A Love of Writing, is it Environment or Heredity?

by on October 18, 2011 · 10 comments

in The Widder Curry

I have always liked to write. Once I told my former husband that I wanted to be an author but he told me that I didn’t have the experiences behind me to be a successful writer. With that statement in mind, it was close to 30 years before I tried my hand at writing again.

When I began writing, it was usually letters complaining about some purchase I had made that was faulty; (Once I wrote to the Knudsen Company to complain about some “Rocky Road” ice cream I had purchased that tasted spoiled. Was I surprised when a Knudsen truck pulled up in front of the house and gave me one of every kind of ice cream they made, from quarts to pints, to ice cream sandwiches, etc. It seems that the cream in the Rocky Road had spoiled, and they recalled all of that batch of ice cream. They were rewarding me for saving them a lot of money, and I have became hooked on writing forever.)

I have three daughters – all adequate writers, and now my 15 year old granddaughter, Molly Baldwin, is showing that she also has a talent for creative writing. She recently lost her Black Lab, Jake, and wrote this tribute to him. I would like to share it with all of you – with her permission!

 

In Memory of My Dog ?

Jake
I remember last year,
When I came home,
… You would charge across the floor,
Lick me all over,
Always trying to get my face.
You would bark your loud bark,
The one strangers found scary,
But I knew it meant you were happy to see me.
Your warm tongue leaving sticky trails across my arms.
I remember when we were little, playing with you,
You were always so gentle with us,
Us loud, noisy toddlers,
Forever yanking your tail,
And your ears,
Your slick black hair,
Coarse against our hands.
I remember when I made you swim for too long,
I kept throwing the basketball in the pool,
I thought it was funny watching you chase it around and around.
I’m so sorry.
I remember after your stroke,
How your hind legs turned to Jell-O
How you wanted to greet us when we came home,
But kept running into walls or falling.
I remember as you got better,
but never the same.
I remember that last year,
You were unable to walk,
To eat,
To sleep.
How our Mom had to stay up all night to be there for you.
I remember going on that camping trip for school,
Dad calling me on the day we were to go home,
His words,
“We are putting Jake down today”
Were you aware of your surroundings, Jake?
Is it true that dogs can sense when your owners are in distress?
If so,
You know that not even the humiliation of crying in front of my friends,
Could not stop the tears from cascading down my face,
Or the sobs from causing tremors down my body.
I remember getting off that bus and into the car,
Straight to your side.
I waited for you to be put out of your misery.
I remember my whole family sobbing their hearts out,
Even Dad,
But as much as I wanted to do the same,
My eyes remained dry.
I sat, a cold statue as you munched down on dog biscuits.
Unmoving till the very end.
I hugged your cold lifeless body,
You, but not you,
Whispered my well wishes in the ear that was no longer yours,
And left,
You still in my heart and the guilt still in my soul.
I love you,
I hope you know that.
I miss you,
Jake.

Molly loves to write, and has written a short stories on many different themes. I am quite proud of her and would like to think that she inherited some of my “writing genes.”  What do you think?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ro October 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

Beautifully heartfelt and heartwrenching. She does, truly, have a talent for writing. The acorn doesn’t fall too far from the tree Judi. :) Please tell her I could feel her emotions clearly through her words. My sympathies to Molly for the loss of her beloved dog. My congratulations to her for her writing talent.

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avatar judi curry October 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Hi Ro, thanks for your comments. I think she really has talent and might someday do something with her writing.

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avatar Zach on the side October 19, 2011 at 4:33 am

Hi, Molly! I know you’re reading this. I’m a long time friend of your grandma’s, and I teach English Literature…in Beijing, China! I’m writing to you now from very far away. And I want to tell you that you do indeed have talent. I’ve written and published three books of poetry, and have been a magazine editor as well as an English teacher, so take it from a professional!

It’s a simple fact that we gain power in our writing from powerful events in our lives. We can preserve the great events with great memories in print, and we can memorialize our tragedies to take from them the blessings, beyond the pain. So we can keep what was good and keep it as it felt at the time.

The lines here I like best are “coarse against our hands,” and “you, but not you.” Jake lives on in your words! Keep that pen moving, Molly.

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avatar Molly October 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Hey Zachary,
Thanks for your supportive words. Since I wrote that poem I have become a lot more into writing. I will keep your support in mind in the future, and possibly will have grandma publish more of my work! Thanks for the critique, its nice to know not just freshman and family members like my work. :)
-Molly

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avatar Zach on the side October 21, 2011 at 4:04 am

You’re very welcome. I like a teenager who uses the words, “…(more of/like) my work.” Since you’re receptive, I’ll add a few more thoughts. With poetry, allow your mind to wander all over the place and do all kinds of creative stuff on paper. Then you can always go back and edit, trim, revise, or let that be a springboard to other ideas. The liberty of reworking your drafts gives you the full range of your imagination. You’ll surprise yourself, as the imagination can’t be anticipated by one’s rational mind.

For fiction, in case you’re into forays of that sort, allow yourself to consider many threads in developing plots, etc. Be bold and do in fiction what you might wish to do in life but can’t. And go to “difficult” places conceptually, where some real gems are laying in wait. If you feel an emotional rush as you write, be assured it’s hot stuff. Give yourself all the power of the pen you want, Molly!

