You Sly Old Turkey, You…

September 9, 2009 at 1:04 am (Uncategorized)

The latest news from the spring carnival is that Sirius the bush turkey – so named by Darkling Jenny – got one away. In fact, he got two. Atta boy, Sirius! Not content squiring just the one female round the garden perimeter, showing off his water views, Sirius took two. And I mean that in the biblical sense. It seems his luck changed once he took them both up a tree, clearly the bush turkey equivalent to teens parking at the lookout for prolonged heavy petting. All Sirius’s hard work and industry has paid off handsomely, the girls finally acknowledging his existence, his nest, and his virility. It’s kind of like Thanksgiving, except our tough turkey is doing all the basting himself.

So it’s all good news on that front – Jenny (who’s flying back to Victoria today, and will be very sorely missed as our retreat winds down) told JB this morning that she thinks there may already be an egg in Sirius’s nest – how cool is that? Mate, what is your secret??!! But now Sirius is a strutting stallion, we do have another small problem. There’s a very unhappy dog somewhere nearby. He’s crying. Really pitifully. I know my friends T and R experienced this when they brought their puppy Moose home, and maybe that’s all that’s happening here. A young dog who doesn’t appreciate being left home alone for the day. Except it doesn’t quite sound like a lonely puppy. The crying sounds all too adult. It sounds like it’s coming from the house next door, and it’s tempting to investigate to see if it is okay. Hard to know what to do in these circumstances, because that would be, you know, trespassing on someone’s private property, and I’m already sorry that Jenny’s not here. She’d know what to do. Or she’d make a decision about it quick smart and the rest of us could be guided by her example. As it is I feel a bit paralysed. Now the dog has gone quiet.


There it is again.

Poor fella, I hope he’s just a bit whiney about being left by himself. I think I’ll see if he settles down, and if he doesn’t, maybe I’ll go knock on the door. I’d be very happy to take him for a run – out there in the national park, I could use the company myself.

Anyway, it’s another perfect day here, and I think that even without a canine companion, I’m going to have to brave the steep hills for another run (the first one left me sore for three days), because it’s just too gorgeous to ignore. Plus I need to clear my head. I’m writing draft #13 of my synopsis. This thing has gone through so many iterations because of my struggles hammering out a working narrative arc, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this one goes. I thought I’d rewrite my ending and then draft a new synopsis, but now I think I’m going to write the synopsis first, look at the arc, and see what it says to me about what the ending must be. I mean, I think I know what has to happen, but I am trying not to impose that while the ending is still in pieces. I’m hoping it will start reassembling itself, like toy soldiers scuttling across the playroom at night until they’re in perfect formation, standing to attention. As we all know, toys only come to life when we’re not watching too closely, and that’s exactly what I am trying to do now with the bits and pieces of my ending – keep half an eye on them, but not so they’ll notice and freeze.

I’ll let you know how that goes. I think Sirius would say to keep it simple, stupid. Works every time.

POSTSCRIPT: The doggy stopped crying. All’s well.



  1. Pete said,

    That synopsis sounds like a good plan. And reminds me of Anne Lamotte’s experience with her second novel (although you didn’t get blind drunk and rave at your agent. Oops – must check previous post about that). As you know, she talks about quieting the voice etc. which sounds like what you’re doing. And I’m also wondering if your bush turkeys are like our francolins and guinea fowl. They’re a noisy (and fertile) bunch.

    • doctordi said,

      Jenny would need to answer the bush turkey question, Pete, I’m afraid I’m much better at identifying cheeses.

      Yes, I think taking Bird by Bird to Cottage Point was a good idea… it seemed very timely, and it was good reading about her second novel horrors as I grappled with the umpteenth draft of my first. It’s a warning, too. This isn’t over. And then if it ever is, this whole process begins again (hopefully with a few lessons learned…).

  2. litlove said,

    These posts are making me laugh and laugh (not about the puppy, tho), and it just makes me think of every other gathering of creative people. Instantly, all creativity gets diverted onto some quirk of the environment and everyone starts improvising. I suppose creativity is fundamentally play, and thus in opposition to anything labelled ‘work’. Oh and I do hasten to add I’m sure you’re all doing lots and lots of work, only hopefully you know what I mean. The impro seems to go so much smoother and be much more fun…

    • doctordi said,

      Happy to be making you laugh and laugh, LL. Although yes, we did LOTS of work. Lots and lots. But yes, I think writers and other creative types do find the environment terribly diverting… in a good way. As you can see, it dominated the Cottage Point posts. Now I’m home I wonder what I’ll write about next week…!

  3. Grad said,

    Can’t give you any advice on draft #13 (although, as you know, now, after Day One – Grad Writes, I am dead clever about novel writing :> ) But the dog issue…my dog, Saji (well, actually my son Charlie’s dog – who moved to a place that “doesn’t take dogs, Mom”) sometimes just howls for no immediately discernable reason. And then there’s the whining to go outside, then moments later the whining to come inside, then out, then in… and we are engaged in that little pas de deux until he gets tired and falls asleep. He usually just wants someone to play with, and “Go get your baby” works for awhile – so does sniffing the cat in places we won’t discuss. But the cat doesn’t seem to mind. I would, however, mention something to the neighbors – in case they haven’t checked his water bowl.

    • doctordi said,

      Searing visual of the dog nosing the cat, Grad. Thanks for that, honey. It’s going to stay with me a good long while.

  4. Lilian Nattel said,

    I’m glad the doggy stopped crying. Synopses are interesting. Sometime (when I have time) I think it would be fun to look at all the different synopses I’ve written for any given book. They’re like first paragraphs, take an inordinate amount of time.

    • doctordi said,

      Me too. I was on the verge of a major anxiety attack about its welfare.

      Fun is probably not the word I’d choose were I sit down and go over all my versions… I’d be much happier going through yours!

  5. davidrochester said,

    Synopses are really hard to write. I sometimes have better success imagining that someone else in my writers’ group is writing it, just to give myself some distance. Oddly, this works best if I use the mindset of the person who tends to like my work the least.

    Poor doggy … perhaps it’s just having existential angst.

  6. doctordi said,

    David, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so. I have really struggled. Clearly. But that’s a great idea, I might try that next time.

    Maybe the doggy was actually channelling my own misery and sending it back to me so I’d snap out of it.

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