Man Bites Dog

22 07 2016

If a man can write a dog of a screenplay, can a dog write a script with humanity? I tried my paw…left, then right. I’m ambidextrous. A feat for a quadruped. Make that feet. The advantage, clear, no?

At any rate, this little canine wrote a second novel, yet to be released, and out of the blue it optioned for film, and I, contracted to try adaptation. Relatively new at manipulating the keyboard, anything having to do with film (beyond Asta and the Thin Man or Lassie Returns) is totally perplexing. I watched The Wild Prairie last week and spent the best part (creatures going to ground) trying to burrow between the wall and the television. As far as I know there’s still a meerkat family back there, though they clearly bathe twice a day, because no scent exists.Meerkat5

So…movies. I recently read that if a novel is a poem, a screenplay is a telegram. No small exercise for a verbose canine with an e-thesaurus. The good news: novels are built from the skeleton out. Bones I know.polishing_bones_deer_bone_db

Sniff out the main artery of any story and therein lies the heart. Write the heart, make sure each scene speaks to the ending, trim the dialogue until it sings (especially if it’s a musical) and, voilà, the essence of the tale ready for film…until a wad of producers hire others to re-piece the work into, at times, something only Frankenstein’s mother could love. But I digress.

Since completing said script, I realize that adapting a novel for film is the perfect exercise for every novelist, whether or not they want their work on the screen. Adaptation forces clean, sensible, streamlined writing, something even the literary writer needs in their toolbox. And, for those who have difficulty finding the real meaning in their work, a good logline written and posted above the workspace, keeps the message on track.sniff

And like any good dog, once that scent is picked up, it’s easier to stay on the trail.

Scent of a Man

6 12 2013

As a Dog, I am a good judge of man. No matter the look on his face, I can smell his heart.

I was never close enough to claim a whiff of Nelson Mandela, but his words are scented, and the odor is not unlike Dog’s. For as anyone knows, the core of Dog’s heart is love and wisdom. The core of Mandela’s heart shone in the same way. And will continue to shine on, his words a sweet scent on the eternal wind.


“Where you stand depends on where you sit.” ― Nelson Mandela

(Dog knows his position in the family is defined by where he sleeps. Inside, outside, floor or bed?)

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ― Nelson Mandela

(Same as above: inside, outside, floor, or bed.)

“Appearances matter — and remember to smile.” ― Nelson Mandela

(All dogs know the importance of perky ears and a good tail wag.)

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” ― Nelson Mandela

(Dog understands the drawback to thinking you can be king of the mountain.)

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ― Nelson Mandela

(Like chasing squirrels.)

“ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ― Nelson Mandela

(When Dog wags, man smiles at the world.)

“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.” ― Nelson Mandela

(Why Dog sometimes hangs back on a wild boar hunt.)

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
― Nelson Mandela

(The way of feral dogs.)

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

― Nelson Mandela

(Cats exist to make Dogs realize this.)

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
― Nelson MandelaLong Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

      (Why Dog neither judges nor holds a grudge. Everyday is a new day for a Dog.)

Long may your scent last, Madiba.


3 04 2013

A good friend of mine, an old friend, a friend of old, as told by his human.

Robin F. Gainey


Dear Axel:

You had me the minute I saw your little black nose in the litter-pile: Olive eyes; brown patch on your flank; one ear just a bit bigger than the other.  I love your lop-sided gaze, as though you look at the world from a different angle and the world is better for it.  I pulled this page from a book of empty papers, determined to put words to the gift you are.  You see, you can’t get to your feet without a little help now and, I know soon, I must help you move on to a greater adventure.

Dearest friend, you have allowed me to be your voice to the world and I thank you.  Some believe it ridiculous to place words and feelings in the ‘ruff” package called dog.  These men are deaf and blind, dogless even in a dog’s company. Those who speak for canines…

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I Am a Dog

8 03 2013

I’m a dog. Goes without saying. A quadruped among man. I walk through life in much the same way: sleep, eat, chase. procreate—if I’m lucky. Time moves through space the same way for me as it does for my master. The leap from blazingly bright birth into the fuzzy unknown of the great beyond, the same, right?

The speed of light.

Man seems to think that as the years advance time speeds up, and that may be true. Yet, take a moment and remember how quickly we all advance through space. In relationship to that, we all move slowly. Like the dog days of summer against the backdrop of hyper-drive.

Next time you, as a human, feel rushed, take a breath, stick your face out the window of a moving vehicle, and appreciate the fact that at any time, just like the family dog who sleeps, eats, chases and, if lucky, procreates, you can bring your head in out of the wind at any time.

Slow down.

Because the universe is taking care of the speed thing just fine.




14 08 2011

Fraud-the-cat has been into the garden again: Hissing at the rotten tomatoes,

tugging at my raspberries, ripping the string beans to pieces as they dangle, helpless, from their trellis. Fraud sways down a row of lettuce,rolls in an overripe eggplant and heads for my legs thinking she will wind herself along my ankles like a Boa Constrictor.  Why, you ask? What possesses said feline with such odd behavior?

The patch of catnip issued by the cook-who-loves-cats. Catnip is in full bloom….and so is Fraud.



What Puts the Terrorist in Terrier

29 07 2011

It’s no secret that Terriers are driven creatures: To chase, mostly. Balls, cats, squirrels, food, fun.  The breed is built for entertainment.  I know. Watch any dog with even a hint of terrier.  Perhaps only a flick of the tail or twitch of the whisker resembles such lineage; inside there is a giant of a dog willing to take on any creature or task.

Both fierce and fearless, I give you Biscuit:

The Terrier: Proving everyday that what goes up doesn’t necessarily have to come down…unless it wants to.



5 06 2009

“People find life entirely too time-consuming.”

Stanislaw J. Lec

From the perspective of a small, Italian dog: Life is to be enjoyed, not employed.

canined english labrador retriever aggressive dog playing us nyc 030109 41 by dog picturescanined english bulldog tongue wagging dog playing us nyc 030109 18 by dog pictures

Dog Roll Study by jrubinic      Chow.

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