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avatar Louisa Golden October 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Wonderful work, Molly. Thank you for letting your grandma share it with us. Your poem touched me and brought back my own experience of losing our old Yellow Lab, Martha a few years ago. I am a lot older than you, but those feelings you describe are the same. Your poem found common human ground, I think, among any person who has loved a dog and suffered that loss at the end.

Louisa and Miss Mollie Pink, CGC

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avatar malcolm migacz October 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

your husband was correct.

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avatar judi curry October 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm

No..he wasn’t. That’s why we are divorced!

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avatar OBLibraryLover October 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Malcolm is wrong. I wonder if he could find a child to tutor or a demonstration downtown to join? Why would he read something or someone he dislikes and then waste his time to comment on it? A misplaced attempt to be witty?
“Get a life” seems so right wing, but also, somehow, appropriate.
Peace and Love to Judi!

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avatar JMW October 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

Molly, hi.
Reading your poem recalled to me one of the saddest days of my life. I hope that doesn’t bother you; it is one of the costs of hitting home.
We had our old girl, whose ferociousness cost us mail delivery even though she was inside a locked house, for fifteen years. I didn’t want her to start with. I mean, I do love dogs, but when the choice really is feed a dog (which at the moment, we don’t actually have) or me, I guess I just get selfish. Me first, at least in this. However, my love did not agree, and one evening when I can home from work I found neither her nor her love present. Of a sudden, the back door flew open and framed, standing there, my love and hers both hugely grinning, merriment evident in their eyes, glee even, and Mooshie skittering sideways across the wooden floor in her tongue-hanging tail-wagging running, as best she could, straight at me. I was done for. Okay, okay, okay. We’ve got a dog. Great. A two-year-old mixed Chow, Pitbull, and Lab.
She actually taught me something; by she, I mean, Mooshie (my love, of course, has taught me a great deal more). It was this: if you want to get close to somebody, you have to learn to play their game. This I discovered one afternoon at Dog Beach, I suppose. The exact moment is not registered. However, we spent many an hour there, and it took quite a long time for Mooshie to get the idea that my hand was a thing which would bleed when battered by her canines (we played a lot of tug-a-war), and that I did not find this event pleasing, but finally she did.
Another time, we were on the oceanfront beach playing catch with a seaweed ball when a Japanese man and his two two-year-olds stopped to watch. It wasn’t just the innocent beaming of the children, the wonder, the laughter as they pointed and stared and giggled in their straight-cut black bangs and bright shorts that I remember, it was also the look of amusement, appreciation, and satisfaction on the face of their father. Mooshie was good that day.
She had a vicious aversion to the vacuum cleaner, but was completely undone by the washing machine and would seek escape through any portal; cringing, quaking, slinking and moaning, only fireworks had an equal effect.
Moosh had a great road map in her head and whenever we approached within six blocks of a known destination, she began to announce our arrival with lusty barks. She went everywhere with me. (Yes, my car was full of dog hair; virtually no one else was willing, except in the most dire circumstances, to ride in it.) Beyond riding around with me (and I don’t mean just short trips – she swam in Puget Sound) she also ended up going to work with me for quite a while.
It happened like this: for a bit I lived in a very small residence, and Moosh was with me. Each morning I let her out to roam around the large lot for inspection and elimination. For weeks, when I called her back inside, she came. I’d check her water and food bowl and go to work. She stayed inside the very small space (100 sf, I guess) until I came home about nine hours later. Then, one morning she didn’t come. Aggravated, I went out to see where she was. There she stood, as far away as possible, looking at me and not moving. Sort of a what-do-you-want look streaming down her snout. She wouldn’t come and I couldn’t catch her, so eventually I hit upon the scheme of getting her into the car. Got ya now! At this point I decided I might just as well take her to work with me; she could stay in the car and I’d come out to check on or walk her every couple of hours on my breaks. She was fine, but a co-worker, whose identity I didn’t discover, began calling Animal Control and reporting that I was abusing my dog by leaving her in the car. I spoke to three or four AC guys (twice when they had cages in hand), plus a couple AC people on the phone, and two city cops about this. The last cop said, leaning in the open window, “Seems okay to me, but the next guy might feel differently.” After that, Mooshie moved inside my office and stayed there until the Production Manager, whom I nicknamed Weaselman, got scared when Moosh rushed him as he entered my office one day.
Alternately wholly independent or utterly dependent, Mooshie brought cheer, and sometimes worry, to our world (ran away for a month one time – hopped out an open car window in traffic on the way into OB one hot summer afternoon and was gone for a month – got tapped by an Explorer on the way. When the couple who found her called and we went to get her, she bruised my shoulder with a nip of happiness while I stood – she got my love, too, and each of us more than once, though not every nip went so high), but, in the end, her worth to our lives so far outweighed the dollars we spent to have her as to make them imminently forgettable.
Ultimately, though, and sadly, one day she grew old. I cleaned up after her and helped her up and, in the end, couldn’t keep it up when her paw abscessed and she tracked blood where ever she hobbled. That was too much for me.
I didn’t want to do it. I knew I had to. I was being weak and selfish. I put it off as long as I could. Then, one day at work, I told my boss I had to leave; I had to go home and put my dog to sleep. Happily, he was a guy who understood. I called my love and told her. She became angry. It didn’t matter. I had to. She knew that.
Mooshie and I went together and alone after we has said our goodbyes to her. I carried her to the car and we drove away leaving my love sad inside. Mooshie remained sweet tempered, confident, happy, secure, and unperturbed until she was gone.

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