falling in love again

maggie1I grew up without pets, with the exception of a guard dog named Rover when we lived in Zambia (and I was too young to remember him). I didn’t miss them, pine for them, ask my parents for a guinea pig, parrot or dog.

When a previous roommate of mine insisted on getting a cat, I relented, but was convinced I would have no part of it. Within a couple of days I was won over by the kitten. A year later, I added a second kitten to the household, a runt of a litter who reached out of her Humane Society cage to tap me on the arm. Soon, I realized I was allergic to cats after all, and bringing the new one home just added to the dandery air.

When that roommate and I moved on, I agonized over leaving behind my kitty, but my sinuses were glad. For weeks I had dreams in which I’d forgotten to feed her, or left her outside to freeze or perish in various nightmarish ways. I’m happy to say that my old roommate has nurtured both cats into their old ages.

Later, a previous partner insisted we get a dog. Eventually I relented, convinced I wasn’t going to have any part of it. Well, you know the rest. She (the ex-girlfriend) and I split up and unfortunately we (the dog and I) parted ways.

Since then, I’ve thought about getting a dog and never managed it because I didn’t really have the lifestyle to support all the walking and poop-picking-up required of a pooch.  And then I became a self-employed therapist and writer, and found myself at home alot of the time.

So I insisted on getting a dog. My partner, luckily, has relented. I sit here writing with a dog at my feet (she’s just fallen asleep after licking every drop of honey out a kong–yes, that  might sound x-rated to some of you, but I assure you it’s not). She’s been with us for 5 days now.

Maggie is making me wonder about loving an animal, and how this adoration will make it into my writing. People say that having a child changes the way one writes, but I haven’t heard this said of pets. I recall that in Stealing Nasreen, it seemed really important that Nasreen have a cat named Id, who watched over her behaviour. Id was a companion, but also a witness.   I wonder now if Maggie will make her appearance in a future novel, perhaps as a dog who loves a woman whomaggie2 loves her back.

on becoming a Facebooker

Some time ago, shortly before Stealing Nasreen was due to be released, a friend suggested I get on Facebook so that I could better promote the novel. She’s younger and hipper than I, so I took her advice. Still, I was skeptical, and resolved to use the social networking tool only for bookish stuff. I wasn’t going to become addicted, or post inane ‘status updates’ about what I had for breakfast.

I slowly grew my friends list, created a Stealing Nasreen group page, and began to post event pages for the various readings I was doing. Sometimes people I didn’t know would friend me, and in fit of virtual social butterfly-ness, I accepted them. I figured I could maybe interest them in my book, anyhow. Other times, people I didn’t know would contact me for media interviews, to share fannish feedback or invite me to read at events. I began to feel closer to people I liked but didn’t get to see very often. It was all going pretty well. I was giddy about Facebook then, and tried to recruit everyone to join: “You hear about events your won’t hear about on e-mail. You’ll sign petitions, quickly mobilize protests, connect with your cousins!!”

But then I noticed that something else began to happen on Facebook when I passed the 300 friends mark. I think that’s when it happened. You maybe know what I mean. Suddenly, the news feeds got clogged with notices from people I’d  never met or barely could remember from grade 2. I started to RSVP “maybe” to everything I got invited to (which in Facebook-land, means “um, no”). On my birthday, I received lavish salutations from strangers. Everyone and their sister (who I’d also friended) shared their “25 things” with me.

Today, I have 687 friends. I still use Facebook to promote my book and other people’s books and events. I’m still connecting to friends, family, and fans and hearing about stuff I wouldn’t have over e-mail. But I feel more jaded now when people friend me. I hope they won’t post too much. I pray they won’t complete every quiz about what kind of superhero, philosopher or sea animal they are. I wonder how to cull the list.

Is this just the evolution of Facebook membership? That it all gets a little less interesting and perhaps too crowded over time? Does everyone develop Facebook fatigue? Maybe I should just take a little break from it for awhile.

If I do, I’ll make sure to put that in my status update.