The day on a farm starts so early that it’s easy to imagine that you’d get worn out pretty quickly. Unless you happen to be a border collie.
This border collie either paced itself all day, consumed an energy drink (kidding … please do not let your dog consume an energy drink) or just started its day, but the dog is so very pumped to spread some hay. The dog’s farmer companion can’t even keep up with the pup! The hay is barely on the pitchfork before the border collie has yanked it off the truck and shaken it around the ground.
This seems like an efficient way to spread hay, too. The border collie gets to expend some energy, the human just has to stand on the bed of a truck and the hay goes exactly where it needs to. After this, maybe they go and sit on the porch and admire their hard work. Or they go and herd sheep. Seeing the energy level of this dog, it’s probably sheep herding.
“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” William Butler Yeats
Day Six: A Character-Building Experience
Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?
Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us).
Today, write a post focusing on one — or more — of the people that have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected. It can be your new partner, your newborn child, or the friendly barista whose real story you’d love to learn (or imagine), or any other person you’ve met for the first time in the past year.
Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.
“In displaying the psychology of your characters, minute particulars are essential. God save us from vague generalisations!” – Anton Chekhov, Letter to Alexander Chekhov; May 10, 1886
Describing people — whether real or fictional — in a way that channels their true essence is an invaluable skill for any writer. Through the careful accumulation of details, great authors morph their words into vivid, flesh-and-bones creations in our minds. How can you go about shaping your portrait of a person? Some ideas to explore:
Don’t just list their features. Tell us something about how their physical appearance shapes the way they act and engage with others. For example, see how the author of this moving photo essay, which documents the final weeks of a woman dying of cancer, captures the kernel of the woman’s spirit with a short, masterful statement: “Her eyes told stories that her voice didn’t have the power to articulate and she had a kindness that immediately made me feel like we had been friends for years.”
Give us a glimpse of what makes this person unique. We all have our own quirks, mannerisms, and individual gestures, both physical and linguistic.
“Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us.”
That is so true. But so many of my stories have also been linked to the dogs around me. So for today’s Writing 101 theme instead of writing about a person, I shall write about a dog. Specifically, young Oliver who entered our lives at 11:10 PDT on June 16th, 2014.
It was the eyes that got me! Right from the first moment that he and I looked at each other.
Those yellow-green eyes just had a power of attraction that was beyond my rational understanding. As if those eyes carried some haunting echo of that ancient time, millennia ago, when a young wolf looked upon the face of early man and each registered a mutual attraction.
Dear Oliver was born on the 28th February, 2014 and rapidly became a lively puppy: too lively for the couple who had taken him on. They lived close to us and Jean and I were called early in June that same year and asked if we might consider being his new parents. We went around on the morning of the 16th June to assess this young dog, especially from the angle of how well he would get on with our other dogs, before making our minds up for sure.
Within minutes, however, we knew without any doubt that under the skin of this lively, bouncy young dog there was a heart of gold and he came home with us that same morning.
Young Oliver had every reason to be a lively, bouncy young dog. For he was the offspring of Chocolate Labrador and Border Collie parents! One can’t get much more of a lively mix than that! So those early days with Oliver in the house turned out to be fun!
Those early days also showed that Oliver’s heart of gold extended from people to other dogs. Within minutes of arriving home he was fearlessly loving up to Pharaoh. That meant that Pharaoh and all the other dogs were going to love him back in return.
So quickly young Oliver became a wonderful member of the family with not one of the other eight dogs taking even a hint of umbrage at this new puppy in their midst. Oliver’s character is gloriously open and honest, as matched in his face.
Over the weeks as we got to know Oliver better and better he has shown that he has the most beautiful disposition.
Now as I write this some ten months after we welcomed Oliver I find it impossible to imagine life without him. Or more accurately written that it would be impossible to imagine life without those eyes!
At 10:15 last night, I discovered that this Post is likely to be published with all the pictures missing. Operator error on my part.
So rather than delete it and you, dear reader, not know what had happened, I have left it as it is and will correct it by including the pictures for tomorrow, Sunday.
Dear friend Dan Gomez sent this to me on the 9th but I have split it into two parts, the concluding part will be tomorrow.
How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?
1. Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us, and you’re inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?
2. Border Collie: Just one. And then I’ll replace any wiring that’s not up to code.
3. Dachshund: You know I can’t reach that stupid lamp!
4. Rottweiler: Make me.
5. Boxer: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.
6. Lab: Oh, me, me!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeze, please, please, please!
7. German Shepherd: I’ll change it as soon as I’ve led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven’t missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation
8. Jack Russell Terrier: I’ll just pop it in while I’m bouncing off the walls and furniture.
9. Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? I’m sorry, but I don’t see a light bulb!
10. Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.
11. Chihuahua : Yo quiero Taco Bulb. Or “We don’t need no stinking light bulb.”
12. Greyhound: It isn’t moving. Who cares?
13. Australian Cattle Dog:First, I’ll put all the light bulbs in a little circle…
14. Poodle: I’ll just blow in the Border Collie’s ear and he’ll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.
How many cats does it take to change a light bulb?
Cats do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. So, the real question is:
“How long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner, and a massage?”
ALL OF WHICH PROVES, ONCE AGAIN, THAT WHILE DOGS HAVE MASTERS, CATS HAVE STAFF!
In response to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s insistence that Occupy Denver choose leadership to deal with City and State officials, and drawing inspiration from the notion that corporations are people, Occupy Denver’s General Assembly has elected a leader: Shelby, a three year old Border Collie. “Shelby is closer to a person than any corporation: She can bleed, she can breed, and she can show emotion. Either Shelby is a person, or corporations aren’t people,” said a Shelby supporter at the time of her election.
Occupy Denver reserves the right to alter leadership status, but for now, Shelby exhibits heart, warmth, and an appreciation for the group over personal ambition that Occupy Denver members feel are sorely lacking in the leaders some of them have voted for on national, state, and local levels. Accordingly, Occupy Denver looks forward to communication with Mayor Hancock and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper sometime this week to introduce their leadership.
Newly-elected leader Shelby will be leading this Saturday’s Occupy Denver march against Corporate Personhood, and invites all other civic minded dogs (and their leash-holders) to join.