It Began With Dog Sitting

I was really dedicated to it!

It began while I was dog sitting for my uncle. My uncle would be working somewhere out of state. Or on a job that would land him having to spend a few nights at a hotel.

And his wife – his wife at the time – would go & visit relatives in Southern Ohio.

Now, Dear Reader, I don’t know if you are familiar with a breed of dog called Shih Tzu, but they are an interesting breed.

They are ugly. Having a smooshed face. Big black eyes.

There temperament… well, it’s like that of a Ground Hog.

Reason I’m linking the two: BOTH animals seem not to mind burying their faces in things, growling & digging away.

What was it I mentioned being dedicated to in the beginning?

Well, that would be the first novel-length manuscript I started in college, An American Sunset.

I was alone, as you know, dog sitting, when I started typing away at what would become the third chapter.

Don’t get me wrong: it was a horrible manuscript.

(I’m mature enough, now, to write those words.)

But, oh, Reader, I submitted the hell out of one bastard of a story.

I submitted to New York.

I submitted to Los Angels.

I submitted to Ol’ Paris.

I submitted Selected Chapters to Literary Magazines.

At the time, the time of all the submitting, I was submitting poetry, as well.

For some odd reason, there was some demarcation, for me, about poetry & prose.

My manuscript would be considered “Literary”.

If it had been published, it would have fallen under the category of “Literary Fiction”.

And that is what so much wanted.

I wanted to be considered an “important” writer.

I had studied the Big Bad Boys of books (THAT list could go on & on) & I desired to leave something of my life behind.

Something important that could touch & reach & provoke something in the minds of millions of readers. But I also wanted to “fix” modern prose. I wanted every sentence in that manuscript to be a Stream-of-Conscious assault on the world I found to be reprehensible.

What has changed, now?

Someone recently told me a Self-Published book – yes, yes, yes: a “vanity” press – if it were read by a just a hundred people, she would be proud of me.

That is coming from an E. M. S. worker. Someone that has helped thousands.

And she is my hero!

My writing style has changed. My goals have changed. But there is no chink in the armor of my ambition.


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