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Sharon Lynn Asks What Distracts You?

Sharon Lynn’s short stories have been featured in multiple anthologies, the most recent being the Malice Domestic Anthology, Murder Most Theatrical. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here.

As anyone who has seen my social media the last couple of months will know, I was gifted with a puppy this year! A half border collie/half mini-Aussie bundle of inexhaustible energy. And with him comes new things I say.

The number one phrase I never thought I would utter: “Get the puppy outof the dishwasher.”

The phrase I never thought I would say 4,367 times is “Don’t eat that.”

I understand that the puppy is exploring the world with his mouth, but honestly, does he have to sample everything?

The answer to that question is yes. Yes, he does. As I settle in to write, he is suddenly standing by the door. The behavior must be rewarded. We live in a condo tower, and potty training is a challenge. He needs to go out. Down the elevator, out the door, across the pool patio, down another flight of steps, and he can release. Good puppy!

Since we’re down here, we may as well go for a walk. He snaps up magenta bougainvillea flowers like popcorn. “Don’t eat that.”

He’s magically picked something up without my notice and is rolling it around in his mouth. I look. It’s a rock. He’s happy as Larry, like the rock is the best thing in the world. “Don’t eat that.”

We pass a beautiful oleander bush full of pink blooms. Every part of it is poisonous. Apocryphally, bees that collect its nectar make mildly toxic honey. Maybe I could put that in a story. His mouth opens, and I drag him away. “Please, please, please don’t eat that!”

We make it back upstairs. All is quiet. The puppy seems content to sleep in a corner. As I finally get another paragraph written, I hear a slow, rhythmic grinding. I check the puppy. The adorable little angel has his sharp teeth hooked over the toe board and is gnawing a hole in it.

“Don’t eat that.”

I take him to the storage locker to get wood putty and paint. He picks up heaven knows what off the elevator floor. There was nothing on the floor to pick up! But there must have been something. “Don’t eat that,” I sigh, trading what I find is tape for a dog biscuit.
We return. I fix the wall. I put the puppy in his kennel, where he sleeps like the sweetest creature on earth. Settling on the couch, I open my laptop, fingers poised to finish my latest story. I promptly fall asleep.

Jerking awake in a panic, I check the clock. It’s been an hour and a half, and the puppy will need to go out in again in thirty minutes —just enough time for a relaxing cup of yogurt. Quick as a viper, paws are on the counter, teeth snatching the empty container. “Don’t,” I yell as he zooms out of the kitchen. “Eat,” I continue as he tackles himself enthusiastically and zooms to a bedroom. “That,” I finish as he makes the entire circuit once more.

We go out. With the innocence of a newborn, he snatches a bulb from the landscaping. “Don’t eat that.” Jaws tighten. “It’s not yours.” Head turns away, but the eyes remain on me. “Someone took pains to plant that.” I tug, he bites it in half.

As he finishes his business, he finds a palm frond. Palm fronds are the best. Even better than rocks. My plea is half-hearted because he’s so darn cute. “Don’t eat that.”

4,375.

 Are there wonderful things that keep you from your work? Let me know what they are!

Sharon Lynn

Sharon Lynn’s mystery short stories, Final Curtain (2020) and Death on Tap (2017) are published in anthologies by Malice Domestic and Sisters in Crime’s Desert Sleuths. You can find out more about her on her website, sharonlwrites.com, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Laurie Buchanan

    Sharon — Your pup is so darned cute. I follow you on Instagram, where I get to see even more photos.

    What distracts me? The great outdoors.

    I take three two-mile walks each day. One before I start writing. One in the middle. And one as a reward when I finish.

    1. Sharon Lynn

      I love walking! I try to get five or six miles in a day but consider it a necessity rather than a distraction which I think is true for you, too. Your gorgeous shots of Idaho on Instagram are inspiring!

  2. Sherrill Joseph

    What an adorable pooch Sharon. I, too, have a Great Distraction in my dog Jimmy Lambchop. He blogs in my Newsletter, so some are familiar with him. Other distractions aren’t so wonderful, however, like house chores, appointments, and errands. They are necessary, of course, but they consume my precious writing time. Thanks for your positive slant!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      You know you’re deep in writing when you use “folding laundry” as a reward for finishing a chapter. “If I get this page done I can mop the floor.” Someday we’ll need a real reward!

