The Dog And the Leash


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Dog And the Leash

By Nandy Ekle

I took part in a survey recently—one question, intended to make you think introspectively: name one thing you wish you could bring back from your childhood. This question definitely did get my brain cells working.

I started thinking about what kind of child I was. And then a story bubbled which gave me my answer.

Once upon a time, a girl had a dog. This dog was very energetic and very powerful, and the girl had to learn to control it. She clipped a leash to its collar and they went for a walk. The dog wanted to run and play, and he wanted the girl to run and play with him. But he was big and strong and the girl usually ended up huddled in a corner with a skinned elbow or a tear in her jeans.

But she couldn’t get rid of the dog because he was her constant companion. He went everywhere she went. He slept next to her at night, got up and went to school with her in the morning, came home and ate dinner with her, took baths with her, and then went to bed with her every single night.

And every day she took him for a walk on the leash. She learned to tell him no, that she didn’t want to run. She pulled on the leash to slow him down when he went too fast. And she yanked the leash if he tried to run after a bird or a rabbit.

But she also gave him treats. She bought tasty things for him to chew on. She gave him his favorite snacks. She scratched him behind the ears and made sure he had plenty of healthy food and water.

One day she took her dog out for a walk. She took hold of his collar with one hand and held the leash in the other. She rubbed the metal clip of the leash on the metal loop of his collar, but she didn’t really attach them. Instead she hung the leash around her neck, held her arm out as if she actually was holding the leash, and they began their walk. And an incredible thing happened. Her dog walked as if he really was attached to the leash. He didn’t run away from her, or drag her, or jump around. He walked calmly by her side and obeyed her when she talked to him.

After a while she remembered how much fun it was when he was running and jumping, and she wanted him to do that again. So she pretended to take the leash off his collar, but he still stayed calmly by her side. It wasn’t until she began to run that the dog started running as well.

So, I’ve gone through all this to say, I’m the girl and my imagination is the dog. I’ve spent so much time and energy learning to control it, and now when I want it to run wild, it looks at me as if I still have it leashed. If I could bring one thing back from my childhood, it would be my wild and free imagination.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

The Dog And the Leash


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Dog And the Leash

By Nandy Ekle

I took part in a survey recently—one question, intended to make you think introspectively: name one thing you wish you could bring back from your childhood. This question definitely did get my brain cells working.

I started thinking about what kind of child I was. And then a story bubbled which gave me my answer.

Once upon a time, a girl had a dog. This dog was very energetic and very powerful, and the girl had to learn to control it. She clipped a leash to its collar and they went for a walk. The dog wanted to run and play, and he wanted the girl to run and play with him. But he was big and strong and the girl usually ended up huddled in a corner with a skinned elbow or a tear in her jeans.

But she couldn’t get rid of the dog because he was her constant companion. He went everywhere she went. He slept next to her at night, got up and went to school with her in the morning, came home and ate dinner with her, took baths with her, and then went to bed with her every single night.

And every day she took him for a walk on the leash. She learned to tell him no, that she didn’t want to run. She pulled on the leash to slow him down when he went too fast. And she yanked the leash if he tried to run after a bird or a rabbit.

But she also gave him treats. She bought tasty things for him to chew on. She gave him his favorite snacks. She scratched him behind the ears and made sure he had plenty of healthy food and water.

One day she took her dog out for a walk. She took hold of his collar with one hand and held the leash in the other. She rubbed the metal clip of the leash on the metal loop of his collar, but she didn’t really attach them. Instead she hung the leash around her neck, held her arm out as if she actually was holding the leash, and they began their walk. And an incredible thing happened. Her dog walked as if he really was attached to the leash. He didn’t run away from her, or drag her, or jump around. He walked calmly by her side and obeyed her when she talked to him.

After a while she remembered how much fun it was when he was running and jumping, and she wanted him to do that again. So she pretended to take the leash off his collar, but he still stayed calmly by her side. It wasn’t until she began to run that the dog started running as well.

So, I’ve gone through all this to say, I’m the girl and my imagination is the dog. I’ve spent so much time and energy learning to control it, and now when I want it to run wild, it looks at me as if I still have it leashed. If I could bring one thing back from my childhood, it would be my wild and free imagination.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

The Dog And the Leash


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Dog And the Leash

By Nandy Ekle

I took part in a survey recently—one question, intended to make you think introspectively: name one thing you wish you could bring back from your childhood. This question definitely did get my brain cells working.

I started thinking about what kind of child I was. And then a story bubbled which gave me my answer.

Once upon a time, a girl had a dog. This dog was very energetic and very powerful, and the girl had to learn to control it. She clipped a leash to its collar and they went for a walk. The dog wanted to run and play, and he wanted the girl to run and play with him. But he was big and strong and the girl usually ended up huddled in a corner with a skinned elbow or a tear in her jeans.

