How to…

Last night I went to the writer’s critique meeting. It is a new adventure for me. I’ve been sharing my thoughts for a few years now. The vast majority of thoughts centered on interacting with Bernie and Chris.

Bernie and Chris continue being an exciting part of my life. Well, to be truthful, they are my only life.

It is not the way I want it; it happens to be the way it seems to be going.

A few years ago, I tipped my toe in the social waters, only to quickly pull back. Of course, I felt lonely for human companionship.

Physically nudged into it, emotionally I knew I wasn’t ready. All I wanted was a pen-pal, not a physical relationship.

Has anyone tried finding a pen pal on dating networks?

It didn’t help I was too honest filling out the application. I was 75 years old at the time and still naïve enough to believe people were honest.

I discovered how politically unsocial I am. That was before Trump became President. Today my social standing count is a single hand.

Frankly, that’s almost okay. Almost.

It is why today’s article is titled How to. So far it is a failed experiment. It has taken a very, very long time to accept how my mind works. It’s why I have so many failures. But, that’s another story.

Last week, while at a pet therapy meeting I was asked how many tricks I taught Bernie and Chris. Not many.

I don’t even call them tricks. They are commands. I expect my dogs to obey me. Period. I limit commands to the minimum to keep them safe.

Yes, Bernie will sometimes want to play. He brings his rubber toy to me, and we play tug-of-war, which he always wins. Chris couldn’t care less about playing with toys. He limits his play to harassing Bernie. He’s quite good at it.  playtime320

With my brain focused on that snippet of teaching dog tricks, another snippet flashed. It was a comment from last night’s writing critique meeting. We were discussing how to write dialogue. Specifically, when to use italics to cue the reader and when to prompt the reader through narrative.

It’s complicated, or it can be.

Here’s where I transferred such mental gymnastics to try to teach Chris a new command. By using telepathy.

Hey! If I am going to do something stupid, why go half-way. On the other hand, when it doesn’t work… well, did I truly expect it to?

It was a perfect setup. I’m sitting in my living room chair, looking down the hallway. My arms are casually extended on both chair arms. My posture is relaxed.

Chris appears from the bedroom. This is normal for him. In fact, I’ve been waiting for this. Chris is very alert, and if there is any noise, he comes to investigate. Although I wasn’t aware I’d made any noise, just shifting in my chair could have been the reason for his appearance.

Anyway, there he is. Standing perfectly still with his eyes focused directly on my face.

Good! I concentrate my eyes on his eyes. I slowly move my left arm off the side of the chair’s arm. I open my hand, rotate my hand to an underhand cupping motion and gently wave it at Chris.

Come, Chris!

Concentrating hard, not moving my mouth nor uttering a sound, I’m silently using my eyes to urge Chris to come to me.

Chris may shift his eyes to my waving hand; I don’t know. We are about fifteen feet apart. He cocks his head once or twice but remains a statue.

My mental dance continues. My hand continues to wave, my body tenses as I concentrate, drilling my eyes into his. Come Chris, Come, Chris, Come Chris.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t know if or when I broke concentration, but Chris turns away and retreats to the bedroom.

I’ll try again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. It takes patience when you work with animals.

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