Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Slowly But Surely

Last night I wrote pages and pages about Charlie in my journal. I remembered some of the funny things he did, the sounds he made when he heard thunder, the way he would put his head on my bed when he wanted attention, the time I petted him so much that he fell asleep...and I smiled. Yes, there was a tightness in my throat when I wrote it, but that's ok.

Writing has been very therapeutic for me throughout this entire process. Thank goodness I've had that outlet. Now I'd like to jump back into my novel, but there is a resistance there. And here's the reason.

When everything happened with Charlie, I was working on my novel. I was in my bedroom with my laptop, Charlie was laying beside the bed, and I was having trouble with a particular scene. Then Charlie collapsed, we went to the vet, and well, we all know the rest. For those first few days, I couldn't even think of working on the novel. I know I'm not alone. When Dean Koontz's beloved Golden Retriever, Trixie, passed on, he couldn't write for a month.

Everyone is different, though, and for me, I need that outlet of diving into my characters' lives and immersing myself in my writing. But I'm scared. Why? Because the last time I worked on it, Charlie was there. And now I fear I will associate the novel, and that particular scene, with what happened.

I think I know the solution. I just have to do it. That's what I did last night when I had to go to the grocery store. The last time I went, Charlie went with me - it was his last ride in the Jeep. When I drove that same route, tears welled in my eyes. But I knew I had to go - the kids needed milk and cereal for their breakfast, after all, and I can't just hide from life right now. So I successfully made that little journey and I felt Charlie's spirit with me all the way.

So today, I hope to open up that file again and just get through it. I love this story. I love my characters. I love how everything comes together. I can't abandon it. And last night, I made a decision.

My main character in my novel owns a dog. And I have decided to change his name to Charlie.


  1. Good luck with it.

    I know how you feel. And my beloved Holly is well and truly alive in my fiction.

    Sending lots of hugs.

  2. Yep, life goes on and we just have to get on with it. And the only way we get past all those little things, is to just do it.

    I remember that less than two weeks after George died, we went on a camping trip. And it felt so weird to leave the house and not have kissed him goodbye. And it was worse when we got home four days later and he didn't run to greet us.

    Hope you do find the work therapeutic. And what a lovely tribute to Charlie :)


  3. What a poignant tribute to your dear Charlie, Melissa. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  4. Good for you. You have to be both kind to yourself, yet also keep living.

    Changing the dog's name to Charlie is a wonderful idea. And, how about writing a paragraph or two about him and his importance to this book in the acknowledgements?

    Love to you. My thoughts are with you.


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