But she couldn’t get rid of the dog because he was her constant companion. He went everywhere she went. He slept next to her at night, got up and went to school with her in the morning, came home and ate dinner with her, took baths with her, and then went to bed with her every single night.

And every day she took him for a walk on the leash. She learned to tell him no, that she didn’t want to run. She pulled on the leash to slow him down when he went too fast. And she yanked the leash if he tried to run after a bird or a rabbit.

But she also gave him treats. She bought tasty things for him to chew on. She gave him his favorite snacks. She scratched him behind the ears and made sure he had plenty of healthy food and water.

One day she took her dog out for a walk. She took hold of his collar with one hand and held the leash in the other. She rubbed the metal clip of the leash on the metal loop of his collar, but she didn’t really attach them. Instead she hung the leash around her neck, held her arm out as if she actually was holding the leash, and they began their walk. And an incredible thing happened. Her dog walked as if he really was attached to the leash. He didn’t run away from her, or drag her, or jump around. He walked calmly by her side and obeyed her when she talked to him.

After a while she remembered how much fun it was when he was running and jumping, and she wanted him to do that again. So she pretended to take the leash off his collar, but he still stayed calmly by her side. It wasn’t until she began to run that the dog started running as well.

So, I’ve gone through all this to say, I’m the girl and my imagination is the dog. I’ve spent so much time and energy learning to control it, and now when I want it to run wild, it looks at me as if I still have it leashed. If I could bring one thing back from my childhood, it would be my wild and free imagination.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Yes, I’m Going There


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Yes, I’m Going There

By Nandy Ekle

 

Of course there are always at least two sides to everything. One rule I’ve heard is to branch out and try new things, to research and learn, let the imagination run. The other side of that rule is to write what you know.

I’ve thought about that for a while. I love to pretend I’m someone else and go through their adventures, even the most painful kind. I love to learn new facts and see how things work, what other places look and smell like. In short, I’m a person who enjoys new experiences.

But one day the thought occurred to me, who better to write about arachnophobia than a bona fide anrachnophobe? Who can describe the terror better than someone who breaks out in the proverbial cold sweat, someone whose muscles clench up and freeze when an eight-legged monster creeps across the floor? No one who has never suddenly realized their arms and legs have crawled back into their body will ever be able to accurately describe the way the air leaves the room and their eyes glue themselves to the creature as it runs to hide in a corner until you’re not looking so it can jump on your head and tangle in your hair, laying egg sacs in your skin . . .

Yes, well—now you see how writing what you know can be a definite advantage.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Yes, I’m Going There


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Yes, I’m Going There

By Nandy Ekle

 

Of course there are always at least two sides to everything. One rule I’ve heard is to branch out and try new things, to research and learn, let the imagination run. The other side of that rule is to write what you know.

I’ve thought about that for a while. I love to pretend I’m someone else and go through their adventures, even the most painful kind. I love to learn new facts and see how things work, what other places look and smell like. In short, I’m a person who enjoys new experiences.

But one day the thought occurred to me, who better to write about arachnophobia than a bona fide anrachnophobe? Who can describe the terror better than someone who breaks out in the proverbial cold sweat, someone whose muscles clench up and freeze when an eight-legged monster creeps across the floor? No one who has never suddenly realized their arms and legs have crawled back into their body will ever be able to accurately describe the way the air leaves the room and their eyes glue themselves to the creature as it runs to hide in a corner until you’re not looking so it can jump on your head and tangle in your hair, laying egg sacs in your skin . . .

Yes, well—now you see how writing what you know can be a definite advantage.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

Why


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Why

By Nandy Ekle

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

I was born a long time ago with an enlarged imagination.

Pretend you have a box that jiggles and thumps and makes all kinds of noises constantly. Something inside that box whispers, knocks, and calls begging you you to open the lid. It tells you how much fun you would have if you let it out. Then it tells you what a great friend it would be. It tells you how it’s suffocating locked in that box. It begins to sound weak and sickly, sometimes hardly able to speak at all.

So you open the lid.

A dark shadowy shape jumps out sucking in a deep breaths of oxygen. Suddenly all the characters begin talking at once and a hundred scenes act out simultaneously as the shadow unfolds itself. You sit back and enjoy the show for a while, picking up bits and pieces of stories. And the shadow grows bigger and the voices grow louder. It’s now the middle of the night and you know you’ll never get to sleep like this.

You grab the dark thing by the hand and tell it play time is over; it’s time to get back in the box. It giggles and jerks away. So you chase it a while, trying not to get too caught up in its game. You finally catch hold of it again and try to refold it so it will fit back in the box, but it’s like trying to refold a map–just not gonna happen.

