Surviving the writing life

With the week of work I have had, I was worried that the final resting place I would be writing about for Charli Mill’s writing challenge this week would be my own. In the span of a week, I have edited one thesis and two academic books totaling just over 1,000 pages. I also had an eye appointment, went blind from dilation for more hours than I care to admit, and found out my prescription has changed by three steps. No wonder I can’t see anything (first time my vision has changed in nearly twenty years).

But I survived (okay, I still have a few pages to get done, but I had to post something before Charli closed out this week’s challenge)…and just in time for National Novel Writing Month. Luckily I have a few days between the two, when I get to see my brother and his family, get to drive south for a lunch with a friend, and get to finish proofreading a book for someone very close to me (who thank goodness doesn’t have a way to get to my neck of the Great Plains or she would throttle me for being so late).

God, I love this writing life! (shouted with all sincerity)

Back to the final resting place prompt — so apropos for the end of Halloween, when the nights are getting longer, the trees are growing taller and spookier in the evening shadows, and every noise outside is magnified by a billion thanks to all those leaves crunching underfoot. I could write a bazillion 99-word stories for this prompt (and that’s no exaggeration!), but I thought I would go with something a little more rustic and not too gruesome.

Lessons from the Dog

The dog sat, mimicking Nipper’s iconic RCA pose, albeit for something much more dog-worthy than a phonograph. His tail swished through freshly yellowed leaves.

The earth behind the shed was nicely softened. The shed’s faded red walls marked the edge of the withered field and the start of no man’s land. The blade of the shovel struck deep.

Three more shovel thrusts and the squirrel was laid to rest between last week’s opossum and the woodchuck family. The dog watched, patient as the hole disappeared.

He blinked twice, then raced out into the field. A new toy was waiting.




  • I feel as though the inspiration to this is sitting right next to you 😉

    Mira DayOctober 27, 2015
    • Snoring on the couch. He was eyeing me earlier, staring at me, pulling his ears back, giving me puppy dog eyes…then licking his lips. It was cuh-REEPY. (Luckily he just wanted to go outside and chase sticks, not gnaw on my legs)

      C. JaiOctober 27, 2015
  • A busy week! Are you doing NaNo WriMo? This will be my first pass, but I’m creating NaNoReViSo! I’m going to see if I can revise as well in 35 days as I can draft! Great scen in your flash — I can just picture that tilt of the head and perk of ears — a new toy is to be had!

    Charli MillsOctober 28, 2015
    • I am doing NaNo again this year. I have a writing partner (slash task master…ahem, slave driver…who will roll her eyes when she sees this comment) who basically does NaNo every month. November is one of the few months I pretend like I can keep up with her. It’s also historically one of my busiest months work-wise, so it’s like my own private month-long bootcamp survival. But something about all that energy! (Last year I wrote a short story the first day that went on to win an award, so this year I have to top that somehow.) I have a novel in my head that is really going to challenge me as a writer. I have been procrastinating on it for months. I’m counting on the “just plow through it” mentality of NaNo to get at least a bare bones draft down on paper finally. Plus I am rewriting a novel from scratch that I did for NaNo three years ago. Seventy thousand words into it, I got totally lost and abandoned it. This year I am taking a more “plotter” approach to it. There’s also a third novel I am working on…but now I think you’re starting to see why, when Dec 1 rolls around, I will probably be a quivering mass of jelly. (But I will still be able to hear how NaNoReViSo goes, which I think you should trademark and develop for the masses — see, I am notorious for not only heaping too much on my own plate, but also piling up others’ plates as well 🙂 )

      C. JaiOctober 28, 2015
  • You sound as though you have quite a work load on. Good luck with the NaNO. I’d love to do it but will wait til next year.
    Your flash had me smiling although that pooch is going to singlehandedly take out the wildlife population.

    Irene WatersOctober 29, 2015
    • Haha, he’s certainly going to try! Luckily the wildlife has caught on to his shenanigans. The pup’s got a defined perimeter where he can run (invisible fencing), and the squirrels are notorious for racing just outside where he can go, then stopping to chastise him. They are relentless in their teasing. And I fully expect one day for the pup to suddenly emerge from the trees dragging along a deer by the hoof, all “look what I found, mom!” while the deer tries to shake him off and looks at him with that “what is this thing?!” expression.

      C. JaiOctober 29, 2015

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