I don’t usually think of my current dog, Polly, as my intellectual muse and partner. Not the way Patch was. I think of Polly more as my personal fitness trainer, since as a hound dawg who needs to run, she forces me to get outside and walk or run every single day, no matter what the weather is like.
I figure I can learn something about writing from everyone, even Polly, if I watch and listen closely enough. I just didn’t figure that she’d line up so well with Ray Bradbury.
Today was spectacular, warm. Low lunar tide meant the beach stretched out forever, and we could walk for miles along the river without fear of drowning.
Polly ran ahead, ran behind, leaped over the channels and waterfalls where water spilled out of the marshes with the tide and back to the river. Then I saw her lying on her back in the distance.
She ignored me. When she finally ran back to me, she was grinning from ear to ear, brown gunk matted to her fur.
Yeah, she knew the rule – no rolling in dead stuff, no matter how delicious it smells.
But she did it anyhow. When that decaying bass or pelican beckoned, she just had to. And she was completely delighted with herself for doing it. A couple of well-thrown go-get-’em sticks got her in the water to wash off most of it, and a bubble bath in the driveway when we got home did the rest.
She was one happy girl, ‘cause she listened to her heart instead of to me and those silly rules.
Today’s Wall Street Journal features a cultural conversation with Ray Bradbury by Tom Nolan, on the occasion of Bradbury’s 1,112 page story anthology that’s dropping next week.
Bradbury talked about his writing in a variety of genres: “If it exploded in my mind and something came to me, I wrote it. I never thought about it. I don’t believe in thinking about stories; I believe in doing them….It’s all from the heart.”
So, yeah. From the heart. Just do it. And break some rules.