Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Art imitates Life. . . sort of

When I was a kid, I used to doodle this scruffy little black dog in the margins of my papers. I don't know where she came from. We never had small dogs when I was growing up, though a few Labs and a German shepherd crossed my path. But once this little black dog flowed out my pen, she kept popping up, decorating my notebooks and class notes with her melancholy face.

Fastforward many years. I'm grown with a DH and kids of my own. My parents have just lost a dog. I thought I could ease their sorrow by picking up a new one at the pound and housetraining it for them. (I'm a firm believer in rescued pets.)

"Yes," the lady at the shelter said. "We have one small dog, but she's been pining so I don't know if she's adoptable. We may have to put her down."

When I came into view of her cage, the little dog that had been unresponsive leaped up and pawed the air like a stallion. The dog seemed to know me and the shelter worker was astonished. "I've never seen her act like that," she said.

"It's my little black dog!" I said disbelievingly, remembering my doodles of her. The resemblance was as uncanny as her immediate joyful response to me. "I have to take her."

Susie and I formed an instant bond and needless to say, she did not go live with my parents. Instead, she became my almost constant companion. She was always ready to go wherever I went. Susie logged so many miles flying under the seat in front of me I wished I could get her a frequent flyer number.

I never forgot that sense of immediate connection when I first saw her. I knew her. I'd been drawing her for years.

So, since nothing is ever wasted on a writer, I decided to use that experience in STROKE OF GENIUS. My hero Crispin has been plagued by a recurring dream of a woman he's never met, so to exorcise this 'ghost' he sketches a nude portrait of her. Imagine his surprise when he meets her in the flesh. If you'd like to try an excerpt, click here.

Have you ever had a sense of instant recognition for someone whom you haven't met before?


Jane L said...

Yes! It is a weird feeling also, its like you have been there with them or met them somewhere.

I have this uncanny sixth sense about my husband, since the very first day we met. If he came into an establishment, I would turn to my girlfriends and say "He's here" without seeng him and they thought I was crazy , sure enough he would be standing across the room with his buddies. I still have it, it is kind of scary sometimes! LOL!

EmilyBryan said...

Think it's his pheromones?

Nynke said...

I'm the other way around: often unsure whether or not I've seen people before when I actually have, and I always forget people's names!

This is a great story about Susie - uncanny! And Jane, wow, I didn't know that kind of thing actually existed, although it's a romance cliché. This man must have phenomenal pheromones, and you must have very good receptors, if that's what it is :).

Mattenylou said...

Susie's a cutie, I think our pets choose us, too.

I love Grace and Crispin's banter, can't wait to read the rest...

EmilyBryan said...

Nynke--I'm bad with names too, but faces generally stick in my head.

Susie was meant to be my little dog. I had to say goodbye to her last November. As nearly as we could figure her age (we were told she was 5 when we got her), she lived to be 17. I miss her every day.

EmilyBryan said...

Mattenylou--I think my pets find me. Now we only have Mack, a 5 year old terrier mix. He tries very hard to be good, but he has so much energy. And terriers, I've been told, always have their own agenda. But he's very lovable and cuddly, my main qualifications for a pet.

So glad you enjoyed Crispin and Grace!

Jane L said...

LOL!! I had to look up the meaning to pheromones. To funny, I call it a weird sixth sense. I try to deny I have this and I dont talk about it often, but I have it with my husband, my three children and one of my brothers, the one I am closes to. I fell on the ice really bad yesterday, I had my phone in my pocket and as my puppy was jumping all over me, thinking this was a game, my brother called me and said "SIS, you ok?" I was like NO!! he has the same weird crazy connection and no we are not twins.
I believe our pets have the same senses sometimes. When you go to adopt a pet and they are instantly yours! They know it and you know it! Ok so Im done spooking myself to day!

EmilyBryan said...

Oh, no, Jane! Hope you didn't hurt yourself in that fall. Ice is nasty stuff.

librarypat said...

You have to wonder if some things are preordained. Susie always was your dog, she was just waiting for you to find her. When I got married, pregnancy followed very shortly afterwards (like 3 weeks). Unfortunately, my husband was already back over Vietnam (B-52's) by the time I found out. After sending him a telegram, I found a t-shirt and got it for him. It was the early 70's and smiley faces were the thing. The shirt had 2 large smiley faces together, 2 medium ones together, and a small one off to the side. That turned out to be our family - my DH and I, our two girls born 15 months apart and our son born 8 years later. I still have the shirt tucked away.

EmilyBryan said...

Pat--How cool. You should frame it with pics of your fam scattered around it.