January 19th, 2012 / 9:40 am
Behind the Scenes

My Dog Died Last Night

When I’m sitting down to write every morning, I make sure the sun’s casting a photoshopped glow through the sheer blinds and that all implements of the trade are just so. I’m particularly interested in books being at the right angle for photographing. The above picture is apparently Faulkner’s writing room, and I’m 100% certain that it looked just like that when he was writing in it. He was a meticulous man. No errant papers, no spilled coffee. I’m equally certain that Faulkner only wrote in the perfect light, likely magic hour. Only ever magic hour. He wrote As I Lay Dying┬áduring that first and last hour of light because people only die when the light’s just right. You wouldn’t want to die in the wrong light, would you? I mean, what would people think? Writing and dying. Dying and writing. But when you think about it, you also shouldn’t eat in the wrong light or make love in the wrong light. Jesus, what if your lover sees that scar on your left knee?

My dog died last night as I held her in my arms. I tried for magic hour, but the vet was running late. I lit candles instead. She died there in my arms, injected first with anesthesia then with kill-you formula. Her eyes stayed wide open and twitched. She let out a dying breath that smelled like violence. We buried her in a deep hole. My office overlooks her grave. It’s magic hour, this hour, this hour between sleep and waking. I’m writing at my messy desk. The light’s really nice.

R.I.P. Nut.


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One Comment

  1. Clyo

      Experiencing death as a beautiful moment–to inject not just death but dignity, and to come away with the memory of a Light-filled experience–is an ideal, perhaps, impossible to achieve.

      When the kindly vet came to put my dearest pup down, it was all I could do to hold my loud, messy sobbing at bay until my lovely dog’s spirit left. I did not want him to take away any trace of startled fear. He gave me so much in life; I wanted to give him the best possible death.

      It’s been many years since Skipper died and I remember the light as grey and forlorn though it was a beautiful California morning. I love him still and, although remembering his absence brings an ache, I would never choose to forget him. Thank you for your poignant post.