That’s the oldest excuse in the book, right? Yesterday I was outside taking care of some chores, and when I walked back into the house I saw half an envelope lying on the living room floor. Murphy, my yellow Labrador retriever, was lying next to it, watching me intently.
“Uh, what have you been into?” I asked, my eyes turning to mere slits.
His tail whacked the floor with force, but only once.
I picked up the envelope which contained half of an electric bill. Uh oh. That’s when I noticed a trail of paper leading to the kitchen, which I followed. I found the other half of the bill, but it was in several small pieces and spread across the floor.
I heard Murphy’s long thick tail whack the floor again – and I started to laugh. The dog ate my homework, or in this case, my bill. Returning to the living room, I found that he hadn’t moved an inch, but he was grinning. Dogs do smile, you know.
I could have become upset with him, but he’d provided me with a laugh that I needed.
Dad feeding baby roadrunner
This morning I walked outside and saw a feather duster lying on the patio. Where had it come from? Another oddity, except that it suddenly moved and stood up. I took a deep breath, realizing it was Larry, a frequent roadrunner visitor. He was begging for food.
Sugar, my other yellow Lab, tried to chase Larry off, but he just jumped up on the block wall and stared at her. He wasn’t leaving without food.
Animals keep me chuckling, and they make great characters in books. They’ll always give a writer fodder for a story or a scene.
Thank goodness for closeups
There’s an odd little bug that keeps showing up on my patio. He just sits and watches me, which I think is really odd. I have no idea what kind of bug he is. Since the bug is a regular visitor, I brought my camera out with me and took his picture.
Murphy watched us through the sliding glass door. He pulled himself up and strolled out the doggie door, walking over to the bug. He bent down and sniffed it, but the bug didn’t budge. In fact, he stood his ground. Murphy stood and turned his attention to me for a moment before turning back to the bug. His head swung back and forth a couple of times before he lifted his paw and slammed it down on the bug! I started to laugh when I noticed the bug was faster than the dog and he’d moved out of the way.
That strange bug still comes to visit once in a while.
Sitting in my back yard can be quite entertaining. The dogs, the bug, and the roadrunner all seem to crave attention. Ha! They all want food, and I’m the source. Well, I guess the bug doesn’t want food, but I don’t know what it is that he wants.
Of course there are the geckos, too. Twice I’ve saved geckos’ lives when they ended up in the pool, and twice they’ve come back and stood by me as though saying, “Thanks, lady.” They’re actually kind of cute.
So what does this have to do with writing? Like I said, these animals and insects can be inspirational. The bug might be just a curious bug, or he could be changed into a person who makes a character in a book very nervous with his unblinking stare.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Look around you and pay attention to even the smallest of things. You never know when they might trigger an idea.
Let’s see. I could create a bald man with a buggy face who wouldn’t look out of place if he had filmy, pointed wings. Hmm. He’s a man who stares mercilessly, taking in every movement the protagonist makes. And while he stares, he rips an envelope or piece of paper to shreds. The protagonist takes a step toward him to ask him what he’s doing, and his face seems to shrivel up before he turns and hurries away.
When I sell my house and move to Washington, I’ll miss the desert critters. Of course, I’ll still have the dogs to brighten my day, and there will be a Chiweenie to add to the laughter. In fact, if I ever finish my current book, you’ll learn about Chiweenies.
Until next time, use your imagination and watch nature. Let your mind run wild.
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