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For those who might think I’m over-reacting to our dog’s penchant for lolling about on the plants, here are pictures:


Now, tell me which one YOU would rather see?

I finished my sf story for the Southern Indiana Writers sf anthology, coming out Real Soon Now (old sf fen know that means “whenever”–old sf fen also know what “fen” means). Took it in, got some good critiques, showed it to #4 daughter, Charlie and Mom and got some more, and I’ll be doing some tweaking, but it mostly worked just fine. I’m very pleased that it came out as well as it managed to. I’m more fantasy than sf. Now I want to write MORE STORIES! MORE, MORE, MORE!


writing prompt: Try writing a sort of story you don’t usually write. Just try to come up with a concept at first, then see if you can work up a character or two to go with it. Come on–it’s FUN!

Ballad of a Doomed Dog
by Marian Allen

Hang down your head, you Joe-dog,
Hang down your head and whine.
Hang down your head, you Joe-dog,
Poor dog, your butt is mine.

Caught him in the garden
Mashing down the plants
If he’d been wearing trousers,
I’d-a kicked him in the pants.


Hosta, moss and fern–
Joe will nap upon them.
–Dog, you’re a-gonna burn.


Every time I catch him,
He slopes off with looks of shame
Says, “If it’s a plant bed,
What have I done to blame?”

Hang down your head, you Joe-dog,
Hang down your head and whine.
Hang down your head, you Joe-dog,
Poor dog, your butt is mine.


And, on another note, I forgot to pluck my face hairs this morning before I went to church, and everybody mistook me for Pastor Marc. Okay, I’m lying about that last part, but I certainly FELT that way.


writing prompt: What five things would one of your characters try to keep a dog out of the flowerbeds before resorting to unseemly violence?

Yesterday, I posted at Fatal Foodies about our dog, Joe, and his habit of lolling in the flowerbeds and what we propose to do about it. Actually, he’s our oldest grandson’s dog, but the dog grew too big for their place so we moved him here. His name isn’t Joe (the dog, I mean, although the grandson’s name isn’t Joe, either) but Jolteon, a Pokemon critter. IMO, the dog does not now, and never did, look like Jolteon. I leave you to decide:


I told my mother Joe’s sins and prospective disincentive and Mom said, “He’s an unfortunate dog.” I’m not sure if she meant the dog was unfortunate in himself, or unfortunate to others.

This morning, he had another sad disappointment. Every morning, I give him a treat of a crunchy dog biscuit. This morning, I gave him his treat. Instead of crunching it up, he stood there, holding it in his mouth. He didn’t give me A Look, but he did appear to be pondering the burdens of life on this fallen earth and the many ills that flesh is heir to. At last, he put the bone down, looked at it, sighed and ate it. It was a green one. I think he doesn’t like the green ones.

Too bad for you, unfortunate dog, because I am NOT picking through the dog bones and throwing away all the green ones. Into each life, some rain must fall, some bones be green and veggie-flavored.


writing prompt: How would your main character react if a dog didn’t like a treat he/she gave it? Would he/she even notice?

This was supposed to have posted on 03/03/09, but it didn’t. Grrrr! I have got to check my posts more often to make sure they’re actually THERE. What’s the point in running off at the fingers, if the babbling stays hidden? I might as well just sit in the closet and talk to my shoes.

Here is Joe, our oldest grandson’s dog, who lives with us (the dog, not the grandson). He (again the dog) wants to be a good dog, but he just has too much Dalmatian in him to have much of a shot at it. Dalmatians aren’t BAD dogs, but they’re too lively for anybody’s good. They make ADHD look like full-body paralysis.


O dog, so quiet and serenethenobledog1
with carriage so upright,
you are, beneath your noble mien,
a fiend who barks all night.

You start when darkness fills the sky,
O Dog of Little Brain,
and howl until I wonder why
your throat withstands the strain.

If op’ra singers had your voice,
your volume and endurance,
they’d never pass a roll of choice
or purchase voice insurance.

So bark away, Inquisitor,
as harshly as you will!
and I’ll pretend it’s Carmen or
The Barber of Seville.


writing prompt: Write about a dog who looks one way but is another.

