Sunday, May 30, 2010

Goals, goals and more goals

Okay, I didn't reach last week's goal by any stretch. I did get a lot done. 5,000 photographs are a lot to sort through. I think I looked at 361 and my eyes crossed. The good news is I can chop 1700 off the list, as soon as I find them in the unnamed folders, because Casey did not go to Scotland with me.

This week is a heavy work week and I start two more courses.  Apparently, there is a box of plants in the garage that needs to make it into the ground, too.  Ky's water therapy was derailed by an injury to both left legs. He got tangled in the ramp when he went after his ball in the pool. He's on steady massage therapy this week.  I'm a busy woman.

I've amended the goal to inputting a minimum one page per day.  It doesn't sound like much but if you could see the chicken scratch all over the current pages you'd realize that amounts to possibly 1,000 words a day.  Except for page 7. It has five words.

How does your week look?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I finished the penultimate draft of Casey's story after a push from Miz Elen. In one of those odd quirks of life, it was actually Casey's second birthday when I lay down my pen.

I'm pleased with it so far.  There are some details that need to be added, some research to verify and photos to go through before I send it off to Readers. Next week I work ten days straight and start two new library courses so I want to get as much done as possible this coming week.  The whirling dervish's path of destruction in the yard has been repaired so I have some time.  He can't exactly be left unattended out there as he treats the new sod like a salad bar but I can fact check and eyeball him at the same time.

My goal is to send Heal Casey out by the middle of June.  It's nose-to-the-grindstone-time, people.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back story

I love back stories.  Whenever I hear something on the radio or tv, I immediately want to know how or why it happened.  I can spend hours(days, weeks or even years) trying to figure out how a rumour started, if subject A is really telling the truth and why is subject B a pathological liar. Why are some people extreme and others midline? Who took the cookie from the cookie jar? And why won't they share?

An entire episode of LOST was devoted to back story last week. I enjoyed it immensely, but most people did not. I think we may have all been confused but that's alright. At some point it will make sense.  I'm okay with waiting until that time.

There are exceptions to my back story interest.  I read a book yesterday, non-fiction, that was half back story and the other half a recitation of facts. It never really took me where the book jacket suggested it would. I suspect the writing style is what put me off more than the content. A dry list of who went where and with whom. No interesting details or conversations. I would love to take my dog out for a walk in the Highlands but it's the conversations(between him and I, or the ones in my head) that anchor those moments.  Ky always investigates the flora, fauna and wildlife that I point out to him on our walks.  If another human accompanies me, those are the times we discuss the "important" details of life.  We invariably solve all the problems of the world.

Yet in my own writing, I usually forget back story. I jump right into the moment and barrel forward full speed ahead. I have to go back in subsequent drafts and fill in motivation.  I know it all, but rarely include it because I figured it all out often several months previous to the actual writing. Back story conversations are a cornerstone of many of our walks.

Motivation not only propels characters forward. It is rooted in back story. How or why a person behaves is usually in response, positive or negative, to an event or way of life that happened in the past. Five minutes ago or five centuries in the past matters not. It happened off-screen, and most importantly, shaped the character. 

Not everyone cares about the why, especially in action adventures. Good guy chases bad guy is enough information for most. The books and movies that satisfy me the most are the ones that make me think about how or why the good guy became so devoted to his path while the bad guy blew his up.

What about you? Are you a fan of back story or does it annoy you?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Circle of Healing

Casey is my parent's dog and he lives downstairs in our house. My boy is a six-and-a-half year old Australian Shepherd Border Collie cross who was born at a local shelter. Kyanite was named after the stone that brings balance into one's life. He's very good at keeping my energy up when it's low, and calming me when it's too high.  I've known him since he was a week old. One of nine pups, he was born with a twisted spine. At first we all thought crooked running was an optical illusion because of his markings.
Other issues presented themselves so he went to see Dr. Langdon, and has been going for the last five years.  She helps keep him straight.

It was because of Ky's experiences that we thought we could  help Casey heal.  He started with Dr. Langdon then moved onto Pawsability, then Canine Wellness.

A few weeks ago, during one of his usual chiropractic sessions, Dr. Langdon noticed a problem with Ky's knees.  She recommended swimming.  It was still cold down in the lake at that point so we dragged him up to Canine Wellness when Casey went for his weekly swim.  Casey thought it was a lot of fun to race around the center and show Ky all the cool things in there. When it came time to swimming though, he was distracted as they went their separate ways - Casey to the pool and Ky to the rehab part of the center.

Tania assessed Ky's knees and thighs.  I had forgotten about an old injury he suffered when he was about a year old.  A clothesline had cut right into the muscles on his inner thigh when he got tangled with another dog. It was a deep cut and caused him a lot of pain for some time. As it healed, I forgot about it.  A lot has happened over the intervening years.  One thing that lingered was Ky's inability to lie his leg flat when he lay down.

While his chiropractic issues are the realm of Dr. Langdon, Tania gave us some good exercises to help relax the muscles.  She also showed me how to massage that area to loosen it up.  Then we tried the wobble board.  None of us had great balance but it didn't faze Ky. He went back up.  The more we worked with him,  the more apparent it became that chiropractic and massage go hand in hand. Both trained professionals told me the same thing about his issues, from slightly different perspectives. I know from my own body that a chiropractic adjustment lasts longer if I schedule a massage for the next day.  That way the muscles are more relaxed and not trying to pull the spine back out of alignment.

Ky came home with a sheet of instructions as well as a second suggestion to swim him.  Because of the lake's temperature, he needs to be warmed up then cooled off after a swim. A fifteen to twenty minute walk before and after would do the trick. How convenient that's about the time it takes us to walk down to the lake.

Yesterday, was our first real attempt at swimming. Ky has never particularly enjoyed the sensation of the ground going out from under him. He likes all four paws firmly planted on the earth. It can be wet, squishy earth but swim?

It was a rousing success. I took his favourite green ball, which floats, and off we went. He sniffed the painted turtle along the side of the road, barked at the swan and dove right in after his ball. Repeatedly. Most of the time, he'd bring it back for me to throw out there again. 
A few times he came out of the lake at a distance from me then spit the ball in my direction. I had him on a 40 foot lead so that he couldn't get spooked and run out onto the road.  There's a fair amount of traffic along that lake.  He did raise his head as the man fishing on the other side of the road came back to this car.

But more than anything, he kept going back into the lake. Over and over, he swam.
Walking back home, then massaging his thigh, I couldn't help but think how the dogs' healing had come full circle. Ky went to a chiropractor which helped Casey. The chiropractor recommended Pawsability for Casey which in turn led to Canine Wellness. Casey's appointments led to Ky's swimming and now I have two dogs in therapy helping each other heal.