Walking the Dog, Part 21

September 30th

2.3 miles

I meet twice a month with other writers. We read each others’ work and critique it. It works because we’re good at knowing what we don’t like about each other’s projects and figuring out ways to tell each other what we don’t like about each other’s projects without (usually) ending up in fist fights or inconsolable crying.

One particularly good piece of feedback I got was from my buddy Moon. It went something like this:

I feel like your writing is like a movie shot entirely in close-ups. It’s good, but it’s exhausting. I wish you’d include more wide-angle shots.

So, I’m thinking about that comment today during me and Goose’s walk. And I think about what I notice in my environment while I walk. And mostly it’s stuff like this:

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But then I try to think about noticing stuff that I don’t usually notice. And I guess that’d be stuff like this:

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I don’t know. That second picture is boring to me. And that first picture is just so damn interesting.

Walking the Dog, Part 20

September 29th

2 miles

There’s this old Pixies song that’s stuck in my head. It goes something like:

And this I know Her teeth as white as snow. What a gas it was to see her. I walk her every day Into a shady place… What a big black mess What a hunk of love. Walk her every day into a shady place. She’s like the dark, but I want her…

I paraphrase. But Goose is black from head-to-toe, and she does have teeth as white as snow, and I do walk her every day into shady places. And, yeah, I know what that song is actually about. And, no, that’s not me and goose’s relationship. Shame on you for even thinking that!

Walking the Dog, Part 2

September 8th

2 miles

It was raining, which is unusual, especially these last five years. It feels like a thousand days since the last time it rained in LA. But then I realize that I have my iPhone in my pocket and I feel a familiar fear that its going to get wet from the rain.

The last time I felt that same fear was around Halloween last year. Which is the last time I can remember being out in the rain for a prolonged period of time (far less than 1,000 days ago, I realize).

That was a fun day. It was the LA Rock N Roll HalfMarathon in DTLA. I was there with some really great friends. We had raised a grip of money for Doctors Without Borders and were running the event in their honor. And we met a dude in a giant hamburger suit and we tried to eat him, but we drank beer instead.

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Walking the Dog, Part 5

September 12

2 miles

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Morning walk with goose and the kid.

I ask the kid, “Do I remind you of the dad in Diary of a Wimpy Kid?”

He says, “You mean Frank.”

“Yeah,” I say, “am I like Frank.”

He smirks and doesn’t answer, which is obviously an answer.

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Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

Juan Zung:

Another look author’s take on “rules for writing.” I especially like the balance of involving other people and yet not letting other people bring you down. Good stuff here.

Originally posted on Michelle Proulx -- The Website:

In my eternal attempt to avoid doing work, I was once again meandering about the internet, looking for entertainment. I came across this article: Ten Rules for Writing Fiction.

What’s very cool about this article is that it doesn’t just give ten rules. It gives you ten rules from each of about a bajillion different authors from various genres and backgrounds. This means that some of the rules contradict each other, which I found very interesting. It goes to show that what works well for one author will have absolutely no relevance to another author. Writing is truly about personal taste, which is part of what makes writing such a daunting task — there is no “How To” guide that speaks individually to each author. You have to make up your own, and then tweak and refine your list until you figure out what works for you.

I’m not…

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Walking the Dog, Part 11

September 20th

2.25 miles

There’s something about being responsible for a living thing. Like a dog, or a baby, or a ficus tree. It puts a cap on how much procrastination you can get away with.

So, if you’re hung over on Saturday morning, you can put off walking your dog until Saturday afternoon. And if you’re still hung over on Saturday afternoon, you can put off walking your dog until Saturday night.

But come Saturday night, maybe you’re not hung over any more, just tired and lazy and wanting to watch the game on TV. But your dog is going bats-o, alternating between jumping in the pool, running laps around your dining room and rolling around in the dirt. And you know, if you’re any kind of decent care-taker at all, you’re flat run outta snooze button resets and it’s time to get the leash out.

Walking the Dog, Part 15

September 24th

2.5 miles

There’s an old dude that lives on the corner. He’s got a cinderblock wall on the west side of his property.  There’s a car-sized hole in that wall right now.

This is not the first time this has happened to the poor guy. It was probably just last year (though exact timelines elude me) when a car lost control and smashed into another part of his wall.

Then there’s the mayor, who lives a couple houses down. He parked his truck in front of his house over the weekend. Someone wrecked into the back of it. It looks pretty bad. Four days later and it’s still sitting there. It was a hit-and-run. The driver took off, leaving a trail of busted-up car debris down the street.

image just for reference, not actually from my street

image just for reference, not actually from my street

I wonder what the story is with these wrecks. I’m guessing they were all drunk and just lost control of their vehicles. But then, kids will sometimes drag race on the old dude’s street. So maybe that was it. Or, maybe, being rather late at night, maybe they just fell asleep at the wheel.

Then I think, “what would be the weirdest reason why someone would crash their car into a wall, or into a parked car or into someone’s kitchen (happened to my next-door neighbor a few years ago)?”

And I try really hard to think of something, but nothing comes to mind.

Walking the Dog, Part 14

September 23rd

2.0 miles

We’ve been living in this neighborhood for like 15 years. So we know some people. This morning I saw my sister-in-law zip by in her moon buggy, the Toyo Twins zip by in their suped-up coupe and the mayor’s wife walking her German Sheppard.

I waved to the people that saw me. And I wave and say “good morning” to strangers all the time. But it’s not because I want to hang out and talk. I’m actually mostly trying to avoid people.

The Goose, people watching

The Goose, people watching

It’s funny, I talk about Goose have doggie social anxiety disorder, but I’m probably worse. Unless I’m drinking, I really don’t love doing small talk with people. During these moments, I’m mostly trying to remember the person’s name and/or repress the impulse ask them something inappropriate about their sex lives.

The solutions are obvious:
1) Cross the street whenever you see another human being coming.
2) Start drinking first thing in the morning.
3) Stop being an idiot and go ahead and ask about their sex lives. People love talking about sex!

Walking the Dog, Part 1

September 5th

2.8 miles

Morning walk with my dog, the Goose. We meet what-could-be me and Goose’s future selves: an old man and his 10-year old black labrador.

Our dogs seem to get along. Old dogs are much more predictable, which helps Goose stay calm. She gets skittish with spazzy dogs, especially dogs that erupt into barking. This old dog doesn’t make a single peep during our time together.

So this old dude, my future self, asks, “How old is your dog?”

I say, “7 months.”

He says, “Wish we could change places with you.”

I assume he means that he and his dog could be young again, and me and Goose would then be old. Kinda an evil scheme, if he could actually manifest it. But he can’t, as far as I can tell. And he’s nice, no grumpy vibe at all.