This Blog by Stephen W. Buehler
Seymour and Spumoni
For thee next two weeks my dog Seymour and I will be enjoying of the company of a friend’s dog, Spumoni. I never had a pet, not even as a child, until five years ago when I adopted Seymour. Since then I’ve learned about responsibility and getting outside of my own head. I spend too much time in there, as a writer and as a person who lives alone. Seymour and I typically take three walks a day, every day, every week, every year for the past five years. With Spumoni visiting we take at least three walks, usually four. It’s a routine and I have to live with it.
I love the walks, I hate the walks. On some days I’m impatient and can’t wait for it to end and other days I like to keep walking and search out unexplored parts of the neighborhood. It’s the same with writing. Some days I hate it, other days I love it. Sometimes I sit and wait and wait and nothing comes, while on good days it just pours out of me. On those days it’s like walking Spumoni. She loves to keep moving forward, sniff the next patch of grass, eyes a dog in the distance and can’t wait to meet it. She’s fearless and undaunting which is how I wish I was more often.
On the other hand, Seymour likes to stop often, explore, sit down and look around. When he sees a dog in the distance his nose twitches, trying to capture of the scent of the nearby canine before he’ll go near it. He’ll wait for the dog to come to him. I applaud his tendency for checking everything out along the walk, for being careful and literary, for stopping to smell the roses, but those walks can take forever. I feel like I almost have to pull him along. I can become impatient and frustrated. And once again, it can be like my writing experience. I have an idea but it takes forever to find the right structure, then to get myself to sit down, then write it, then rewrite it and rewrite it again. I just want it finished and out there to be read.
While walking these two dogs, sometimes one is way out front and the other is lagging behind. My arms are completely outstretched and I feel I’m being pulled apart, right down the middle. I just have to be patient until they both find the same walking speed and then my universe is in harmony again.
One of the best byproducts of these walks is that my subconscious goes into overdrive and either comes up with original ideas or solves problems that I’m working on. If I put a thought in my head like, “How can I make this character appear to be guilty when he’s not?” most likely I’ll have the solution by the time I take Seymour’s leash off.
There’s good and bad to be said for Spumoni’s and Seymour’s walking styles. And that’s how life goes. Sometimes the dog/muse pulls you along by the leash and the walk is quick and efficient. Other days the dog/muse lags behind, getting the job done but not at the speed you hope for. But you write anyway. And then take your dog for another walk.
(Though they didn’t actually type any of this, Seymour and Spumoni helped me write this blog.)
Do your pets help or hinder your creativity?
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Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. His story, Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and was a Derringer Finalist. A Job’s a Job was published in Believe Me or Not –An Unreliable Anthology. His is seeking a home for his novella, The Mindreading Murders about a magician, psychics and of course, murder. He is also currently shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. By day he is also a script/story consultant, magician and a nice guy. www.stephenbuehler.com