Letting Out the Dog

I’ve been fostering an old dog in my heart for a long time. I kept hoping someone would love him as much as I do, see his virtues, finally give him a home. But finding a place for this old boy has been darned near impossible. Oh, he’s been close a few times. I mean who can resist those dark eyes? That constantly wagging tail? But no one has quite understood his larger-than-life personality. Or wanted to risk his grizzled whiskers. It doesn’t matter anymore, however, because I’ve decided I’m done waiting. I’m going to take the risk and finally let him out myself. Before the end of 2022, HOTDOG will be real, at least as real as the pages of a book will allow.

I’m not quite sure when I first started writing HOTDOG. Maybe around 2006? I do remember Carolyn Yoder (Calkins Creek) was the first person to lay eyes on it at one of her Highlights Foundation alumni workshops. All because I didn’t do my homework.

I was supposed to send her chapters of a different book beforehand but hadn’t gotten a chance with the job from (#@%!) I had at the time. So, that evening I arrived in Pennsylvania, I gave her those chapters and the one of HOTDOG I’d been playing with.

Bright and early the next morning Carolyn handed me the HOTDOG pages. “Work on these. You’ve got a gift for humor.” It was the first time I’d ever heard my coping mechanism called a gift. But I ran with it and completed six crappy chapters that week. The best thing was that it felt wonderful. The worst was that I had to go back to the (#@%!) job.

I kept slogging away on HOTDOG as I could, taking him to more of Carolyn’s workshops before finally starting to submit to agents in 2011. Life continued as I wrote, rewrote, and kept submitting.

 And now, suddenly, it’s 2022.

The wait has been frustrating, embarrassing, depressing. But it hasn’t been for nothing. For one, I realized that writing this book has been my therapy. It’s helped me work through the grief I was never allowed to experience as a child. I’ve healed because of this book and healing often takes a long time.

I also learned that HOTDOG, like all dachshunds, does not understand the word “NO.” So, though I was often discouraged, I couldn’t let him go. He kept sending me dachshund reminders, scratching at the door.

So, now, I’m excited as I turn this indie publishing knob. Floyd has always been my biggest supporter, forever assuring me that someone would be willing to give HOTDOG a chance. I never guessed that the someone would be me.

10 Responses to “Letting Out the Dog”

  1. Margaret says:

    I very much enjoy your writing. You definitely are sharing your gift💞

  2. Janice says:

    Go for it!

  3. Shanna says:

    I’ve always LOVED Hot Dog! And, I think it was started before we left Oberlin in 2004, wasn’t it? Yeah! Can’t wait to buy a copy!

    • dalemarie says:

      I bet you’re right, Shanna. I know you were the one who gave me the idea for the costumes. This had been a community project, for sure.

  4. Carol Hand says:

    It’s time. Poor Hotdog has been waiting far too long!

  5. Tammie Benham says:

    I’m so SO glad hotdog will be published! I loved the book, found it full of humor all those years ago in writing group, and can’t wait to share his adventures with my grandkids!

    • dalemarie says:

      Aw, THANK YOU, Tammie. So kind of you to remember Hotdog after all these years. Please stay in touch and let me know what your grandkids think!

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