I Learned True Descriptive Writing from My Dog
For a writer, it’s one thing to learn the fluidity of descriptive writing content in a classroom. Examples of Alexander Pope’s poetry or the richly-detailed boredom of Fyodr Dostoevsky’s novels are often used as pedastals to achieve, if at least for a moment, in hundreds of colleges and English degree programs. However, my dog acts as a far more effective professor in real time when it comes to learning how to put descriptive writing to the test.
Yes, He’s a Thief
The very nature of my Chinese pug involves his repetitive inclination to steal others’ property, especially my warm food just recently served onto a clean plate, the flavors and smells invading the dinner table area as if they own the very air around them. To my dog, these same olfactory stimuli are the signals for him to pounce like a rabid tiger. However, my canine friend is not a fool, although he does resemble a black, furry frog or Marty Feldman reincarnated as a lower being. This particular dog knows enough to wait until my back is turned, distracted by my wife’s conversation or the need for a cold drink.
With the silence of a summer breeze moving through the full leaves of a birch tree, my Pug jumps on a chair and attacks his prey with all the mouth his little dog face can muster. The only clue to the crime of culinary larceny involves his being caught in the act with a haphazard face covered by sour cream and salsa, as well as half my freshly-cooked enchilada suddenly missing off the once-filled plate. The small lick marks also help provide the immediate circumstantial evidence against the suspect.
The Dog Forces My Writing
Despite my anger at losing my food, there are enough instances of canine criminality on a regular basis that I have no choice but to write them down. The details of his pirate exploits in my kitchen demand written recording, even if I have to suffer the loss of a maple donut bar or two in the process (those thefts are really the worst, though, especially on a Saturday morning when a bleary-eyed, sugary maple donut breakfast with cold milk sounds really good).
My pug’s loyalty betrays itself for a simple, slimy slab of bologna, so I have no illusions that in a house of three women I am an island alone to myself. He is my bulging-eye Benedict Arnold, but my dog still manages to sit next to me at the end of every night, happily asleep in my company while a drone off the end of day with a TV cable channel offering. No wonder the small fellow inspires my writing to capture the moments.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.