A writer never knows what she writes that will influence a person--hopefully for all the right reasons. And where do we get all these wonderful tidbits we share with readers? Usually from real life.
Years ago my parents had a West Highland terrier who was a joy to walk. Buddy had gone to obedience school twice. Um, he flunked the first time, but it couldn't have been by much, for he aced it the second time. And the thing he learned best was how to walk. That doesn't sound that difficult, does it, but it actually is. How often do I see people supposedly walking their dogs who are either being dragged by them, or dragging them, or struggling just to control them while on their constitutionals? The answer to that is wayyyyy to often.
I would often take Buddy for a walk. You didn't have to take a litter bag with you when you walked with Buddy. He knew where he was to do his business--and that was at his own backyard. When you came to a curb, he automatically sat down and waited for the "all clear" signal that it was safe to go on. He trotted beside you with a smile on his doggy face and tail held high and wagging. Is it any wonder that when I added a dog to the Booktown Mystery series that I would have him be as well trained?
As I wrote last week, I LOVE getting Christmas cards. I also love to get those newsy Christmas letters from friends. Sadly, I don't get as many as I used to get, but I thoroughly enjoy the ones I do get.
I got one on Friday, and added at the end were a couple of personalized paragraphs. It said:
"As I was reading MURDER ON THE HALF SHELF, and noting the little Bichon would stop at the corners, I found myself remembering how I used to tell my dogs to "stop" and, surprise, they actually did. Glad I saw that, because now I've begun trying to train my Bichon-Poodle mix and ten-year old shih-tzu to also stop at corners. This is even more important to me since January, when my next-door neighbor and best friend was killed by a car about a block from home while she was walking two of her shih-tzus. Thanks for the reminder."
I cried when I read that paragraph. First, for the loss of my friend's friend, and second, that something I wrote has caused her to train her dogs to sit and stay until it's safe to cross the street.
It's just such a little thing, but it made me glad that I write books. That my words can touch people. That in some small way I can make a difference.