Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pets: The Perfect Muses

Our pets are rare treasures, not only for their affection and the lessons we learn in tending them, but also for the founts of inspiration they can provide.

Many authors have used their animals for the basis of stories from John Erickson in his Hank the Cowdog series, which is hilarious even as an adult, to Tad Williams’ Tailchaser’s Song, which has one of the most beautiful beginnings I’ve ever read.  Both Mr. Erickson and Mr. Williams drew their ideas from watching real animals: Erickson from a real cowdog he knew with the common sense of a fishbowl and Williams from his cats.

If you sit long enough watching an animal and wondering how the gears turn behind their heads, interesting possibilities arise.  Even fish, rabbits, lizards, and snakes can nudge our minds to creative places.

So the next time you’re struggling with finding inspiration, try to figure out, outside of what the textbooks tell you, why your pet or your friend’s pet does something.  What could be rattling around in their little brain that we humans are entirely oblivious to?

Are there any ideas from those pets you’d like to share?  Do you have any books that you love that were inspired by similar musings?


  1. There are so many things that we could learn from pets, Care for each other, bonding etc.

  2. My deceased Italian greyhound, Rose, was the sweetest little rescue dog. She was missing many of her teeth so her tongue always hung out the side of her mouth. She also had joints swollen from previous breaks and arthritis. We never did get her fully housetrained. But she had the sweetest spirit. Thinking about her now makes me want to write a character with a jacked up exterior shell and an inside of pure gold.