Letting go, isn’t easy…it’s impossible!

My dog, Meiko is a Shiba Inu. Before my husband and kids came home from the owner that sold this breed I knew nothing of these dogs. I fell in love pretty easily. Now, he’s 15 years old and at the end of his life. Which is so hard for me and my family to accept the thought alone of letting go of him. He’s been incredible. Iffy at first and I questioned whether or not he would be good with kids. He grew on me.

He is actually growling in this picture. Sometimes, if you’d go to pick him up he was more like a cat, defiant. He would not want to be petted at all when he was laying down. The bigger I grew, the more afraid of him I’d get when I bent down just to give him a pet. He’d growl and actually snap, and I’d pull the hand back. Show him the leash and he’d spring to his feet! He loved taking walks. Still, I worried “is this a safe dog to have with kids?”

My son was 5 and totally in love with Meiko. He started walking him as a chore (my husband gave him) and I was not thrilled with that either. The idea of a young boy heading out, walking alone even in a quiet suburban neighborhood like mine. My son Rob is very kind and Meiko appreciated his demeanor and his love.  Rob accepted the chore and those two grew very close.

My daughter Korin is a dancer, so she’d be busy every rehearsing dance and didn’t have as much time to bond with Meiko. Still, she started helping with the morning and afternoon walks. She too, fell in love with Meiko! Meiko had a special talent to show off to Korin. He could dance and jump too! He didn’t walk or run like normal dogs down a hill. Down our waterfront hill of three levels he “sprang” down each level of the hill. “Boing, Boing, Boing”. Was this something out of a cartoon or trick? I couldn’t believe it and have never seen anything quite like it. Also, Meiko loved to play “road trip”. When Meiko would see an opening in the doorway to the outside…he’d take it!

Bolting, faster than lightning he’d run out that door and I could not catch him. He of course thought it was a game and that we were all willing participants! We were desperate to catch him, as he could get hit by a car. Only Korin could corner and catch him. One night when he escaped, I had to go to the dance studio and pick her up so she could catch him. Down on the water he was sniffing, exploring, walking and springing fences from water front, to water front. Finally, she cornered him on a pier and grabbed his collar and slipped on the leash.

Days ticked by, Meiko grew. We walked, we kept trying to pet him and eventually he accepted those pets on his nose. Still, pet his body and he’d sometimes accept them, but mostly jump up to his feet and scamper off. We brushed the hair of his constantly shedding body, and he’d stand there for a few minutes, until he’d had enough and start running off. Cat/dog, was what I always thought about him.

Japanese mountain dog, with springing ability of a mountain goat. What the genetic heck is a Shiba Inu? Also, they dont’ bark. Once in a while if they have a possum cornered they “ruff, ruff” in a growl. They cry almost talking, if they’re hurt, like a “oo-lllll-ow” sound, very loudly and that brings all loving humans running. Otherwise, they’re able to sneak up on all ground creatures and we have found many with their feet chewed off in the yard, which was icky to say the least.

These days, I alone walk him at night. Very slowly at first I lead him out the door way and the leash helps me keep him steady on his wavering feet. I lead him right to the grass. He stubbornly insists on walking on the brick walkway. I don’t want him to fall, so I stand in his way to force him back to the lawn. He doesn’t understand, and he stands there as if confused. I feel bad, so I stand aside and let him walk where he wants. I feel like this is the least I can do, give him his freedom for a bit longer whilst he can at least walk. He falls a lot.

When he does, he lets out one of those loud howls, “A-Oooo-ow-lllll” that makes my entire household respond, come running. He pees on the wood floor; which is probably why he was getting up to come get us to walk him. I walk him quietly late at night. Sing a bit to him. I walk him in the morning, he falls, howls and I pet him until he recovers and then I continue. My neighbor says “when are you going to put him down”. I don’t bother to reply. I just walk him and sing a bit to him and go back inside and think “this is impossible”.

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Update # 1

Since returning to America I have come to see it as slightly more brilliant (not that Ireland was at all lack luster, I loved it). Looking at America as my actual home though I realize that so much of it has gone unexplored by myself, half because I am a broke college student and half because I have no car, but such is life I’m sure more people haven’t spent the time exploring even their hometowns let alone further. I know that America is all about work… and that is what I’m also trying to work towards… Working hard through school just to work hard the rest of my life. My heart and the shower curtain hanging up in my room tell me that it is constantly “Time for an Adventure!” Yet, day after day I either go from my bed to the couch and possibly to work or a class. Hell even getting groceries is a chore. The only reason that is kinda fun is because you get to treat yourself to childhood goodies (remembering a time when there wasnt so much work in your life). Just a casual reminder that I am thinking all these thoughts and I am only 20. I can only imagine how bad this feeling is for other people, who have been doing the same thing for over 10 years. But, maybe we just need to think smaller for a short time. Ireland was my dream, and I was able to go to ireland and make new friends and have that adventure I always wanted. But now its time to buckle down and get my life together… but that doesnt mean cut out all the fun stuff. Smaller achievable goals. Like, going on a hike, or restarting a blog because it allows my mind to wonder, or actually visiting those friends that I keep telling myself I will. All seem like worthy goals.

