A Good Boy

One of my best friends passed away last Friday. He was fifteen and a half and I had known him his whole life. Tyrant (early on we had considered the name Scurvy) was an apricot-colored toy poodle who I had gifted to Kari-Lise for Christmas in 2005. (Being a whiny baby, he refused to sleep and ruined the surprise, but it was quickly forgiven.) He was a good boy.

Baby me with a baby Tyrant, Christmas 2005

He had been known by many names over the course of his life, Bub, Boo, Boo-bear, Shakes, Sweet Boy, the Mad King, My Heart, Monster, Little Man, and so many more. But always Tyrant, a name that he never lived up to. He loved unconditionally. He was kind, gentle, and intelligent. He rarely barked. His only dislike was crows and the outdoors, thinking of the latter only as “the bathroom” and wanting to spend very little time out there and away from the soft cushions of his perfect world.

Those who knew him, knew him as one of the chillest dogs ever to exist. He loved people and was always excited when meeting new laps. A perfect day for him was one spent at anyone’s side—he wasn’t picky. As long as a few simple needs were met, he was content. Being near humans was the height of Tyrant-satisfaction.

He was, throughout his life, a companion in creativity. Tyrant never missed a day to snooze supportively as Kari-Lise painted in her studio. He also spent years cuddled between the back of my office chair and my butt, again snoozing, as I wrote a great many stories, a few of which became novels. A Muse, one’s heart, and always a friend. I’m grateful for the years he gave us. If there was a silver lining to the COVID pandemic it was that we got to spend so much time with him in his final year. Moments and cuddles we will always cherish.

It’s been hard to say goodbye. The last few days have felt surreal. I keep expecting him to waddle around a corner looking for treats, cuddles, pets, or to come into my office and demand chair time or just crash out on the floor. The absence is heartbreaking.

Tyrant, thank you for enriching my life. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for showing me the deepest kind of love for over fifteen years. I know the last year had been difficult for you, but I selfishly wish it could had been fifteen more. You were the goodest of boys. I’m going to miss you. While it hurts so much now, in the paraphrased words of Wilson Rawls, “You’re worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.”

Defender of the house

Friday Link Pack 07/31/2015 - Dang, July is a long month.

Friday Link Pack 7/31/2015

After a week hiatus, we’re back! Here is today’s Friday Link Pack! Some of these links I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

How To Deal With Harsh Criticism Of Your Writing
A great article from Charlie Jane Anders popped up on io9 this week. Criticism is hard, sometimes painfully so, but there are ways you can approach it. This is good advice.

Wake-Up Call: Amazon Serves Author Interests Better Than Publishers
Industry vet, Mike Shatzkin, breaks down Amazons recent innovative moves (like launching the follow button for readers) and how their success has translated into success for publishing and writing in general.

Ursula K. Le Guin Is Breathing Fire To Save American Literature
A great profile on badass Ursula K. Le Guin. (If you’re a follower of my blog it’s no secret how much I love her and her work.) Absolutely fantastic read, delving into her writing, her defense of sci-fi and fantasy (and books in general), and her activism work.

Why Horror Is Good For You (And Even Better For Your Kids)
Artist Greg Ruth gives us six fantastic reasons why we should all read horror.

Indie Or Traditional: The Cost Of Publishing
Creating a book always has a cost. It’s up to you as the writer to decide what that cost should be and how much you’re willing to pay.

ART:

Alicia Savage, Destinations
Stumbled across Alicia Savage’s ethereal photography work and knew I’d need to share it here. Obscured women float and drift through surreal glimpses of shattered Americana.

The Art Of Greg Ruth
He’s already told us why horror is good for us in the Writing section. Why not enjoy exploring some of his incredible work as well?

Artist Sam Van Aken’s Tree Grows 40 Different Kinds Of Fruit
Using grafting, Sam Van Aken grows some pretty incredible trees. [Big thanks to Ben for sharing this with me.]

RANDOM:

Perfectly Timed Photos That Make Dogs Look Like Giants
Because you needed something like this right now.

Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped Like a Massive Clucking Chicken
Some people do strange things to get messages from God, things like build a strangely shaped church in the middle of the jungle. Apparently the builder had intended it to look like a dove but it’s clearly a chicken.

Kowloon Walled City
I have mentioned before that Lovat, the megalopolis central in my Bell Forging Cycle, was heavily influenced by Kowloon Walled City. This multimedia project by the Wall Street Journal is an incredible way to explore the rich stories and dark streets of the legendary Hong Kong settlement.

A Renaissance Painting Reveals How Breeding Changed Watermelons
We’re in the throws of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Why not take some time to explore the horticultural history of one of summer’s greatest treats: the watermelon.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Aroma Of Tacoma

“Seattle! Seattle! Death Rattle, Death Rattle; Tacoma! Tacoma! Aroma, Aroma!”

George Francis Train

“The “Aroma of Tacoma” is a putrid and unpleasant odor associated with Tacoma, Washington. The smell has been described as similar to the odor of rotten eggs. The odor is not noticeable throughout the city, but is rather concentrated in the north end of Tacoma and is frequently smelled by motorists traveling that section of the Interstate 5 highway.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Night Ocean
This gloomy mood piece follows a melancholy artist who spends time alone in his cabin by the sea, and unlike most of Lovecraft’s protagonists he doesn’t throw himself into the way of terrifying monstrosities.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits...