Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dogs and Cats at the Animal Shelter, Books at the Bookstore

You've lost count of the number of publications to which you subscribe primarily because of their news of forthcoming books, nor do you have any more accurate a sense of the weekly and monthly arrivals of online publications which you skim for similar information.

Today's New York Times Book Review had at least one book, a novel, you noted as something you wish to read, and you are all too aware of LaRose, a new novel by one of your favored living writers, Louise Erdrich, which you will no doubt read sooner than you've planned. You realized this on Friday, when you took a shopping bag filled with shirts to the laundry, which is located next door to your favorite independent bookstore.

You have at least two books waiting for your attention before taking on LaRose, but such priorities have not stopped you in the past. You should be caught up in your necessary reading for your work in progress, which means spending some time with about sixty novels you've already once or twice or more. These are your focus, the spine of the hundred novels you're including in your work in progress.

New books in bookstores, and certain titles among the previously read remind you of the time some years back when you went to the animal shelter, to meet and adopt your great friend, Sally, and in more recent times, after Sally's departure, the visit to the cat adoption facility to check out the gray tabby you brought home. 

You are dogless and catless at the moment, a running conversation in your mind about which to essay next. The cat, Goldfarb, was an absolute joy, but it is a tad short of a year that he has been gone, a probable victim of a marauding coyote.

Books are like the dogs and cats seeking your attention and adoption. Make no mistake about it, most books you bring home are meant to be read more than once, thus kept, regarded, bonded with as you would bond with a dog or cat brought home to share your book reading and book writing adventures.

Even though you want a particular book to in effect take you to places physical and emotional you've never been nor thought to go, certain books are of no interest to you. Some breeds of dogs barely impress themselves on you, while others still cause you to remind yourself you are not drawn to the breed. The last dog you found to be attractive turned out to be a purebred Australian Cattle Dog, one of your favorite breeds and perhaps too much dog for you at this stage of your life. Thus the advent of Goldfarb, the cat.

You want an animal presence in and about your studio, every bit as much as the books in present residence, while numerous, are not enough. Dog or cat and book represent a living personality, an ongoing presence, a challenge, a reminder that you, comfortable with yourself, consider yourself incomplete with no cat, dog, or book.

Book and animal bring a presence into a room; they radiate agenda, curiosity, vitality. You've had recent experience with feral cats, who are wary of human contact. You've had recent experiences with books that require a patient approach before they will reveal portions of themselves to you.

There are photos and paintings of past dogs and a special pile of the hundred novels you're dealing with in your new writing project. Dogs, cats, and books have filled your life with memory, reflex, and the sense of complicity in the glorious conspiracies of a life outrageously lived.

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