I was all set to write about entropy today, but the subject suddenly feels rather depressing to me. Entropy isn’t much fun at all, is it? Entropy is creeping chaos. Ew. I prefer my chaos to be more straightforward than that!
So, meet Scout.
Scout is a ten week-old black and tan rat terrier mix adopted from a shopping cart at a local grocery store. We didn’t know we were going to bring home a puppy on Sunday, but there he was. There were apparently seven puppies in the litter. All but Scout and one of his brothers had been given away by the time we got there. And I must say that the five that went first must have been extraordinarily cute, because, as you can see, Scout was hardly homely!
Rat terriers grow to be between ten and twenty-three pounds. But since Scout’s a mix–and we don’t know what he’s mixed with–we have no idea how large he’ll be. He’s a bit bow-legged, front and back, and stands a lot like a boxer. And he has a whip-like tail that others would probably bob, but we will not. His tiny needle teeth are sharp, but he’s none to fierce, though he has a pert little bark when he’s attacking his red rubber toy.
Suddenly we find ourselves on constant potty patrol. But the rugs are all rolled up, so we’re prepared. The hardest part about having him around is his propensity for being underfoot. We’re all afraid of stepping on him! He’s also turned our three year-old lab, Hrothgar, into a kind of elder statesman. Or Hrothgar would be, if elder statesmen couldn’t help but obsessively lick people on the face, the hands, the feet.
I didn’t know how strong my desire for chaos was until I heard myself tell the kids, “Sure, we can take him home as long as Daddy says it’s okay.” We’re just winding up a three-month remodeling project, I’m editing CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS, starting the next novel and I have lots of other writing projects and appearances on the horizon.
But a writer doesn’t just pull words out of chaos and manipulate them. Writing comes from life. I’ve never understood writers who are able to write and write and not have much contact with the visceral. Certainly we draw deeply on our past, our childhoods. But how can we imbue our characters with life if we’re not living it?
Ah, living it I am. And right now it’s curled against my back, its damp nose resting on its paws, sighing mightily. I’m kind of afraid to move because, when I do, I’m going to have to take it outside. Again.
While I’m away, here’s a link to an interview with my husband, Pinckney, who talks a bit about The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, a story he’s just published in Image Magazine. He has some rather revealing things to say about our darling Hrothgar….