  3. marilynlevinson

    What a cutie! But reading this I once again wonder if I will get another kitten. All that energy!!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      Kittens have their own set of challenges, don’t they? We adopted one from a Caribbean island which was mostly feral. Got her home and she immediately scaled a 60 foot palm tree! Fortunately, she came back down without any problem, but she was a handful.

  4. We got Clyde, a full basset hound when he was eight, and he was wonderfully mellow. Sadly, we lost him three years later (bassets don’t live that long). But before Clyde passed, TobyWan, a basset/beagle mix, came to live with us and at age two was the youngest critter we’d had in the house in over a decade. He wasn’t as active as your little guy, but it was a bit of a shock. Fortunately, TobyWan has since fully connected with the basset side of his nature and doesn’t even want to go on walks anymore. As for distractions… Well, there’s TobyWan. The cats. Dishes that need doing. Laundry that needs doing. Not wanting to do any of the other tasks on my to-do list…

    1. @sharonlwrites

      Not wanting to do the to-do list is a huge problem for me, too! It sits there, looming. If you ignore it too long it lurks around corners waiting to leap out unexpectedly.
      Is that TobyWan in your picture?

  5. Christine DeSmet

    Ah, yes, life with dogs. We had a couple (bichon and Wheaton terrier) over the years and I was raised with cattle dogs and a poodle, and a Saint Bernard plus a Siamese cat, and the ponies and cows of course and some pigs. The animals are definitely distractions. Right now, no pets and it feels like a nice vacation sometimes, especially when we want to travel at a moment’s notice. I love my main distraction now–good books. And that’s not really a distraction. Reading is a nutrient I love in my diet to keep me healthy. Congratulations on your puppy!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      I love the casual way you list out all these animals! I thought when you got to the Saint Bernard that you had plenty to handle, but then you added a farm’s worth more! We didn’t have a dog for years and it made travel much easier. Now I’m driving a lot more so I can bring him with us.

  6. Sheila Lowe

    That was a very entertaining read, and reminded me of why I have a cat!
    What distracts me is email, email, and more email. Because it has to be answered right away, doesn’t it?!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      We have a cat, too! And yes, she’s so much less maintenance than the dog. She is none too pleased to have a puppy in her domain. Lots of hissing going on.

  7. Joy Ann Ribar

    Absolutely loved your story – so warm. I can hear your voice in every line talking to that adorable dog of yours. Distractions abound in every corner of life, don’t they? Some are just more worthwhile.

    1. Sharon Lynn

      You’re absolutely right, Joy! Worthwhile he is. I would have never gotten a dog because we travel so much, but this one fell in our lap and now I can’t imagine life without him. He’ll make his way into stories, I’m sure, then all the distractions will be worth it.

  8. Avanit Centrae

    Cute! Life with dogs indeed. They’re my muse and my distraction!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      I know you have a German Shepard, Avanti. Do you have more than one?

  9. Valerie Biel

    Awww, but he’s so dang cute!! Right now, my garden is distracting. Our blueberries are just beginning to ripen and that means we had to get a big netting system over them or the birds will have a feast. We use a PVC frame to hold up the net–kind of like tinker toys for grown ups. Except that my husband and I argue about where the pieces go, even though the pieces are numbered and I have a diagram that I drew to avoid our annual bicker fest. The blueberries are worth it though!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      That set up sounds amazing! And hahaha – I love the argument. I’m with you: draw a plan, have instructions and follow them.

  10. Such a cute post, Sharon! Thank you. Getting ready to put our home on the market and move is distracting me now. Exciting, overwhelming, frightening all wrapped up into a great bundle of work! But I think this will be an awesome time in our lives when it’s all said and done.

    1. Sharon Lynn

      Moving is such a stressful process but once you’re done it’s a great feeling. I couldn’t concentrate on anything with a big change on the horizon. I’m so excited for you and your new adventure!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      You wouldn’t think anything could have that much energy!

  11. Tracey Phillips

    I love it! My dogs distract me all the time from writing, so I can totally relate! “Mom, I want out.” “Mom, water?” “Mom…you’re not paying attention to me!”
    So distracted this week that I didn’t read your post! Lol.
    Funny story about my mom’s standard poodle and the dishwasher. She was helping clean the plates one night and her collar got caught on the dish rack. She took off and dragged dirty dishes and the rack all the way to the living room! Poor girl was freaking out! Her mom fixed it though. Broken plates and all. Thanks for the awesome post!

    1. Sharon Lynn

      I can picture that poodle-catastrophe so perfectly! Great story, Tracey!

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