October 22nd 2008 7:54 am
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On Saturday, October 25th at 9:00pm, Alison and I will be participating in a book event right here on Dogster.com. I'll be online at the Dogster Movies, Books, and Entertainment Forum from 9:00 to 10:00 pm (EST) to answer any and all questions you (or your dog) may have about CITY DOG, writing about dogs, Carlie, or anything else.
Carlie may answer some questions, too. And we'll be giving away four signed copies of CITY DOG!
This event is hosted by the amazing group Westies Unite (I love them) and it's open to all of Dogster (if you're not already a member of Dogster.com, signing up is real easy). I hope you'll be able to cyber stop by....
The event will take place RIGHT HERE, just click!
Hope to see you,
September 9th 2008 6:59 am
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(...here's the final installment of the excerpt chapter CITY DOG!)
Run, Carlie, Run!: The Adventures of Carlie.
Though to be technically correct, Run, Carlie, Run!: The Adventures of Carlie is actually a book about the adventures of me and Robert Maguire, the Scottish explorer who accompanies me on my adventures. It began as something that Amy worked on when she was not writing her Great American Novel, her great, important, literary tome.
Three years later, said tome has not been worked on very much at all. But Run, Carlie, Run!: The Adventures of Carlie (the story of how I traveled to Scotland and lingered too long on the banks of Loch Ness and almost met my demise at the snout of the Loch Ness Monster until Robert Maguire alerted me to danger by shouting (I bet you can guess),“Run, Carlie, Run!”) has been worked on quite a lot. Soon after its completion, Run, Carlie, Run! had someone important called a literary agent, it was sold to a very big publishing house, and I heard “an illustrator was attached,” which means there was a person who drew pictures of me to match the words Amy wrote about me. And then the book was published and sent out into the world where it was met with the greatest acclaim. Run, Carlie, Run!: The Adventures of Carlie was followed up quickly by Run, Carlie, Run!: Carlie in Paris and then Run, Carlie, Run!: Carlie in the Congo. There was a precarious perch atop La Tour Eiffel; there was a rogue crocodile in the Congo. Robert Maguire and I averted them all.
Each of the three books about me has been on a bestseller list at one time or another. I have been translated into twenty-seven languages. I have received numerous accolades, and once, an award. I have heard it said that there is not a child under the age of ten who does not know the name Carlie. There are lunchboxes, notebooks, figurines made in my likeness, and as of just recently, fruit roll-ups bearing my name.
I am not altogether sure how happy any of this makes Amy, not when she really thinks about it. I heard her say once that she was not sure this is what she wanted to be remembered for, if a picture book about her dog (I did not appreciate the leaving out of my name) was what her life’s work was supposed to be. And then I got confused or something else caught my attention, probably the latter. I think there was a bird on the windowsill.
If you ask me, and you might as well, I think she takes it all too seriously. I have things that I work on, that I put a lot of care and time and energy into. For example, I am systematically de-fringing the Oriental rug in the living room. It is long work, and it is tiring work, and also to avoid detection, it is work I must go about very slowly, under the cloak of darkness, or at least when I am here alone with only the Dixie Chicks for company. Who knows when I will finish? But I do not get all dramatic about it and call it my life’s work. No, I prefer to think of it as my current project.
I see that Amy has moved away from the white rectangle and has made her way into the kitchen. She takes one of the boxes from the cupboard. Oh, look, it is the tall white one. It is a truth that I feel a great love for all boxes that are removed from the cupboard, but I especially love the tall white box with the large blue writing. I do not know what the writing says, but I know what is inside this particular box. The salt cracker. Now, like magic, Amy has the salt cracker in her hand.
I am sorry, but I have to go.
September 3rd 2008 7:23 am
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(...picking up where we left off last week:)
So let us forget about all the other people for now, or at least try really hard to. I have learned that people can have a hard time forgetting about things. I have also learned that people have a way of becoming quite easily confused.
I know that sometimes Amy gets confused. I know that sometimes Amy does not know where to start her story. I am here to tell you that it is not that confusing. The story started when Amy and Jonathan drove to Cape May, New Jersey and got me. Right before that there had been a number of years that Amy will refer to sometimes as “The Baby Debates,” and at other times she will refer to them as “The End.” What happened is that during The Baby Debates, Jonathan told Amy, who wanted a baby, that he wanted one, too, just not right yet. And then after saying that for a few years, he said he did not, want a baby that is. I think that is when the period of time changed in Amy’s mind from The Baby Debates to The End. Also, I think that must be how I know that just because you say something year after year, it does not mean it is true.
And so Amy and Jonathan drove to Cape May, New Jersey, which is where I come from, and they got me. Instead is a word I believe may have been used. But that is not something I like to think about.
I liked the first neighborhood I lived in in New York City, and I very much liked the Central Park that was right at the end of our block. It was very big, much bigger than the park we go to now. But we didn’t stay there very long, and then I wasn’t with Amy and Jonathan anymore, then I was just with Amy. I do not ever remember feeling bad about that, and I do not know for sure what happened to Jonathan. I do not know for certain where he went. I think that he stayed there, in the house I lived in when I was young, the one that had stairs on the same side of the door as all the furniture. There was a lot of furniture there; there was a Chippendale sofa in particular, upon which I was not allowed. For some reason my being on that sofa often resulted in Jonathan referring to me not as Carlie (as I understandably prefer to be called) but as “the dog.”
“Amy,” he would say, “Can you get the dog off the Chippendale sofa.” And he did so in a way that I felt lacked a certain respect, revealed perhaps a less than generous spirit.
Soon after I met him, Jonathan faded out. It was a slow fade, but even so, I never felt I knew him well. Never once did I sense him to be an enduring presence in my life, even during my uptown puppyhood. To be perfectly honest, at this point I do not wish to remember him.
And then we moved here, to Fifth Street. It is in a place called the East Village and Amy said it was as far away as she could get from the Upper East Side, which is where we lived before. This does not make very much sense to me, because even I can think of places farther.
We came to Fifth Street and spent our mornings in a park that was smaller and called Tompkins Square Park, where I made friends but Amy did not. Amy did not spend very much time at all talking to even one of the very many people that are always there, gathered in small pairs, and bigger clusters, and even bigger groups. Instead of talking, as so many of the other people seem so keen to do, Amy spent a lot of time thinking about the novel she wanted to write. When she talked to me about it, she would say how she wanted it to be a Great American Novel. But she did not write a novel, Great American or otherwise.
She wrote a book about me.