare question the value of art. Know that if Mr. Rogers were still around in this time of taking away PBS, a source of learning and magic for many children and the stuff of fond memories for how many, there would be Hell to pay.

Above all else, continue. Whether these next four years are great or bad material for art (with the former seeming more likely), it’s imperative that art continue, that easy access to educational programming be fought for, and that simple-minded, would-be dictators be challenged at every turn.

I am not my heroes

Hello, Wor(l)dPress.

In typical fashion, I’ve taken an extended time between posting. In typical fashion, I have been mad at myself for doing so and wondering why, oh why, do I still maintain this. That last part is a bit exaggerated, though. I covet my domain on here like a dragon with gold.

Today, while driving home from work and alternating between the current CD in my car and NPR (Kai Ryssdal hosting Market Place and PRI’s The World make my soul happy), I had a thought. It hit me hard, square between the eyes, and with all of the abrupt unapologeticness (that is a word, damn it) of such in-transit revelations.

I am not my heroes. I will never write like Neil Gaiman. I will never be the next Terry Pratchett. My works won’t be on the same level as Douglas Adams or Christopher Moore.

And those aren’t the things that I should want. I’m none of those people. My writing is my own, with influences from the writers I enjoy but also years of me finding and refining my own voice. There is some humor, some dark fantasy, and a whole lot of whatever the Hell I’ve turned into in terms of narrative voice and creativity. I am way more okay with that than I ever realized. At the end of the day, what is most important to me is continuing to write, continuing to strive towards publication, and (to a lesser degree) dreaming of somehow, someday becoming a well-known writer.

And so I continue.

This post brought to you courtesy of Sia’s “The Greatest”, which I have had on repeat as some sort of anthem to fend off any stress from recent weeks (I couldn’t say why if I tried, but I enjoy that song entirely and unapologetically), and the glass of Laphraoig Quarter Cask I’ve been nursing for over an hour now.

Writing, and gloom-induced gloom

I love rainy days, but only so long as I can spend them at home. I realize that’s a bit of a tall order as I have to be at work on most-such days. That said: I love laying on the couch in the back room of my mom’s house and listen to the rain fall against the two skylights. Really dislodges the bullshit from my brain.

That said, I’m tired of the sky being a joyless gray as of late. I could easily attribute that to the dark days of a Trump Presidency (and, Hell, I am really, because he’s a thin-skinned, orange-faced puppet with a bad habit of taking to Twitter). They’re bringing me down.

Something more cheerful, however: I completed the first draft of Babel, Restored – the sequel to Dissonance in Harmony and what I wrote for NaNoWriMo. I’ve returned to working on Dissonance. It’s fun, but I can’t help but smile at the realization I’m probably unintentionally shitting up continuity without realizing it. The editing process should be…interesting.  Continue reading