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.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! How is it that this week’s felt so long and so short all at once? Also it snowed today and all I want to do is wrap myself in a comforter and not leave the house until April. Fortunately, in that scenario I could still read, so let’s get the weekend started with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Great collection of essays about race, sexism, education, media, and Scrabble.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Wanted more from Oscar as a character, but Díaz’s writing is stellar.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Wish I had a fifth grade class to share this with. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming.

YA Passport at Trident Booksellers with Lauren McLaughlin and Annie Cardi

captureHey there, Boston-area YA fans! This Thursday, I’m going to be at Trident Booksellers & Cafe with fellow YA writer Lauren McLaughlin for a conversation about books, writing, and probably how great the sweet potato fries are at Trident. Lauren’s launching her new book, The Free, and I’m so excited to be part of the festivities.

The details:

YA Passport with Lauren McLaughlin and Annie Cardi
March 2, 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

Come say hi, get some tasty food/a refreshing beverage, snag a book, and take part in a fantastic YA conversation!

Links Galore

The links I’ve been saving for a snowy day:

Friday Fifteen

Today feels like a good day to share a couple lines of poetry, in slightly more than fifteen words. From “Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.”

Read the whole poem here. Other poems I’ve been reading recently include “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz and “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith.

Keep writing, keep fighting.

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?