Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I believe that there was an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show which had writer Murray Slaughter beginning his long-planned novel with the words, "Somewhere, a dog was barking." I guess every writer has what are for them evocative sounds -- voices in another room, a train whistle, the lapping of water. With me, for reasons that remain obscure, one of those sounds is dogs barking. I've been sitting here in the spring evening -- there's daylight after dinner now -- when my thoughts were interrupted by barking in the distance. A block away, a mile away, who knows? It struck me as the sound of life, somewhere out there -- the opposite of isolation -- a sound of striving, of longing, of a need to talk to someone. It reminded me of the book 101 Dalmatians, where the dogs of England exchange news at the "Twilight Barking" every evening. I always loved that idea -- of a vast communication over distance and space, dogs with their own world of gossip to share. Well, who knows why dogs bark? As the light goes I think I could lie here and listen to them, and all the other noises of the world, a long, long time.