Going to the Dogs: a Lesson from Olly and the Crufts Dog Show

Recently, a friend and I were talking about the phrase “going to the dogs.” Humans’ relationship with dogs have changed in the last few centuries, and how we think of dogs as great companions. How can something “going to the dogs” still be a bad thing?

And if anyone can teach us about how to deal with the bad things, it’s dogs. Example: Olly the Terrier.

Olly didn’t have a great showing at the recent Crufts dog show–major fail right away, face plant right into the ground.

But Olly didn’t care.

He was “all over the place” after that and ran the wrong way through one of the challenges, but, as the announcer said, he was “having a ball.”

Olly knows a thing or two about how to handle failure.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we don’t have the show we wanted. But that doesn’t mean getting upset or mad at ourselves or quitting. Instead, maybe that means we should find the joy in what we’re doing and go after that. Maybe we’re not going to win the dog show this year, but we’re going to have some fun while we’re there.

Failure is hard. Disappointment is hard. But no one can take that Olly-ish joy away from you when you’re doing something you love.

From now on, if something’s “going to the dogs,” respond like Olly the dog. Find your enthusiasm, find your confidence, and keep at it.

Playing and Discovery

A friend who’s an actor recently shared this interview with Mark Rylance talking about spontaneity and ‘playing’ with other actors as a way to develop character. The part I like starts around 1:40 minutes in:

I don’t do a lot of plotting when I’m drafting a novel, so I can totally relate to to this idea of being in the moment with characters, and the joy of discovery that comes with that. Even though I’m married to a playwright and have a lot of friends in the theater, I never thought about spontaneity and character development in the same way in terms of acting. But it’s really cool to see that artists can have similar methods of exploration, despite working in different artistic spheres.

Do you feel a sense of play and exploration in your writing or other artistic work?

Translating Hagrid’s Accent

I love this fascinating look at the complications of translating Harry Potter into an international bestseller and maintain its sense of British-ness and wordplay.

Also, I totally didn’t realize that that was how Quidditch got its name.

No matter where you may live and what languages you may speak, we can all feel part of the wizarding world.

Talking Good: on Grammar and Communication

Love this video about language, linguistic prescriptivists and descriptivists, and why it’s okay to bend the rules.

I’m a big rule-follower, especially when it comes to language. (I’ve gotten a major thrill from referencing specific sections in the Chicago Manual of Style in non-writing work conversations.) But communication is more than a set of rules–each situation has its own flow and language is a living entity that evolves with time.

So maybe let it go the next time someone uses “me” instead of “I” when telling you about their day. That doesn’t mean you don’t respect language–it just means you respect communication.

NaNoWriMo Highs and Lows

Last year I took part in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words of a new project. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I’m so glad I joined the challenge.

The beginning of the month brings a lot of enthusiasm, but sometimes the expectations of NaNo don’t match up with the realities. But the tough days don’t have to get you down! Take a look at this video I made about the NaNo highs and lows:

If you’re tackling NaNo this year, don’t worry about the bad days. Keep going, take breaks as needed, don’t worry about editing and let your creativity fly. You got this!

In Dreams, We Enter a World That’s Entirely Our Own

Because fall always makes me feel like rereading Harry Potter, I couldn’t resist sharing this lovely stop-motion video by unPOP:

I love how Harry Potter fans have made such awesome work–videos like this one, fanfic, song parodies, etc.–based on the book series we love. Books like these definitely outlast the individual reading experience.