This morning as I was making toast I noticed a tiny, tiny, pale spider crawling across the kitchen counter. I was going to capture her and put her outside, which is what I usually do with spiders, but I realized she would quickly die in winter weather. So, I lured her into an empty toilet paper tube and wedged her new house between a table leg and the wall.
Animals make perfect companions for writers. A dog will get you outdoors for a walk and offers unconditional love. A cat brings her own capriciousness into your writing day, often with delight as part of the bargain. If nothing else, animal companions add a dimension to a writer’s life that is outside the human experience and thus, valuable.
Not all animals make perfect companions, however. Being hidden away in her toilet paper tube, the little spider is unavailable to provide an ear when I’m reading a new poem aloud. Jack, our yellow Lab who passed away this year, used to listen intently. He was wonderfully cuddly. I imagine if I try to snuggle with the little spider on the couch, I’ll quickly lose her in sofa cushions if I can find her to begin with. As far as a leash goes—probably not practical, and if my neighbors saw me walking down the street gently carrying and conversing with a toilet paper tube, well . . .
For now, Bailey, the fuzzy white dog across the street, lets me rub her and gives me kisses. Oliver, a neighbor’s black cat comes to meow and be petted when I step outside mornings. He and Jack used to rub noses, but he seems quite content with human greetings. A silky border collie named Shadow often greets me at the track where I walk. She makes my day.
When you’re a writer, solitude is a splendid gift and often a rare one. Solitude gives a writer time to think, to ruminate, to contemplate, to observe, to study, and to write. Now that I’m retired from the world of journalism, it’s an enormous blessing to be writing away and not be interrupted. You can hear your own writing. For many writers, interruptions can’t be avoided, especially when they involve young children, a spouse, a partner or another family member or good friend. Unfortunately if you believe you shouldn’t feel frustrated, you heap more frustration upon your keyboard which sits abandoned.
An animal friend or two, however, is the perfect companion—I’ll let you know if a whole family of tiny spiders comes marching out from behind our table next spring.
Thank you to all mooingaround.com readers and contributors, and to Adamy Damaris Diaz of Artistik Dreamlife LLC (and a cat lover) for administering the site. We had a great start-up year, and I appreciate all of you. Please contact us with your thoughts and inform us if you have writing to share. Let us continue to build a creative community.
May 2014 bring you solitude and companionship.
Nan Lundeen – www.nanlundeen.com