You get an idea. Grabbing a pen and paper you write down some of the stories the characters acted out. The more you write, the smaller the shadow gets and the quieter the voices get. Finally you can grab the dark thing by the ear, drop it in the box and close the lid. Now you can sleep.

This is why I write.

Calling the Doctor


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Calling the Doctor

By Nandy Ekle

Entire new computer system. Tons of mandatory overtime. Drama going on all around me, in the work place, out of the work place. Chocolate therapy adds weight in places that I never wanted to see weight again. Retail therapy is expensive and piles up the bills. My gripe and scream fits do nothing but get me weird stares.

t’s times like these that I have to remember who and what I am. I am a writer. I’ve been a writer since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Reading stories and telling stories have always been as natural for me as breathing. Words are my toys, companions, my comfort.

When dark rainy days come along, the acceptable way to vent is to write it out. You don’t even have to have a starting place. Just put the pen on the paper–and I do mean pen and paper because the physicality of doing that also has its place–and start writing. Free writing is a prewriting exercise in which you just write the words that come into your head. Spelling and punctuation is absolutely not to be considered during this time.

Several things happen during this process. For one thing, you vent all the frustrations bottled up inside while dealing with unpleasant adventures flinging themselves at your face. Also the word veins in your imagination loosen up and allow a flood of wonderful words to come through. And sometimes the biggest surprise is what lives down under the sludge of a bad day is actually a superhero of a story that’s just been hiding and waiting to be written down.

So when you’re tired and unhappy, take out a pen and paper and try some free writing. The results are amazing.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Grand Week


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Grand Week

By Nandy Ekle

This week has been a very special week for us. For the first time, we have had all of our grandchildren with us. And let me tell you, it has been a great Grand Week. Our oldest is six years old and the youngest is twelve months. And watching them all laugh and play, sing and dance has been an extremely amazing event for us.

One of the wonders of this week, other than the obvious of just having them close to us and enjoying their interactions with each other has been their games. They all have super busy imaginations and they came up with some of the most creative ideas I’ve ever heard. The girls put together a singing group and practiced a specific song until they were comfortable enough to sing it in public and even have a grand finale ending. The boys played cars and car tracks. They all colored pictures and drew on paper. And Nana read stories.

So what does this have to do with inspiration for writing (other than gloating that I got to keep the grands this week)? Listening to the stories the kids made up sparked my own imagination. Each game they played, each song they sang, each story they told stuck in my own head and took a corner to mature in. And, of course, they will get all credit for the ideas they gave their nana.

If your imagination feels like it’s running dry, spend a few days listening to children play together. The well of ideas will suddenly grow too deep to keep up with it.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Grand Week


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Grand Week

By Nandy Ekle

This week has been a very special week for us. For the first time, we have had all of our grandchildren with us. And let me tell you, it has been a great Grand Week. Our oldest is six years old and the youngest is twelve months. And watching them all laugh and play, sing and dance has been an extremely amazing event for us.

One of the wonders of this week, other than the obvious of just having them close to us and enjoying their interactions with each other has been their games. They all have super busy imaginations and they came up with some of the most creative ideas I’ve ever heard. The girls put together a singing group and practiced a specific song until they were comfortable enough to sing it in public and even have a grand finale ending. The boys played cars and car tracks. They all colored pictures and drew on paper. And Nana read stories.

So what does this have to do with inspiration for writing (other than gloating that I got to keep the grands this week)? Listening to the stories the kids made up sparked my own imagination. Each game they played, each song they sang, each story they told stuck in my own head and took a corner to mature in. And, of course, they will get all credit for the ideas they gave their nana.

If your imagination feels like it’s running dry, spend a few days listening to children play together. The well of ideas will suddenly grow too deep to keep up with it.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Visiting Old Friends


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Visiting Old Friends

We had some really good times together. We laughed, we cried, we made mistakes and cured mistakes together. I listened when they cried and complained and they led me in directions I wasn’t sure I could go. I haven’t seen some of these friends in a while and getting back to them has been a wonderful experience.

These terrific friends of mine are the characters in my stories. I have spent a great deal of time with some of them, a little less time with some others, but every one of them has a huge spot in my imagination. Even after I write “The End” on a story, the characters live on in my head.

I like to visit these friends when I feel like I’m in a rut. Re-reading something I wrote a while back is like reading something brand new written by someone else. The theme is easier to see, as well as what works and what doesn’t. And the voices of the characters are more distinct.

Go back and read some of your earlier work and see what you learn from the characters and their stories. You will find a new way to relive an adventure with old friends.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle