An Adorable Affliction

Many of our esteemed readers are not yet aware of this, but I am a writer afflicted with a very disruptive handicap.  This problem often troubles me when I’m attempting to type, and at times makes writing nearly impossible.  Sadly, there is no cure (well, not one that I care to consider), and no one understands the depth of the issue enough to create a scholarship for sufferers.  The name of my problem is Jasper and he is my dog.

Just look at him sitting there, grinning as he plots how to best derail my efforts to write.  How can this little bundle of furry cuteness be guilty of such charges?  Oh believe me, Jasper is no ordinary dog.  I purchased him when I lived in Korea, then brought him back to the States with me last March.  From the start, he was different from other dogs, but something about American soil really set him off, as the oddity of the little creature nearly quadrupled, as evidenced by the next photo:

No, I did not put the dog in the dryer.  He climbed in, on his own.  No, he was not trying to get dry, nor was he longing for a fun roller coaster ride.  He wanted to capture stray dryer sheets (this is a fairly common occurrence).  You see, one of Jasper’s many quirks is his hobby of collecting used dryer sheets.  I find a stash of them under my bed every time I clean there.  Jasper likes playing with the dryer sheets, smelling them, attempting to eat them, and most of all, rolling over them.  I have the most static-free dog in this entire hemisphere.

How, you may ask, does Jasper affect my writing?  Oh, he has various ways and means.  His favorite method is his persistent effort to claim my MacBook as a pillow every time that he sees it resting on my lap.  Try typing with one very determined Shih Tzu’s head covering half the keys.  Not easy!

Jasper has recently learned that he can press the keys with his nose, thereby eliciting delightful responses from his hapless human.  A few weeks ago, I went into spastic mode, convinced that something was horribly wrong with my beloved computer.  The caps lock was off, but no matter what I did, all of my letters were coming out capitalized.  As the mournful dread of having to pay to have my computer examined sank in, bringing with it a wave of nausea, I suddenly realized that a particular furry creature had his nose pressed firmly down on the shift key.  Other times, Jasper has added extra letters to my words, deleted portions of text, even inadvertently turned on the Spaces feature on my Mac, which sent my 50,000 word story into another window (hidden from view) and nearly gave me a heart attack, a stroke, and an ulcer all at the same time.

Jasper loves to distract me.  He drops soggy bones into my lap or onto my keyboard, then sits back with a grin, expecting to see gratitude for his generous offering.  He thrusts teddy bears at me, expecting a game of fetch while I simultaneously write of Edric and Flavia’s ongoing peril.  He gets stuck inside my recliner and expects immediate assistance, interrupting my thoughts and frequently making me forget plot elements.  He beats me in the arm or leg with his favorite rope toys, occasionally bruising me (no joke).  He times his bladder filling to coincide with my creative spurts.  Sometimes he treats me to the delightful chorus of hurk-hurk-hurking that sends me scurrying for paper towels and Lysol.

When I recorded Alicia Fenn’s podcast, Jasper gave me a particularly hard time.  So enchanted/amazed/curious/revolted was he by the various voices I tried out, he found it impossible to leave my side.  Try speaking in a low, sultry voice with a curious Shih Tzu positioned inches from your face, eyeing you intently.  It does not work well.  Finally, I ended up shutting myself up in my closet in order to do the podcast.

The other night, as I struggled to figure out how to get Flavia out of a messy situation, Jasper saw fit to take a flying leap to the back of the couch, then attempted to excavate for treasures in my hair.  He dug and sniffed at my hair to his heart’s content, while I ineffectually chastised him and tried in vain to keep writing.  Occasionally, a paw would bop me accidentally in the nose, or a little black nose would sniff curiously in my ear.  Flavia changed genders a few times owing to typos caused by this intrusion into my personal space, and at one point, I completely forgot which character was saying a lengthy section of dialogue.  Finally, I followed the wisest course of action and stuck peanut butter on the roof of Jasper’s mouth, which kept him occupied and out of my hair (excuse the pun) for the next hour.  Score one point for Mama!

Yes, Jasper is quite a handicap.  He steals books I’m using and cuddles with them or employs them as pillows.  He does odd things to my computer by hitting the keys with his nose.  I seldom sit down to write without some form of harassment from the little beast.  In short, he is a heinous, albeit adorable, nuisance.  But who can resist him?  After all, he was the inspiration for my heroine’s pet dragon, Bellamy.  So, I suppose if Sidhe Eyes ever meets with commercial success, I’ll owe Jasper a package of chicken-flavored doggie bones.


About HistoryGypsy

I'm a high school history teacher and author of upcoming novel Sidhe Eyes. I live in gorgeous Qingdao, China, where I spend much of my free time studying the fascinating and frustrating Chinese language, eating odd things, or taking long walks along the Yellow Sea. At "While We're Paused" I have the pleasure of blogging about things that catch my interest: good books, language, history, poetry, writing tips, grammar rants, random humor . . . I don't like to get in a rut! Some of my favorite writers include (and this is by no means an exhaustive list): Dorothy Sayers, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Jules Verne, Baroness Orczy, Geoffrey Wawro, John Lynn, Bill Bryson, the Bronte sisters, John Christopher, J.M. Barrie, O. Henry, Roald Dahl, and Robert Graves. I usually find myself reading no less than three books at a time!

Posted on September 23, 2010, in Audio Posts, Characters, Creatures, Humor, Stephanie Thompson, Villains and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Oops! For the record, I am not a narcissist; believe it or not, Jasper actually chose this very moment to leap at me, and I accidentally wound up “liking” my own post. No idea how to “unlike”!

  2. I love your very cute dog but that jumping in the dryer thing is probably a suicide attempt. I hope he can learn to stop harassing you, put whatever problems he has in the past and love himself for who he is.

  3. I feel your pain: our psychocat Duffie must be in my lap if I even slow down. It’s annoying trying to type over her, but if I don’t let her settle, she turns into a furry, orange boomerang–no matter how many times you set her down, she comes right back!

    And yes, I accidentally liked my own first post too. So if you ever figure out the “unlike” thing, let me know.

  4. Yes, I feel your pain too. My rabbit just HAS to be in my… oh, wait. Bella mostly just sits in her house and plots my demise. She allows me to give her ear massages and scratch her neck if I am good and then she goes back to trying to figure out how to commit murder without the benefit of opposable thumbs.

  5. See, Bella just needs to get together with Bun-Bun, they would make the perfect couple.

    • Erm…. see, I don’t quite have room for all the bunnies I would end up with, as much as I would love a house overrun by homicidal bunnies.

  6. You can auction the baby bunnies off to wannabe dictators as secret doomsday weapons. Make enough money for grad-school in the process.

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