I’m now out of the splint and into an elastic wrist brace, fighting infection in the leg, and Charlie comes in and says, “The dog is back.” This being the dog who knocked me down and who, we were assured, had been relocated. He had actually been at the vet. His daddy came and got him, and went home with his dog and an earful from my husband. Now the man says he’s taking the dog to another town. I want the dog to be well and happy, I just don’t want to go ass-over-tip because of him again. I would hate to sue him, because most dogs don’t have any money.

I’m going to Louisville today to have lunch with Jane. Last time I went, I met a couple of women who were doing a tree survey. There are more people doing things you never thought of than… well, than you ever thought of.

Today is clear and cold, brilliantly sunny and just a few vaporous clouds in an otherwise blue sky. The air is so clean, you can see every needle on the evergreens.

Plans for 2009:

  • finish BAR SINISTER, my NaNoWriMo novel
  • query agents on novels I’ve already finished
  • write and sell some stories
  • plan 2009’s NaNoWriMo novel
  • do NaNoWriMo
  • live within my means


Writing prompt: How would three different characters deal with a persistent and potentially dangerous annoyance?

I posted before about the neighbor’s big white dog, Forrest, who runs around here a lot. He seems to have left home and gone feral, hanging out with our dog most of the time but running away every time his people come and take him home. He won’t even go home to EAT. Well, yesterday, he decided he was going to eat my dog’s food, no matter who was in the way. He didn’t deliberately knock me down, but he did knock me down. Fat as I am, I fell HARD. One leg just scraped and bruised, one arm sore and maybe a fractured wrist.

Went to the after-hours clinic for an x-ray and the doc there said probably just a hematoma–I said, “That’s what I’ll tell my husband–it sounds more impressive than ‘bruise’.”–but it could be a fracture. He said, “The bones in the snuffbox are notorious for being hard to read.” I’m like, “In the what?” He said the area at the base of the thumb on top of the hand just above the wrist is called the snuffbox, because that’s where people who took snuff put it in order to sniff it up. ha!!

Anyway, Forrest’s people were very sorry and kind and they took Forrest to a relative’s house (theirs, not Forrest’s). I do hope he’s happy there, because he’s a good dog, really. But if he can knock ME over, how badly might he accidentally hurt my mother or my grandkids?

my arm is hurting i am not typing any more.


writing prompt: If a dog knocked you down, what would you want to happen to him?

The Scmeltzhounds have always run loose on our land, but they usually stay close to the boundary with their

The Hero Dog

The Hero Dog

people’s property. This year, for some reason, they’ve been roaming hither and yon. –The Schmeltzhounds, by the way, are the dogs belonging to our very good neighbors the Schmeltzes. Anyway, today I heard a rackety lot of barking in the front yard and went to see what the trouble was. The Schmeltzhounds were thinking they were going to mess with Al, the elderly black cat (he’s 16). Joe wasn’t having any of it, and sent the Scmeltzhounds packing. Joe and Al are bestest friends. They curl up together in the sun and drink out of the same water bowl.

BTW, my husband moved the ladder, so my Christmas decorating scheme is foiled. Curses!


Writing Prompt: How does your character deal with a neighbor’s animal(s) trespassing?

About 16 years ago, my mother and grandparents moved back here from upstate NY, when Mom had gone with the company she worked for. Our #1 daughter had rescued a young dog–part border collie, by his looks–but didn’t have room for him. My grandfather LOVED border collies, so the dog had a home.

Grandpa, the most soft-spoken of men, could get even an animal he didn’t know to love and obey him. He and the dog, named Socks because of his white feet and ankles, bonded and were best buddies. When Granny died, “the guys” just got closer.

Grandpa and the dog lost health and mobility together. When Grandpa died, Socks became my mother’s dog. Not long after she lost Grandpa, Mom lost her cat, another rescue, who reached the ripe old age of (at least) 17 because Mom gave him insulin injections every day. He didn’t fall ill, he just wore out.

Now Socks has done the same thing. He had canine hepatitis and arthritis, but Mom kept him happy and relatively healthy for three years after he was given two days to live. She made him oatmeal for breakfast and chicken-vegetable soup for lunch, and found he would take his pills if she wrapped them in sharp–not mild–cheddar cheese.

Finally, yesterday, he wore out. She took him in to the vet and we said goodbye to a good old pal.

He sure wasn’t very lively towards the last, but we’ll both miss him incredibly.

I’ll write more about him another time.


Writing exercise: A elderly parent has to have his/her pet put down. Tell about it from the POV of the parent’s grown children, one of whom loved the pet and one of whom hated it.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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