Sep 162013

Sixth Installment on The Book Coach Is Writing a Book
(for previous installments, email Francine)

Looking back on the 70 or so interviews I’ve conducted so far for Cat Naps and Doggie Snorts (about people who sleep with their pets), I have to ask myself where did the pleasure come in. Where does the pleasure still come in?

First of all, I love interviewing people. I love exacting the sensory detail they share with me; it teases out the emotion of the experience. If the devil is in the details, so is the heart. I want to get right into their skins.

I urge my interview subjects to  describe the precise circumstances of their interaction with their animals, the disposition of bodies on the bed, the dog’s breed, the bird’s name, the cat’s age, the aspect of their animals. Exactly where in the house, where on the bed they were. Were their pets always allowed on the bed or did they wheedle their way on to it?

I want to know how it felt to have the cat sleep on your chest. I hunger to recreate the experience of having a bunny sleep with his nose tucked under your neck. What could be more delicious?

Writing for me is the balance of the right side of the brain and the left. I strive to get the all the facts that put the incident in context so the reader can relish them too. I also endeavor to recapture the sensory experience as if I were living it myself: what does the interaction smell like, look and feel like? Again, so the reader can also taste it.

But it isn’t just the sensual experience.  It’s the spiritual connection between beast and person. The comfort of knowing you share this universe with another sentient creature. One that has different thoughts than you do, one who thinks you look weird too. But loves you still.

Now maybe some people would argue that a head of lettuce and an egg right out of the box are also sentient. But I just can’t cuddle up to them.

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