Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sammy the Saint and Literary Doings

It's been a fun-packed time around these parts.

I went to my first-ever writers' retreat and learned oh my gosh so much. The presenters (see below for some great book recommendations) were enormously talented, and helpful, and funny, and did I mention talented? As were the other participants. I think I did a very bad job of being me: I felt like I said exactly the wrong thing at every opportunity; like I picked the absolute wrong choice of my writing to read; like I was a big impostor who-did-I-think-I-was boob for being there. Do you know what I mean?

I felt like I had shrunk so far as to be nearly invisible.

But once I cast aside my ego, bruised and pulpy from nothing but my own demons pounding the poop out of it, I emerged more educated, more determined, and strangely - after a couple of weeks of being back home with the dogs and Bill - more confident.

Our Kennel Club hosted our four day autumn Agility Trial. Two words? It. Rocked. I stayed too busy to be frustrated by the fact that Sammy wasn't entered. For the most part. But the judges were happy, the competitors were happy, the club members were happy, and the facility was great. We got the most spectators ever and they loved it. The dogs were spectacular. The club fed dinner to about eighty guests and I'm still full!

And yesterday Sam I Am and I did a book signing/reading at Western Kentucky Community and Technical College. I am not usually that nervous at a reading. But the recent humility of the writers' retreat, coupled with the fact that I would know so many in the audience, including and especially Bill, I was a mess and a half.

It poured. I mean there were flash floods and closed roads. I followed Heather (of Emmett and Baby Ben fame), and as we walked to the library I thought, If Heather weren't leading me I'd never find this place, and if I knew where it was I surely wouldn't come in this rain.

I figured I'd be reading to Bill, Heather, Kim who invited me to read, and Lee, who was bringing Bill. The thought of no one coming made me even more nervous.

But they did come. Lots of people. Oh I was glad to have Sam I Am with me. At first he was confused: since when were his Bill and his Heather and his Lee and his walking buddy Tracey at a therapy setting or a reading? But he was so good. I usually bring a little bed for him, but I forgot, so I put his coat on the floor.

Heather sat in the front row, and when she cried during Opie's Song, Sam sat with her for a bit. When I read The Wild Dinner Party and he heard his name, he rejoined me at the podium. The audience was so very kind and generous. I stumbled over more words than usual because of my nervousness, but folks were forgiving. My sweet friend Deb came and took these pictures. Thanks, Deb.

These stories are always so well received. They certainly aren't great literature. They're just little stories. But I think it's because they come from the dogs. That's why people like to hear and read them.

They come straight from the dogs, and all of our dogs speak the same language, don't they?

hug your hounds

Or better yet, sneak them cookies like Lee did! You ROCK, Lee!
*** Book recommendations from the writers' retreat:
edited by Jason Howard
hysterical!!! by Anne Shelby
by Squire Babcock
by Silas House


  1. Sam is just adorable in those photos. Hope all is going well for you. I have been really busy - you know that is? Thought I would check in.

    Take care.

  2. Thank you for visiting our blog. I'm feeling intimidated now knowing that a real writer has read my silliness.

    Sam is lovely and I enjoyed hearing how he gave you support as you read. Yeah for dogs!!!

  3. Sammy looks wonderful and so do you. Bet you got almost as much praise as he did. And well deserved by both of you.


  4. And a lovely time was had by all!


  5. Opie's Song made me cry (not least because I remember Opie) and the Wild Dinner Party made me laugh, but one of my faves is Death by Yoga (maybe because downward facing dog nearly killed me once). Yes, I know exactly how you felt. You are a real inspiration. And good as your dog stories are, your non-dog stories have something warm and universal that I suspect resonates with many women (and men for that matter). I think you should do more of them. You have always been a GREAT (and humorous) storyteller with uncommon insight. :-)

  6. Francarrich from WWNovember 1, 2009 at 1:28 AM

    I knew Sammy would do his stuff for you, he IS a therapy dog after all!

    Pleased to hear that the reading went well.


  7. Patience, your reading was pure sunshine on a very rainy day. I love you Sam! xxxooo, Deb

  8. Good job, Sam!!! What a help he was. That's a nice looking coat too, even on the floor.
    Congratulations to you both on surviving the writers' workshop and your book signings. An awesome month!

  9. Patience you ROCK. Never sell yourself short. I totally enjoy your Blog and can relate a bit as I have two Whippets. Keep the faith and know you are loved by many. Irma

  10. Wow a real book signing...We are very impressed.....and we bet it was a lot of fun for everyone!!! love A+A

  11. I'm glad there's so much good stuff happening in your literary world right now, Patience. And how much fun to have a wonderful Sam I Am as a "prop" who accepts stolen cookies. :-)

    Thanks so much for sharing your writer's retreat materials. I'm so proud Silas House is a Kentuckian and plan to order The Hurting Part--also George Ella Lyon's memoir.

  12. Thanks for visiting our blog. We have a few things in common - dogs, a dog named Sam, Dansko shoes, I just bought my first martingale collar for my rescued stray. I've stopped in Paducah many times, it was a half way point for me when I would gas up the car. And I want to write a book about the rescue and rehabilitation of my stray dog someday. Sam looks so relaxed and patient. - Your new follower and the dogs at Dog Blog for Five Dogs.

  13. I am so happy things went well (at both the retreat and the reading)! Sam I Am is adorable.

  14. Oh Sammy
    I have such a cwush on you
    smoochie kisses,ASTA

  15. You are right. All dogs DO speak the same language. And we are so thankful for the people who understand and give them a voice that others can interpret. If they choose. Sadly, in our opinion, not everyone chooses. Or at least not everyone understands. Even when the words are put into English terms.

    We are so glad YOU give them a voice.
    Jake and Fergi xxoo


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