A green-scaled monster sinks its literary fangs into me as I turn the pages of books bearing other authors’ names and I am infected with a hearty dose of publishing envy. I have become a mean, vindictive, petty little person and sometimes even I don’t like me very much. For you see, I remain unpublished. What am I, chopped liver? (Old New York Yiddish saying.) When I see novels published and praise lavished on topics covered in my own book (tear-jerking dog memoirs, family tragedies, cancer, alienation, love lost and regained ---- you get the picture) and then my queries are ignored since who the hell am I (that chopped liver thing again) well, I’ll tell ya, I get damned depressed! Gripe, complain, whimper. Thus I turn to my ultimate source for advice --- the puppy.
“Maybe it’s cause you dress so funny.” The puppy raises an eyebrow in distaste as she looks me up and down. And raises the other eyebrow.
“They don’t see me, so that really can’t be it.” I have been whining about the rejection of a poem and by whining I’m treading deeply into puppy territory. A muddy landscape.
“Well, I see you, and it bothers me plenty. You got lotsa stuff in your closet. Let’s go see. I bet we’ll find some great things.” The puppy has always held a burning desire for closet exploration and she has finally hit upon a reasonable motive. A canine wardrobe mistress whom Disney would instantly reject. Our little fairy tale has yet to be written.
“That sweater you’re wearing has a big hole.” She’s right. Huge hole. Fetchingly arranged over my heart so that my red turtleneck peeks through the black cashmere. Fashion chutzpah or blatant sloth?
“You’re the one who chewed it.”
“Well, I don’t do that anymore. I’ve grown up.”
“What about yesterday? The boot liner incident?”
“Those were all worn out and now you need new ones, so you should thank me. I had only your best interests in mind when I ate them.” Her head is buried deep within the closet and her tail stub rotates in glee. I refrain from a malicious impulse to close the door and run. Fast.
The puppy reappears draped in a lilac silk Nehru shirt that had slipped behind the laundry basket. Definitely a lovely color for her. She sneezes and peers through a buttonhole. “You otta check this out. ‘Course it could use a cleaning. In fact there’s lots in there that’s kinda dusty. Wear this with those black pants. I’ll go find some shoes.” She turns tail and disappears farther into the depths. I’m actually quite pleased with her selection.
“Red shoes. Red shoes. We need red shoes.” I hear her chanting but it worries me that I can’t see her. Still, as long as she’s babbling, she can’t be snacking on anything of potential wearable value. A long black nose pokes through the hanging garments, the straps of cherry red sandals clenched in her teeth. “Wed swooses,” she drools down the heels. “Fwound wed swooses.”
I’ve got to admit, the puppy has some sense of style. The lilac silk, the black leggings, and the wed swooses are a rather stunning combo. Now when I hit that email submission button, they’ll notice me, dammit!
Causes Mara Buck Supports
Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Amnesty International