I’ve always enjoyed this time of year. The world seems to exhale and breathe new life in to the fresh days of a new year after an intense holiday season. I’ve always felt this way, but that feeling has been much stronger dealing with loss. It takes a great deal of focus and energy to not fall in to the rabbit hole of grief. I allow brief visits to that “other” place followed by a concentrated effort to “Get Through” these times of enforced cheer. It can be exhausting. That process is likely to be similar for many of you who are united in Widowhood or have experienced profound loss(es).
I do enjoy the season. My home was lit up with house lights and even two Christmas Trees and it was fun to adorn a new place in holiday decor. Our neighbors are seasonal and don’t decorate so in essence, if not for this home, you wouldn’t even know it had been Christmas. But this small town of Crescent City was filled with light, a parade and even fireworks for the season so it was nice – low key and peaceful.
On New Year’s Day, I happened to turn on the television just when my favorite Twilight Zone episode was beginning during the TZ Marathon held every New Year’s Day. “The Hunt” is the story of a man who is led from the gates of a dog-unfriendly Hell to a Heaven that allows and worships dogs. The recently deceased man informs his escorting angel that he doesn’t want to be in a place that doesn’t allow dogs and indeed his dog had put him on the right path.
It had been a long time since I’d seen this episode so it was so nice to see that message presented so precisely on the first day of the year, a sign of sorts. I believe that our dogs are angels and guides on earth, and beyond, and I hope to resume the writing about the canine-human bond, an activity that has fueled me through many a challenging time and loss. I remain active on the board of the Dog Writers Association of America and recently entered 7 items for their annual writing competition, 6 of which were posts for Widow’s Voice! I ‘ve been a proud recipient of the DWAA’s Maxwell Medallion for past entries, but competition is “fur-oh-shus” so it’s just good to support the organization and this event, by entering and also judging, contributing to their Ruff Drafts newsletter and sponsoring Special Awards.
Interestingly, a few years ago, Rod Serling’s daughter, Anne, was the Keynote speaker at the DWAA’s awards banquet in New York City where she spoke about her late father’s love of dogs.
I’m excited to begin my Non-Fiction Proposal course on January 15. There is nothing like investing time, money and energy and having to be accountable during a set period of time to get one back on schedule and track. Especially the day after one’s birthday and personal New Year. This course should be just what is needed at just the “write time” so I am setting some big goals for myself and manifesting a hopeful outcome, something I haven’t done for a few years now.
In 2014, my book Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher was released by McFarland & Co. A WWI Veteran and co-founder of the DWAA, Captain Judy was a man ahead of his times. Long before it was mainstream, he saw the therapeutic value of dogs and advocated for their presence in psychiatric and veteran facilities. He also believed that dogs take us “out of ourselves” and connect us with others. I know for me this has always been true. At times when I just want to stop writing, I wonder WWWJD (What would Will Judy Do?). I know he would keep on advocating for and writing on behalf of dogs, and the humans who need and love them.
I will share my process here as I go along because this project has all to do with the circumstances that find me writing for Soaring Spirits, International for this Widows Voice Blog. I hope that maybe my actions and words will inspire many.
Wishing you happy second chances and renewal in the weeks ahead while the year still has the shiny promise that anything is “Pawsible”!