So I have to tell you guys the truth, while I am mostly an upbeat person (stop laughing, honey), there are mornings that I wake up, and, well, let's just say things are not in perfect alignment. I don't want to be like this, but occasionally I am downright unpleasant. It's like a nasty monster invades my body, takes over, and all I can do is watch in horror. Well, this morning was one of those mornings. Not to mention the fact that the dishwasher didn't run properly last night, so I had a pile of dirty dishes from dinner LAST NIGHT. I fell asleep without putting a VERY IMPORTANT load of clothes into the dryer, so panic ensued. When I went to make breakfast, I found us to be, amazingly, out of bread, milk, and eggs--the perfect storm. Not to mention the fact that I had pledged last night (as I have many nights lately) that TODAY would be the day I'd really start to eat healthy. (Too bad I wasn't going on a starvation diet, it would have been the perfect time!) So we found the shoes, the glasses, the missing bookbag (uh, yes, how do you lose a bookbag again?), the box of Valentine candy for teacher (yes, he 'forgot' it yesterday), and I shuttled the boys out the door. I hurriedly cleared the breakfast dishes (as much as possible considering the whole dishwasher scenario, and slumped against the wall. Whew. I'd done it again. Gotten them up and out. I glanced at the clock, 7:43. OH, YEAH! I was scheduled to have my picture taken at 8:00 for my agency website, and you can just imagine how I looked.
I rushed upstairs to shower and shortly after I got out of the shower, I heard my dogs barking. He was early. Albeit only about ten minutes, but ten minutes was EVERYTHING when I only had 17 minutes to start with! So I half-dressed (the important half, mind you), let him in, explained to his raised eyebrows that I was running a little late, saw my kitchen and family room through his eyes for a moment (ouch), and led him through the hall to my front room. Now let me explain about my front room. It's the music room with a piano and a sofa and my husband's recliner in front of the fireplace, and that's about it. It's hard to mess up, and easy to clean when it does get messed up. It is my 'always clean' area which you really need in a house with four kids. As we walked down the sock strewn hallway, I thought to myself, "If I can just get him to the front room , it will be okay." I opened the door to the front room and turned to wave him in. I followed him into the room and there in the middle of the floor was dog poop. No kidding. I almost cried. I mean, when the hell had the dogs even been in this room? And it's not raining! They have NO EXCUSE. And this was NOT the morning for this. And did I mention that this photo shoot was the SECOND one because I'm so stinking unphotogenic?
At any rate, I wanted to crawl back into bed and start again (instead of what I DID do which is crawl on the floor and pick up the poop). I told him, "Here's your photo op." Because it's true. We can find some miraculous way to make ourselves look put together in pictures, but behind any front is some dog poop.
As I was editing today, I came upon incident after incident in my manuscript that were tiny morsels of my own life experiences. They were twisted or adapted beyond recognition by anyone besides me, but still they reminded me of times and places and events. I realized that the dog poop is the part that makes the best stories. While a character may not deal with dog poop exactly, all good characters have another unwelcome and unexpected problem that comes up when they least expect it, and they have to deal. Some characters might tiptoe around the dog poop, ignoring it and hoping others would, too. Some characters might make a big show out of punishing the dogs for the dog poop. Some characters might quickly go to another room and leave the dog poop to deal with another time. Another character, like myself, might just dive right in and deal with it.
So here's what I began to imagine...all my characters of all my stories encountering dog poop. It could be a very revealing exercise in character. How do they handle the dog poop? And how much of it do they have?
Then I realized that I should be THANKFUL for poop. Because poop is what gives our lives character and growth and interesting situations. And dealing with poop makes our characters shine.
So thank you, God, for the poop in my days. And please help me to remember that on mornings like this.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.