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Monetizing Your Dog

Sunday, March 29, 2009

photo by Phoebe Linnea Thompson

I'm not sure how I feel about these not-so-subtle hints I've been getting, sprinkled here and there in the comments section. "It's been over a month and we want more Chet!" read the latest. And I checked, and it has, by two whole days. Obviously, some of you keep track (and have noticed that I don't), and it seems that there's some kind of Chetmeter ticking away in your brains that goes off BLANNNNG!! when you've reached the critical limit of Chetlack. These are the times that I wish my blog had a little slot into which you could insert a one, a five or a ten, after carefully smoothing it to make sure the machine will accept it, and making sure the president is facing up. I could blog away five days a week about birds and rivers and butterflies and anteaters, frogs and Fanta and orchids and otters, blissfully unaware that the Chetpressure was building up, and then I'd open my laptop in the morning and all this money would pour out of it, whee! from all the people who were finally starved out and willing to pay for their next major Chetfix.

Y'all keep having to remind me that it's really all about the dog.


He is lying at my side, smelling slightly of skunk (there's another story there), heaving those little rumbly dog sighs of contentment. Every once in awhile I take his smooshy little face in my hands and say, "Baker, you will be my ticket out of poverty. I don't know how just yet, but you're gonna get us out of this." His big pink tongue flops out and washes my chin and we laugh. It's true, we both know it, but I haven't figured out how to monetize my dog.

photo by Phoebe Linnea Thompson

On Thursday, I drove to Middletown, Ohio, a neat four hours straight across the state, to guest lecture in a creative fiction class at Miami University's Middletown campus taught by Dr. Eric Melbye. I think I've written one piece of fiction in my whole life--the introduction to a 1997 piece on ivory-billed woodpeckers.

It was fun, but this is a big ol' goofy world, and it is so crammed with wonders that I have never felt the need to write fiction. Just describing what's going on all around me is more than enough.
So we talked about the creative process which probably isn't all that different between fiction and the kind of embroidered nonfiction I do. We talked about how to get out of the way of your subconscious mind, how to let it flow, because it writes much better than the conscious mind. The talk ran 'round to Chet Baker, who was slumbering back in my hotel room, and we traded stories about nonverbal communication between people and animals. It was cool.

Thursday night, there was a public lecture, and a lot of the people who came are also readers of this blog. And it occurred to me that some of them might like to meet The Bacon. Although Nina and Susan already had, they are always up for another crispy serving. So after the talk, I invited four women up to the Manchester Hotel and we sat around on the floor hooting with laughter as Chet Baker ripped Susan's new toy to smithereens,


decked Susan, purveyor of toys and Pupperoni, a couple of times,
had a scavenger hunt for bits of Pupperoni, aimed sudden and deadly accurate kisses at everyone's tonsils, and just generally lit the room up with his doggy joydaveev.**

**Joie de vive. I know. I just like making new words.

Unh unh unh unh unh unh unh rrrrrrrrrrrrrowwwwww. All the puppy training books warn you not to play tug o'war with your dog or he'll grow up to dominate you, make your life miserable, and eventually kill you while you sleep. Hasn't happened yet. So far, we just play tug o'war.

Four grown women sitting on the floor, hooting over a dog. You'll recognize Nina in the middle, too...


Think he knows what a star he is? Smile, Chet. Look at the camera. Yes, Mether. How is this? I am making my eyes extra googly.

I suppose at some point Chet will be attending the lectures with me. Or he will let me attend them with him. I can see me, dog on my knee, answering questions aimed at Chet, in the distinctive dawgvoice we've developed. Kind of a Charlie McCarthy act, but with a much cuter and smarter dummy. We'll take it on the road. I hope all the hotels we pick are as pet-friendly--I'd call the staff doghappy!-- as the homey sweet Manchester Inn in Middletown, Ohio.

Many thanks to Eric Melbye, his writing students, and MUM for making such a fuss and being willing to listen to a bunch of animal stories.



20 comments:

Ahhhhh ...

I feel much better now.

A Chetfix. You can't let us junkies go so long without a dose of our drug.

(I know, I know; if I wasn't such a party-pooper, I coulda got my fix in person.)

~Kathi, whose verif word is SABLE, as in, "Chet's sable coat gleams in the sunshine."

Well now, I hadn't put my finger on it, but I have been feeling restless lately, unfulfilled, deprived.
So it was a Chet fix I needed.
Thank yew very much.

Hmmmmm - yes - Chet - that's better...sigh.

My mother and I enjoyed your lecture Thursday night. It was a joy listening to you! I love your book, Letters from Eden. Thank you for a truly memorable evening!

I feel so honored to have met Chet Baker, too! ~:OD Thank you!

Hello, I have been looking at your blog for long time. I went on Missouri birding mail lists and saw a picture of a brown pelican, it says julie zickfoose so i thought it was yours. Awesome picture if it is.

The Chosen One steps out onto the balcony, regaling his disciples and giving them a leisurely wave....
...the disciples sigh. And there is much rejoicing.


Word verification: capoo.

Doubt it, BirdBoy. I've never photographed a brown pelican. But thanks anyway.

Always such a treat to see you BOTH, Julie!
You know you've raised them well, when your friends welcome their company!

How about that mug on a dog food bag, or a Pupperoni commercial--maybe not the stuffed toy promo, but I'm sure there's room in the world for an up and coming pet star...named Chet Baker.

Chet Baker is such a good story teller. I love how he calls you Mether. He should write a book.

Thanks I needed that. I do have one of my own(Cooper)but I love the Chet Baker tails. Ha Ha

Thanks Julie! It's always a treat to get a Bacon post!

I'm cackling like a nut:

... I can see me, dog on my knee, answering questions aimed at Chet, in the distinctive dawgvoice we've developed.

You know it IS NOT all about the dog, Julie. It's about YOU and the only dog in Ohio that has a world-wide fan club.

The verif word here was SOILLER, which was like, a direct order to comment. Chet is lookin' good, and so are the women with him! It's always super to see a post about life at home in Ohio, after so long away in foreign lands. Thank you for the joy from lands far & near.

Thanks for the Chet pictures and story Julie.
(my dog gets that same goofy face as Chet when she's rolling around on the bedspread)

Heh. I noticed recently that, while I've been reading every post of yours for quite some time, it is more often than not the Chet Baker posts on which I feel the strongest urge to comment.

Thanks for the Chet-fix! I have dutifully inserted a ten-spot.

Although for some reason, my CD-player has suddenly stopped working. I'll have to get that looked at...

So what exactly are the laws in the State of Ohio for dispensing an addictive drug over the internet...?

Oh my goodness...

I used to put Chiquita banana stickers on my cat's heads. Puma, Spot and Mikey. They're all gone now...but I still remember how much they hated playing "stickerhead" with me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Even though we have our own "bit-o-bacon" we love how you write of Chet's adventures. I'll try to wait more than one month and two days to prod you for anther fix, but it won't be easy!

Wanted to say "thank you" for an inspiring evening last Thursday! Your books are beautifully written and illustrated; the Young Birders' book is great for us "newbies" to birding as well as for the kiddies! :-) Hope to see you again soon when you're out and about in the Southern Ohio region!! -- paula, from dayton/yellow springs area, OH

(word verification: barbrei (ken's new girlfriend? haha)

Ah, there is no poverty when you have a pal like Chet. The wealth he brings to you is far greater than that held in any bank vault.

bill@wildramblings.com

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