Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Always Listen To Your Dog

The end of May is only a month away. Why does that matter, you ask? It matters because it's my deadline to have the manuscript for "Following Atticus" into the capable hands of my editor at William Morrow, Cassie Jones.

Now some would think this could be a time of great pressure...and I suppose it is. However, I'm a former newspaperman, and while I only published every two weeks, I still dealt with 24 deadlines a year. There's something in them that makes the blood move a little faster, the brain a bit sharper, the natural talent come flushing forward. There's no more time to over think a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter.

The way I look at it, life is really very simple right now. There's nothing else to do but take walks with Atticus and write. How great is that? And when I've been sitting too long in front of the computer and my back aches and my eyes are a bit out of focus I'm reminded it's time to take a break when I feel Atti's nose pushing up against my leg as if to say, "Hey big buy, let's take a break."

Always listen to your dog. He knows best.

He certainly did this afternoon when his nose touched my leg. So we took a drive down to Lucy Hardware to pick up some more suet and birdseed. Then we took a walk through the woods over to Carter Notch Road. It was too early for the beavers to be out so we just sat by the pond for about 20 minutes. Then we walked down over to Jackson Falls and sat there for a while. That's where these shots were taken.

The falls will always hold a sentimental place in my heart for this is where I did my telephone interviews with Cassie and Seale Ballenger, a V.P. in charge of publicity for William Morrow, before they offered us a contract. (I also interviewed with other folks there too, thanks to the wonders of cell phones.) It was where I was sitting a few days after that when Brian DeFiore, my agent, called to discuss our options when three publishers offered preempts. And it was where I sat listening to him on a Monday evening read off the results of the one day, one bid, blind auction for "Following Atticus".

Those are nice memories to have associated with such a beautiful place. But even if I didn't have those memories I'd still appreciate Jackson Falls. And so today when Atticus and I sat there watching the water rush by I couldn't help but think how lucky we are to live in this town and to be surrounded by the natural resources we have here.

Over the next month, I imagine Atticus and I will be taking plenty of head-clearing walks to the falls for a little relaxation.


Alice said...

I hope Atticus is not too sore after vaccines today. I visited my blog today and must say the reason I stopped blogging was clinics and not a break up. Break up in question happened in 2005. Maybe I should blog again. Or maybe Twitter... See you and Atticus in a few weeks!

Thomas F. Ryan said...

Alice, he's doing well, thank you. And thanks for today.

Atticus is laying low as I write this. And funny you should post right now because I was writing to the Danny Elfman theme music to the Alice movie. Very good stuff. Typical Danny Elfman.