Thursday, February 18, 2010
I have a story just up on the new issue of Up the Staircase. "Tandava" was inspired by the deceptively sweet looking canine (I say sweet looking, but you can clearly see he has mischief on the brain) above. Well...him and a host of relationships I've had that eventually, literally, went to the dogs.
Dogs in stories are like dogs in movies or dogs on stage or dogs just about anywhere. They steal focus. Everyone loves a dog story. You just can't help it---dogs make stories that make you smile, cry, laugh or react in a purely visceral manner. Cats are more thoughtful, subtle story devices. You know they are up to something, you just never figure out exactly what. Dogs, though--dogs are obvious, wysiwyg animals. Their pratfalls are almost always slapstick and foreshadowed.
But the coolest thing about dogs is that when one is your friend, you always have a willing conspirator. A being who will goad you on to do your worst--and unerringly say you are the very best, most brilliant, most sublime person on the face of the earth, whatever foolishness you have just committed. Whatever egg is drying on your face. Whatever lover has just walked out of your life. The dog will still be there. Wondering if you taste like chicken.