Late: Rehersal

Now that we are actually practicing our work, I’m starting to get nervous! Nervous only for other’s reactions, but mainly excited to perform with my friends. It feels so great to act out different characters and understand the character from the writer’s perspective. As we reach each step in the creative process from beginning our scripts to rehearsal, I have been enjoying each step better than the last!

Late: Nathaniel

I absolutely enjoyed working with Nathaniel in the characterization workshop! Making believable characters is my favorite part of creating a story so I appreciated his input on how to do so. He also pointed out to me that having the psych background would be helpful and so far it has been! He’s also a great bar conversationalist.

And so I have written …

All good things must end or after a while they would no longer be good. 

Furthermore, with every end is a new beginning. This chapter of this book has not ended, just made room for something new. I feel this way with what I am taking back from Armagh and how I have grown from the experience. I look back, thinking of the first day when everything was new and unfamiliar. As the month progressed, things begin to feel second nature. Life felt new and peaceful. I was exposed to many things and learned very much about writing, myself, culture, identity, and people. It was the first time I stayed in a hostel with a very large group. I enjoyed the people I met and most of all the work I produce.

Although, I produce a complete short story, Imfound inspiration to write more and completed poems while I was there. The culture and the a tire of the people in Armagh is what I loved. When the JHISS came around, I realized my Armagh haven was ending. I took the memoir workshop with Maureen which was more inspiring than I thought. I feel capable of writing about my experiences and hoping people will be able to empathize or realize there is a person like them in the world. I wasn’t sad but happy because of the experience and the work. I’m happy for the memories and that is did it with that group of people. They were supportive of my work and of me. Armagh, I’ll miss you but my time with you is over. But the inspiration I gained from you and what I have learned will never leave. I will continue to use that to write.

And so I have written.

Performing at the John Hewitt

The John Hewitt festival- as in being a performer was an inspiring experience. I read a short story and fully understood the power of story and fiction. I enjoyed being able to breath life into my work and the works of other. The JHISS was an incredible experience. Being a performer was nerve-wracking but I loved it because we all worked incredibly hard and having an audience to see the work we dod made me proud. 

The End

Every story has its ending. 

I wish it didn’t have to end, though. Being in Ireland has really opened up my mind and has given me this desire to travel and learn new cultures. 

I loved being in the Armagh Project. I want to come back next year. (@Kim @Terri: how do I make this happen?)

I can honestly say that this experience has really changed me as a person in the best way. It’s given my confidence, yet humbled me. It’s given me new friends and appreciation for my old ones. I really like the Grace that is leaving Ireland. 

I’m sad to leave, but exited to take what I learned with me!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!

Reflections of Month

  Where do I begin, or END as the month comes to close?

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The beauty of Ireland and our home Armagh around us, is difficult to leave. The people here in Ireland, so welcoming. The food (I gained 5 pds) TASTY and FRESH!

The lessons learned in writing were valuable and I will be using them for ever more. Nessa was amazing, in spotting just a word here or tweak to make your poem work and sound better. Her list making and editing will definitely help my works.

ARMAGH HAS A ROCK STAR MAYOR TOO!

The Eperience

My overall experience has been a great one.

I have traveled through and experience the wonderful structure that is Ireland. This Ireland is a mainland in itself. I

I have wept tears for the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland. For their culture, and occasionally their ignorance. 

 have looked dumbfounded at accents and have smiled when I’ve given up on understanding. I have made my face and my work known and have met great novelist that see me in their place someday. I have walked the path of ancient giants and visited standing castles. I have embraced in the culture that is Ireland. I have made this place home. 

Late: Audience

It is, in most cases, in my opinion, important to write for your audience. It should be done at least to avoid offending your audience unintentionally. The amount of research on your audience that should be done, depends on what you are presenting. Play writing  for a culture you are not a part of should involve a bit of simple research but, overall, I feel that it should be easy to please the audience and make sure the performance is a good time.