Tag Archives: love

The Dog Mom

Kate

I don’t like children.

It’s one of those phrases that come to my lips the moment someone asks if my boyfriend and I will ever have kids, but it’s rarely uttered. The reactions are nearly always negative and range from a strange look between disbelief and disgust to a twenty minute rant on why children are the best thing since sliced bread and that I’m totally missing out if I don’t sacrifice my life for 18+ years to support a creature with half my DNA.

It’s always been this way.

I was never a child that lugged around a baby doll. My cousin had a little bald, plastic baby named Gracie that she kept swaddled against her and dressed daily. Instead of a stroller or papoose, my room was loaded with stuffed animals. While my cousin had Gracie, I had Whiskers, a progressively piebald stuffed cat who wore a bed skirt-like dress to hide his bald spots. I talked to my stuffed animals as if they were people. I fed them, hugged them, tucked them in at night.

History has repeated itself night after night.

Every night before I go to bed, I take my hair out of its clips and pins, but as I walk through the darkened house, I make note of where my babies are. Edgar is sleeping under my chair in the kitchen, Finny is laying against the backdoor, and Katie right where I left her on the sofa or curled up on my bed waiting for me. Before I go to sleep, I pet each of them and tell them that I love them. A little part of me fears not carrying out the ritual, not reminding them of my love before they close their eyes. As I peel back the covers, Katie with her stubby dachshund legs dives onto me full force before settling at my feet or near my head. Most nights I wake up with at least Edgar and Katie curled up around me, protecting my flank as if I was one of the pack.

Respecting the autonomy of others means no guilt.

My boyfriend and I have never wanted children. I never dreamed of having a family. Hell, I never thought I’d have a life partner until I met mine, but children have never been in the picture. Never did the image of school pictures, birthdays, or trips to Disney with brood in tow come to mind. I’m still at the age where I don’t know whether to reply yay or oh no when someone says they’re pregnant. My reaction is obvious, but I’m quickly realizing that most at least feign joy. It’s expected. It’s the norm. The norm rarely feels like it fits me anymore. In the future, I see myself writing books, going to a gallery opening or event that’s centered around my partner’s art, and doing some traveling. I want a small house with enough room for us and the dogs. Somewhere there will be a house where dogs lounge on the sofa, locking eyes with me from across the room as I read and pet one of their siblings. The floors will be littered with half-chewed dog bones and tumbleweeds of fur.

“To love another person is to see the face of god.”

My babies won’t live as long as yours. At most, they’ll live into their teens and because I’ve rescued them from the shelter, our time may be shorter than I anticipated. Yet their lives aren’t tragic. Their short time on earth puts my life into perspective and makes me grateful for the years I have with them. For all the wet kisses and the adoring gazes that make a shitty day better because somehow they know what I need. Dogs are strange. Part wolf, part toddler, they’re at once all-knowing and innocent. Animals give their love without caveat and present the only true form of unconditional love on earth, and it’s this I crave. I want to love and be loved without judgment. Someday I’d like to be person my dog loves so wholly and able to love as they do.

 

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Filed under Personal Life, Writing

Bookish Favorites

We all know what we hate to see in book, but what makes us giddy with anticipation? As a follow-up to my Bookish Bitching post, I will now list 20 things I love to see in books.

  1. Leather-bound, embossed, gilded books
  2. Artistic book covers
  3. A series that matches yet each cover is unique
  4. Vibrantly colored book covers
  5. Old book smell
  6. Box sets for series, especially with pretty/illustrated sleeves
  7. Complex characters
  8. Maps at the front or back
  9. Characters who are romantically involved yet their relationship isn’t based solely on sexual attraction
  10. Books with diverse casts, especially main characters
  11. Antagonists who are morally ambiguous
  12. Atmospheric settings and genres
  13. Male and female characters who are just friends
  14. Authors who write a finite series in a timely manner
  15. Books that cross genres in a unique and surprising way
  16. Books with illustrations to match the text
  17. Characters who are human (have strengths, flaws, dreams, moments of weakness)
  18. Authors who enjoy interacting with their readers
  19. Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes and Noble recommendations that lead to new favorites
  20. Books that hit the spot and make it so you can barely put them down

What are some bookish things you love?

