Sharing the Back Porch With Barkley

The gurgle of the wine pouring out of the bottle sends Barkley at my feet. He looks up at me, dances a dance a circus dog would envy and runs to the screened in back porch. It’s that time. It’s my time to UNwine after a day of writing with a glass of Chardonnay, and cool, sharp early Fall breeze fanning over me. It’s a time to thank the Universe for all Its given me, and, breaking the silence of a writer’s day to talk with Barkley. (It is important to note, I don’t always UNwine. Many times I UNwater with a glass of H20, or UNtea with a cuppa.)

Barkley takes his spot on the yellow poof. I take mine on the rocking, rod iron chair.

Me: What a beautiful day. It’s sort of a shame I didn’t get out more. Not really though. I did get a lot of writing done, and I am tired. Let me tell you, it is exhausting to create. Fun, love it, but can exhaust the mind. I am on a high now though. I finally have my characters in order, and the plot, as they say, is thickening. I hope this version is THE version. I need to this book done. I want to get this book done. I don’t know why this is taking me so long. It’s the third in the series and it’s been a difficult one. You know this as you sit at or on my feet all day as I type, and sigh, and groan, and yell. Yeah, you hear it all as I struggle to get this book written.

Barkley glances up and me and I take a sip of my wine.

Me: You’re right. I know why this book has not come easy to me. Peter died as I started it, well the first version of it anyway. How many versions have I had? No matter. Writing this romance story has been hard, painfully so, especially when my muse died. My headspace just isn’t there, you know? But I think I’m getting there. I’m digging deep into what Peter and I had together. I’m trying to pull from that. It came so easily when Peter was alive. I didn’t have to remember; I lived the passion. Even during our fights, our not-talking-to-you times, our moments of loathing, there was passion. This passion propelled me. Now? Well, now.

Barkley tilts his head as I pour some wine down my throat.

Me: You understand passion. It’s how you feel for dinner, or your bone.

At this Barkley jumps off the poof and starts dancing around.

Me: Oops, I shouldn’t have said those words. It’s not time yet for either. But you get my point. I lived in passion with the other two books. All the heroes in my book had something of Peter in them, had a bit of our experiences sprinkled in. I wrote what I knew and I knew him. I was drawn to him. He always had this indescribable, something about him, something good in him. It drew me to him, and kept me there. I understand how couples’ marriages morphs into friendship. It’s a great thing, a settling thing, a comfortable thing. Only, I think there was more to mine and Peter’s. Oh, Peter was my friend, my best friend, but there was this attraction beyond friends. Maybe it was the romance writer in me seeking more, or the same writer making it more than it was. Or maybe it was more. People have made comments on us, so it probably was there, this desire for one another. Maybe it wouldn’t have last past another twenty plus years together. Or maybe it would have lasted longer. I will never know. Just so you know, this isn’t me talking nostalgic. It’s me talking real. You know I always get real, my furry, underbite friend.

Barkley jumps back on the poof, and lays down, surrendering to the fact dinner time is not quite yet.

Me: Peter was the reason why the other two romance books came easily to me. He wasn’t romantic. He was not the flower-giving, pouring on admiration sort of husband. He did surprise me though, often, with an unpredicted gesture, a out-of-nowhere compliment, a look, a kiss, a something different, unforeseen moments. When the unexpected happened, the realness of that moment hit my soul. It’s like what he did or said had the most meaning when they were done sparingly, you know? Maybe that’s why you don’t allow me to pet you too often. Maybe you’re just looking for the times that mean more. Or if I fed you…you know….or gave you a….you know…too often, would your really get excited by either? Oh, who am I kidding? You are an animal. My point is, too much of something dulls our senses and grows boring, as human beings. I think Peter knew this.

Barkley’s head whips towards the screen when he sees a bug. I check out my glass to make sure none of the bug’s relatives are taking a swim in my wine before I swallow some more.

Me: Well, I won’t get anymore melancholy. It seems I’m getting my romance writing mo-jo back, and I’ll take it. I am remembering us, Peter and me, without pain, or less pain. These memories are pouring into my writing now, in one form or another. Goll, this writing gig is hard. I do love it though. I do. Especially when it clicks. You understand. It’s like how proud you are when you yell, I mean, bark, at the mail lady, or the UPS guy. You know, how the person leaves, you do that strut of yours? That’s kind of what I’m feeling. You know, I should strut when a chapter is done. Of course, I don’t have your cute little wiggle butt.

Barkley does this thing with his top lip where I swear he’s smiling at me. It is subtle, but I see it. When I stand, half emptied wine glass in my hand, Barkley is at my feet. He and I both know it’s dinner time.

Me: Well, thanks for UNwineing with me, my friend. Now it’s time to feed you and get dinner started. Tomorrow is another day of writing. I’m going to put more of me, of Peter and me, into Cal and Willa’s story. Did I tell you I wrote you into this one? I did. I wrote in the story a dog just like you. But we have dinner to prepare, so I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow afternoon. Meet me on this back porch.