Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

A Dog’s Point-of-View

In All About Me, Dog communication, Shelley Widhalm on March 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

Zoey the dachshund poses for a photo shoot as she relaxes atop newspapers.

My point of view is first person. It’s “I,” “me,” “mine” and “it’s all about me.”

The way I think about my life is in terms of me and what happens around me that I see, smell, taste and experience. I’m all about trying to make sure my needs are met.

I’m a dog, so I’m supposed to be self-centered, or at least to a point.

That point is the fact that I’m your best friend. I am your follower as you tell me what you want to do with our day. Go for a walk? Yes! Come outside with me as I bask in the sun? Yes! Pet me and love me and tell me that I am your girl. Of course!

As you can see, my point of view becomes second person when I want something from all of the “you’s” in the world, especially my main, “You.”

My main “You” is Shelley, my pet parent, the one who loves me unconditionally. She tells me so in words, hugs and pets, and way too many kisses that can be kind of embarrassing,

I let her know I love her back with morning kisses and cuddling and eager tail wags when we meet up again anytime she heads off to her stupid work.

I engage in the second-person point of view when I think about others. I think things like: You need to give me some of your yummy looking dinner. You need to pet me. You need to play with me. Now. And if you don’t, I will bark.

And bark again until I get my way. And get noticed. And am acknowledged for my role in our story.

So back to me, I am the center of my world, your world and everyone else’ world as I trot along, looking as cute as ever.

Dog-Themed Love

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm on March 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

Zoey the dachshund is cute eating ice cream. She believes that she's cute no matter what she does.

The theme of my life boils down to one word: me!!!

The main message of my story is that I’m cute. The message that people get when they see me out on walks or at PetSmart is that I’m head and nose above the other cute dogs.

The passersby want to pet me for this reason and probably because my fur – I am a long-haired miniature dachshund – is really soft and quite pretty.

In other words, the theme is that I am top dog.

Theme, according to books about the writing craft (why aren’t there books about the craft of barking?), is the deeper layer of meaning that runs through the surface of a story. What I say is the depth comes from the unconditional love that arises between a dog and her owner.

The deeper layer is how I can be a good dog even though I want to bark at everything, grab treats when I’m not supposed to and rummage through what’s not mine, I don’t. Well, except for the barking, of course.

My breed is known for being barkers.

I like to bark at unfamiliar noises, particularly noises that repeat and I find to be annoying (like the dump truck coming down the alley) and bike riders that ride too fast on the sidewalk with their wheels jangling on the cement cracks.

I also bark to say, “here I am;” “come here and pet me;” or “come here and play.”

The theme of my story is that I’m cute, a fact I communicate through my barking, though there probably isn’t any deeper layer to my yipping and yapping . Except that my bark can be low, growly and rumble with a snarl thrown in if I really get mad at the noises.

Oh, I forgot, I’m supposed to be a good girl.

And don’t forget CUTE!

* See Shelley’s blog on the same topic at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/theme-in-writing-reading/

Reading the Dog Way

In All About Me, Chasing smells, Shelley Widhalm on March 11, 2012 at 10:30 am

Zoey is the center of her story, a plotting, but cute dachshund.

Duh, dogs don’t read. If I were to read, I would read anything with a dog on the cover, a dog character or a dog plotting to get even for not having a major role in great literature.

Enough about books.

The way I read is I sniff. I can figure out the source of smells – another dog, a dropped scrap of food or food cooking on a grill – by hanging around telephone and light poles, trees or whatnot as if staring at a sunset. I smell this and that, like thinking there is red and yellow coloring the sky.

My sense of identifying characters comes from listening to sounds.

Is it the neighbor coming upstairs? If I hear the click of her heels, I bark triple time, hoping she’ll come over to play.

Or is it the trash trucks coming down the alley? If there are the usual clanks and bangs, I bark extra loud, telling the truck to shut up.

If it’s the trains, I don’t say anything. I like the whistles and the rumble of wheels, kind of like a heartbeat broken by a scream.

Dialogue is a matter of all the talking I hear around me, interspersed with a bark, a pant or rolling on my back, seeking pets.

As for plot, when it’s about me and what I do all day long, it’s thrilling. The mystery is when Shelley, my pet parent, will come home, but it’s usually after work because I get bones in the morning, a kiss and a “Be a good girl.”

As if.

The end.

And happily ever after, because I’m here, the center of my own story.

* See Shelley my pet parent’s blog on reading at Shell’s Ink. http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/

A Dog’s Journaling Exercise

In All About Me, Shelley Widhalm, Wanting My Own Rules on March 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

Zoey's next to her journal, the one with her picture on the cover.

I am a dog, therefore I do not journal. I do not write. I do not write poetry. I do not say profound things.

But I do like to play, to chew, to run around the yard and to bark.

If I were to journal, this is what it would look like:

* Monday: Go with Shelley, my pet parent, to her mother’s house and run-kiss her mom before sprinting around the back yard, barking loud-loud to let the other dogs know I’m back. I sniff and run and stop for the extra interesting smells. Wait for my special treat when Shelley and her mom go to lunch and coffee. Take a nap. Go home with Shelley. Nap in the car.

* Tuesday: Nap while Shelley goes to work. Wag my tail and wiggle my whole body when she comes home. Pout when she has to leave again, though she gives me a treat and says she’s sorry but will be back soon, very soon. How long is “soon?”

* Wednesday: Nap while Shelley goes to work. Sit outside when she comes home and engage in some barking, but then I have to go inside. “No bark,” she says. No what? More pouting when Shelley has to go to work again. What is this? I’m a dog, and I need attention.

Thursday: Wait for Shelley to come home from work. Grab at her papers to get her to play and squeal in delight when she does. Get out teddy bears for tug-of-war.

Friday: More of the same. Come on Shelley, stop going to work.

Saturday: Work again? Seriously!

Sunday: Shelley’s mine again. She has a day off. That means playtime.