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Filed under Writing

Sexiness and the Awkward Authoress

I readily admit that I am not very good at sexiness, in my writing or in real life. I steer clear of book covers with half-naked people on them (I’m lookin’ at you, Fabio), and Magic Mike or 50 Shades of Gray hold absolutely no appeal. After getting a review or two about how my characters’ relationships and interactions are not steamy enough, I began to get a little more than frustrated. What if the author didn’t want to have her characters get into sexy romps? What if she wanted to explore intimacy through non-sexual interactions?

Immediately I began venting to my best friend about the issue and then posted on a women’s writing group that I am part of on Facebook. I expected to get some responses from people who agreed with others saying to suck it up and cave into society’s demand for clandestine moments and characters exploring their “inner goddesses,” but I was shocked to find that many writers agreed with me and that the overarching message was to stay true to myself and my characters.

Before I am a writer, I am a reader, and when I write, I keep myself first and foremost in mind. What would I want to read? What turns me off as a reader? I’m not a complete prude, I like reading romantic scenes and intimate moments between characters that obviously care deeply for each other. If those scenes include sex, that’s fine. For me, as long as the emotional connection is there, I’m usually more than okay with it. What I cannot stand is gratuitous sex or violence in a work with no other purpose than to arouse or scandalize the reader. Recently I decided to read some paranormal romance in preparation for a series I intend to write in the future. I was incredibly disappointed by the series I downloaded as a bundle. Like clockwork every thirty or forty pages there was an erotic scene. Rolling my eyes, I read through plenty of moaning and groaning, but what made it awkward wasn’t the acts themselves, it was that the characters could have been anyone. It was as if the scenes were written in a vacuum with blank-faced characters. If the reader cannot connect with your characters and want to share in the intimacy, why bother writing these scenes?

I should outright say the reason I tend not to write sex scenes in my books. It isn’t because I’m a prude or think sex should never appear in novels, it just never seems to fit in what I’m writing. I enjoy writing the lead up or those tender private moments, but once your characters are in the heat of the moment, can they really express themselves enough to further plot or character development? My main thought is: sex is not the be all and end all of romance or intimacy. You can have sex without romance, so why not have romance without sex?

Some other avenues of intimacy to explore are obvious, kissing, cuddling, undressing, touching, embracing. What are your characters thinking as these things happen? Does s/he enjoy these things? Are they doing them to please their partner? How are they doing them? With urgency, slowly, passionately, coolly? How a character does something says just as much as why they are doing it. Why not play with different forms of love? There is sexual love, romantic love, and platonic love, so you aren’t limited to just couples. Friends can be intimate with one another as easily as couples. When you’re upset, does your friend wrap their arms around you or speak close and quietly to make you feel better?

Romantic moments are as much about sexuality as they are about intimacy. They don’t necessarily have to be the same thing.


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Filed under Writing

Ten Years

IMG_1362This is coming a little early, but I wanted to write an appreciation post for my best friend and one of my greatest supporters, my boyfriend. Javier and I have been together for ten years. Yes, ten years as of June 20th. We met through a mutual friend when we were thirteen. We both went to the same middle school, and after speaking on instant messenger day in and day out for probably six months, we started going out. Being an only child without a hoard of friends, he was probably the first person I ever really opened up to. IMG_1187 He’s the quiet sort. If he doesn’t know you, he tends to be reserved, but once he’s comfortable, he never shuts up. Of the two of us, he’s the social one, the one who enjoys a night out but is still content to sit and watch Adventure Time with me and the dogs. What I love about him is his unwavering support. No matter what event I’m doing or where I want to drag him, he’s there. If I need a second set of hands or someone to vent with, he’s there. If I need someone to bounce ideas off of, he’s ready to listen even if he has no idea what I’m talking about (which happens quite often). javier knight Both of us are creative people. Javier is an artist while I’m a writer. If you’ve ever been to his Facebook page, he’s a cosplayer, which means he creates costumes after video game or anime characters and wears them to conventions. Recently, he’s won a few convention contests, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. No one I know works as hard on their projects. We act as a second set of eyes for the other, figuring out if a piece is out of scale or if a character’s motives make sense. Even if he sometimes gets down about his work and believes he sucks, I know he is amazing and will go far in the future. It’s the little things that make me love him. The way he is willing me makes me a cup of coffee just the way I like it whenever we’re home together or how he let’s me hug him like a koala when he gets home from work. Other times he drives me crazy. He leaves messes around, forgets to take the dogs out, and likes to hug me after working on his projects and thus coats me in black dremel dust, but he’s my favorite distraction. I know he’d do anything and go anywhere for me, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Here’s to ten more.

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Filed under Personal Life