I was running with my ancient Italian Greyhound Tootsie (God rest her sweet soul) around the Elementary School park near my house one fine warm late Spring afternoon. Our timing was such that we were running this quarter mile loop just as school was getting out. Standing on a hill overlooking the school as we approached were three moms who looked like they were dressed to go out on a fancy date, complete with bling rather than just in a carpool lineup, At each of their sides sat true beauties of the dog world; two Golden Retrievers and a Yellow Labrador, each in his or her (I didn't check for gender) prime and the two retrievers golden locks were blowing in the light breeze, revealing fancy blinded collars and causing them to look as if they were ready for the runway. Between the six of them, there was a fancy party going on.
Here came me in my schlubby sweats and a ratty t-shirt (however at a respectable enough pace to have darkened my gray t-shirt with "neck sweat" and my dog with her "might have been worn out two seasons ago" sweater fitting a bit too loosely. As we rounded the corner you could almost hear the 'out of the car' carpool mom's eyes rolling at the site of our disheveled selves. Then the oddest thing of all happened. All three of the beautiful golden colored dogs looked at Tootsie with what appeared to be a mix of pity and curiosity. A harrumph and we were dismissed, not cool enough...
We kept running, perhaps at an even quicker pace in our retreat. I often get inspiration for my writing when I run and I had no idea that that day was one of them! I also often talk aloud to myself and to Tootsie when we run and have been known to even kneel in the middle of a run and dictate into my voice app on my phone so I don't lose a potentially great inspiration, now I talk into my iWatch which is so nerdy it's cool, right???
As we rounded the next corner I said out loud, "I KNOW THAT THIS MAY SOUND ABSURD... BUT I THINK MY DOG MIGHT BE A NERD..."
Sometimes a title comes before the story This time both the title and the first stanza for my upcoming collaboration with the awesome illustrator John Woods came to me on a run.
Once I fleshed out the story and rewrote it about seventy-three times, I watched my two cats Maple and Ember wrestling in my office. They both ended up with little pieces of paper stuck to their noses and I said aloud, "I KNOW THAT THIS MAY SOUND UNIQUE, BUT I THINK MY CAT MIGHT BE A GEEK!"
So, ladies and gentlemen, I have concluded that running is a good way to get great ideas AND talking to oneself is useful, EVEN if you talk back.
NOW, if I could just get a publisher to pick these two books up we'd be all set!