- TERESA’S THOUGHTS:
Annie is the dog I thought I would never have. It seemed disloyal to love again after losing my sweet boy, Chocolate. Time softened my heartache and eventually Annie and I found our way to each other.
Annie is not a perfect dog but she is perfectly mine and I am perfectly hers. With that we are content.
When my morning alarm goes off telling me it is time to write, Annie and I have a familiar routine. Getting up from bed, I head into the calm stillness of the living room. I turn on one light near the couch leaving the rest of the house dark and undisturbed. Light brings distractions which pull me away from words which have patiently waited all night to be heard.
I’ve tried sitting in a chair at a table, but the coziness of the couch is well suited for quiet morning writing. Settling into the far side of the couch, I cover myself with a blanket, making sure my toes are warmly tucked in.
About this time Annie has made her way out of bed. She waits by the couch for me to lift one end of the blanket before jumping up. She curls up as close to me as she can get. Covering her with our shared blanket, she returns to slumber. For such a small dog, her snuggling presence against my thigh is substantial.
Usually Jemima, the cat, comes over and lies as close to my laptop as she can get. She stretches her paws over the keyboard, for whether I write or not is of no concern to her. Fickle as a feline, she comes and goes as she pleases. But Annie is steady.
Sometimes after writing for a couple of hours Annie wakes. Looking at me, she asks if we are done. Before being taken to the shelter, she lived on the streets. This means her curiosity about when food will be available is deeply rooted. After a reassuring pat on her head, she stretches and returns to sleep.
This is how I write, anchored in place by her furry body.
When the book is complete, should I give Annie credit as a co-writer? Of course, she did not write the book. But would it be ridiculous to suggest she did?
- WHAT I LEARNED THIS WEEK ABOUT WRITING:
I use the word, “that,” way too much when I write. Once my initial thoughts are written, I go back to re-read and edit. If I were to tally up which word is taken out most during the editing process, it would be the word, “that.”
I find it interesting that the word that I use excessively is, “that.” That must change if I am to become the writer that I hope to be. And that is all I will say about that.
EXCERPT FROM BOOK IN PROGRESS:
“Here’s ten reasons why I knew I was not racist.
- I am a good person. Racism is evil. Good (me) is opposite of evil (racism).
- I don’t know anyone more unconditionally loving than my mom who raised me.
- I wasn’t born in the South where most racists are grown.
- I didn’t grow up around black people, so I have no reason to fear them.
- I’ve never said the hateful words that slip like serpents from rotten tongues.
- I’m educated with a college degree.
- I didn’t vote for Trump. I was outraged by those who did and told them so.
- I listen to jazz, reggae and soul music. I played Sam Cooke songs at my wedding. And Tina Turner? C’mon!
- I’m a Unitarian Universalist. Our first principle is, “We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of each person.”
- If Oprah were to start a religion, I’d join.
And there’s more evidence. For there are three people I love fiercely and would lay down my life for. They are my husband Noel, and my children Alexandria and Alyssa. They are black. How can I be a married to a black man and be the mother of black daughters and be racist? Knowing and loving them gives me racist immunity.
Imagine my surprise when in March 2018, in the quaint town of Langley, Washington a sliver of a thought crept in that I might, much to my amazement, possibly be racist. That the racist immunity shielding me because I have a black family might not actually exist.”