Dog Walking For Ideas
By Harry Hogg
Hell and fury, I hate this damn toaster. Is there a toaster in the world makes perfect toast? Take this one; it's a "Krups," but the 'u' in the name should be an 'a.' Setting the bloody thing is impossible. A month out of its box, and with ten settings to suit one’s personal preference, you'd imagine, would you not, that setting the thing at five will give me medium toasted bread, right? Nope, setting five burns the toast. Setting four. . . when it pops up, leaves the slices of bread limply hanging over the machine. If I stand over the toaster on a high setting, something will always distract my attention. I offer the fourth burnt slice to Reckless, my dog. He turns away in disgust. But look, is this even interesting? Hell, I bet half of you have stopped reading already. Let's forget the toaster; I'll eat a banana.
I seldom leave my house before writing five hundred words, by which time daylight has crept over the Mendocino hills, and Reckless is scratching at the door to head down to the beach. There are cleverer people than me in the world; I think that is what I was meaning to say when I told you about the complex workings of the toaster.
I have no qualifications with which I can justify my thoughts to you about writing; or why I like to write. I’ve seen vastly more intelligent men than me fail in life because they lacked the grace of good manners and the moral fortitude.
“Reckless, go fetch paper . . . go!”
Between you and me, the nearest town is twelve miles south. Reckless is collecting a newspaper I threw out the kitchen window when he wasn't looking. It's a week old. I just like to keep him on his toes!
You see how easily I’m distracted. Recalling my youth, I was incapable of thinking widely or deeply, more an individual thinker. Age has afforded me many advantages, not least of which is judgment. I'm not exactly certain when the creativity, or whatever else it was, kicked in to look after a seventeen-year-old disturbed dreamer. Perhaps, like the Titanic, I was on my way to the new world without considering what the consequences might be. . . consequences that were accompanied with bone jarring results. Not to mention the sense of drowning.
Mum still talks to me, will love me forever, she says, but couldn’t cope with the childhood secrets. Me, sitting in my bedroom through the night, typing on a Smith Corona typewriter trying not to wake anyone, and feeling smug about my adventures on paper.
Secrets, bloody hell, they're like books, everybody has them. I say enjoy them first and discard them later.
"Com'on Reckless. . . let's get home."
I didn't expect to fall in love, do you know what I mean? I did, however, and yes, it was that head over heels stuff. Love came to me as quick as it left me.
Following the grief, I was looking for a starting point. I’ll call that the hook to the rest of my life. In writing a story, the beginning is when that idea takes hold. The rest should be simple, shouldn’t it? Take the reader step by step in a nice easy fashion; be clear and concise, have a beginning, middle and end and, hallelujah, I've got myself a book. Not, however, a book in which a publisher will show any interest.
Call it cliché, call it economics, call it whatever, but if a hundred books get published, ninety-nine authors won't make enough money to buy good bottle of wine. Something or someone else has to manufacture a profit; it doesn't include the author. So, that said, and being an author, I can damn well start my story, and end it where the hell I like.
"Don't wait for me, Reckless. . . you go right ahead."
In dog years Reckless is older than me, runs like a trooper. Damn him. But hey, this dog has heard it, trust me, several times. Given all this open space you think he's going to stick around and listen to my ramblings all over? Imagine you had a new book to read, and were forced to read the old one three times. That’s Reckless. . . I know. . . I know. He's a dog.
I wrote a song or two but I don’t qualify myself as a songwriter. Friends say, “If you don’t write novels, then you should.” It makes me smile. I love words and always wrote when away at sea, or in my bedroom, with little else to do, often feeling quite lonely.
Torment is a strange thing, I knew I loved my kids and how much they loved me, but something always drew me away to sea. To have once been an awful husband, an even worse father, and yet somehow retained their love doesn’t make me a better man than I think of myself, it makes my family better human beings than me.
So I write. I treasure no possessions. If my life has any value, it is only in the appreciation others have for me. If they love me, like me, wish me well, then my life is rich enough. Writing came late. Perhaps it came at the right time. Maybe it's still too early.
I cannot be the judge.
Harry Hogg is a pseudonym. Harry was born in London and now lives between two homes: a cottage on the Island of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, and a small farm on the Mendocino coastline of California.
“California is wonderful,” he says, “but it’s a fact that I miss the fishermen and friends who influenced my childhood dreams and love of sailing. Tobermory is the ‘rainbow harbor’ of Mull and when you visit you’ll understand why I say that.”
Writing is a pastime between working and traveling. Harry insists that his head is a kind of monument to all the ideas that never developed into anything. He is presently working on a new work entitled: The Sound of the Rainbow.
Harry Hogg has created a website where different works can be viewed.
Please visit when you can: www.Harryhogg.com
Email your essay to Marlene for consideration to be a Featured Writer. This should be your best, polished writing, not a freewrite.
1,000 words or less.
Times New Roman, size 12-font, single space, no paragraph indentions (block paragraphs, please).
Include a title and your 80-word bio.
Please send in the body of the email, no attachments.
Your submission will not be accepted if over 1,000 words, contains offensive language or content, or sent as an attachment.
Email your submission to Marlene Cullen.