“Without the Dogs, It Seems More Difficult to Write.”

From an essay by Arthur Bradford titled “The Dogs” in the book How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors:

They are excellent companions for a writer since they don’t speak and rarely interrupt me in a meaningful way. They provide just enough presence to ward off loneliness without hindering my ability to escape into a good solitary haze. Sometimes they will sigh and groan, especially if it is a nice day and they’d prefer to be out walking, but I don’t mind that. At night, when I like to write best, they lie at my feet and sleep soundly, often twitching their legs in reaction to their silly canine dreams.

Of course, the dogs tend to creep into my work as well, My first book, Dogwalker, is populated with all kinds of mutts and hounds. My oldest dog, Coby, gave birth to a litter of puppies underneath my desk one winter and this couldn’t help but affect what I was doing. For a while I tried to write as the puppies squirmed about underfoot, but eventually I had to move my typewriter into the kitchen and work from there.

Whenever I find myself without the dogs, it seems more difficult to write. I want to know that they are there, wishing me well, snoring at my feet. And when I’ve completed something worthwhile there’s nothing more satisfying that rising up and telling them I’m done. They perk up immediately and jump about with glee. Then we all head outside for a good long walk. This is our reward for a job completed together.

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