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