Some writers spring out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and attack their daily work with vigor. I can’t do that. I’m a night person. The Muse won’t have anything to do with me until after 9:00 p.m. and quickly vanishes between 2:30 and 3:00 in the morning.
Since my daughter has a bedtime of 9:30 and my wife (who gets up at 4:30 a.m. for work) retires early, writing at night is a logical and workable venue — except for Korki, the canine calamity.
Aldous Huxley once wrote, “To his dog, every man is Napoleon.” Aldous Huxley was wrong.
Korki, a sixty pound package of manipulation and impatience, came to live with us a couple of years ago over my objections. Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I’m a farm boy at heart. As long as I can remember, animals have been an integral part of my life. It’s just that the family wanted a house dog, and I don’t like to live with critters.
Korki is a pretty good fellow so long as he is the object of attention. His favorite pastimes are eating, sleeping, attracting attention, and distracting me when I sit at the keyboard. To him, I’m nothing more than an indentured servant.
Consider this typical scenario from my daily journal:
8:25: Walk the dog to avoid interruption during session with The Muse.
9:00: Wife hits the hay so she can wake up at her usual ungodly hour.
9:25: Boot computer in anticipation of composing my next masterpiece.
9:30: Hug and kiss daughter so she can hit the hay. Sit at computer in anticipation of bountiful production.
9:32: Dog bounds into the room with his rag toy and demands that I play tug of war. Call dog derogatory names, which he interprets as encouragement.
9:58: Dog tires of the game and leaves me with a slimy, wet piece of rag on my lap.
9:59: Look at monitor. Try to establish train of thought. Feel presence of Muse entering the room.
10:00: Dog returns, moaning and wiggling—needs a potty break. Muse backs away.
10:01: Dog circles yard and scratches at the door to come back inside. Someone trained him to expect a treat when he returns from a potty break. No potty this time. Dog demands treat anyway. Dog wins.
10:07: Potty announcement again. Suspecting a ruse, I ignore him. Where is Muse?
10:08: Dog barks, sounding like a two hundred pound St. Bernard. Awakens wife.
10:09: Wife unleashes fury on me and trudges down the stairs to let the dog out. Returns in two minutes, mad at the dog because he didn’t go potty. I am lectured for twenty-two minutes about hard work in the morning and my lack of consideration for her plight.
10:32: Dog comes into my study, lays on my right foot, and goes to sleep. I offer silent thanks for the peace. Muse sends extrasensory message—””Not tonight, I have a headache.”” Stare at monitor.
2:45: Give up and go to bed. Have strong desire to wok the dog.
I’m too soft hearted to harm an animal, but you can bet that, the minute I have a spare $432.68, an oak door with a dead-bolt will fill the archway into my study.
Excuse me, now. I have to take the dog out.