Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | By: Brianna

The Page Is a Puppy

For my Writing Fiction class, we had to write about our relationship with the page.  As in the page you write on. We were supposed to write how we feel about the page and what compels us to write.  I'm really hoping that my reflection doesn't demonstrate that I hate writing and that I do it merely out of necessity, but I have a bad feeling that this is what it's saying.  Which is a lie...but this is what I wrote...


The page is a puppy.  All floppy-earred and tail-waggy, the page is eager.  Enthusiastic.  The page bounces at my feet when I come home, sliding on the tile because it can’t really get traction.
            “I can’t, I have homework,” I tell it.  “I have piles of reading and stacks of e-mails, and no time.  I’m sorry.”  But not really.  Let’s face it.  I’m not sorry.  My backpack is empty.  I don’t have homework, and if I did, it masqueraded as my Facebook stalker feed and the refresh button.
            My page is a puppy, disappointed in its master who leaves it empty and bored.  If ASPCA knew about this page puppy neglect, I would never be allowed to keep it.  The page looks up at me one more time with those warm puppy eyes and begs, sitting back on its haunches with an open mouth prepared to howl.  I leap to my feet with all the haste of a jack-in-the-box racing a cuckoo clock to chime the hour.  The page can’t make a sound or I’ll break.  So I pour it some water and feed it a movie quote and youtube video mélange to tide it over until morning.
            And in the morning, the page climbs into bed with me before dawn and whimpers, nosing me with its cold snout.  It’s hungry.  And lonely.  When I pull back the covers, the page wags.  Once my feet touch the floor, the page yips hopefully.  It skitters on the tile when I sit at my desk and…check my e-mail.
            One hour before class and I pick up the page.  I have to chase it because all of a sudden it thinks I want to play.  I catch the page and it wiggles between my hands in anticipation, licking my fingers with a grainy tongue.  I put it on my desk and tickle its ears for only a moment.  There is no time for extended pleasantries when there’s a deadline.  Pulling a pen from my desk, I write for the sake of necessity.  All the same, the page preens.  It wags its tail and shakes out its fur.  I throw out words across my desk and the page fetches ideas and delusions of grandeur.  Once I’ve sat down rewarded by the page’s affection, I don’t want to leave it.
            I smuggled the page into my accounting class once.  The leverage and manufacturing overhead confused it as much as they confused me.  Anyway, it amazed me the professor didn’t see me playing creative short range fetch with the page in the front row.  I think that the page is invisible to business folk because my classmates didn’t see it either, and if they did it was only a glimpse.  Maybe when you choose a discipline you choose willful blindness towards other things.
            I see the page.  And the page is a puppy that’s teething.  It attaches itself to my pant leg before getting a better purchase and nibbling on my ankle.  Though puppy teeth don’t hurt, I fear their pressure, their little pinpricks insisting I play.  Insisting I write.  And when the page howls, my heart sputters like an old car starting in winter cold.  I want to feed the page prose and poetry, and weird punctuation, but those teeth snap too eagerly at my fingertips and lap up the ink too quickly.
            But I’m attached to the puppy page as if the leash melded into the skin of my palm becoming a second life line.  The page tugs me to somewhere unknown where imaginary things spider off of shelves and the ridiculous isn’t so strange.  We have an understanding, one in which the page forgives me even after months of neglect.  Somehow the page is always constant, always a puppy.  The page tolerates flarf and drivel, all it craves is attention and maybe some kibble every now and again.  And the page makes me laugh, curled up in my lap, while providing warmth and comfort.  

"The page waits, pretending to be blank.  Is that its appeal, its blankness?  What else is this smooth and white, this terrifyingly innocent?"
- Margaret Atwood


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