Stephanie Burgis
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The Maya wiggle
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Maya has a trademark gesture - the "Maya wiggle". This is how a super-submissive, quiet, soulful-eyed little dog can go from sitting alone on one end of the couch to sprawling right across both of our laps at once, without once making an assertive gesture - a little dip-and-slide that gets her exactly where she wants to be, with two sets of hands rubbing her tummy, her mouth wide in a grin and her black-and-white tail swishing.

She is just incredibly cute. And, needless to say, within the first 48 hours of living with us, she managed to wiggle her way right into our hearts, too. I can't believe we've only had her for three days now. Poor girl, we took her for her first vet visit yesterday, and she found it really horrifying - they had to shave her stomach to try to figure out if she'd ever been spayed, and when she heard the electric razor start up with a sound like a chainsaw and realized that we were going to turn her over helpless on her back while the razor approached her stomach...well, it was pretty clear she thought a horror movie had just begun in real life! But the vet said she seems very healthy and just needs feeding up, which we certainly plan to do.

And in non-dog-related news... :)

I've been thinking a lot about a piece of advice from Paul Park that my brother Ben passed on to me: "What you really need is almost always already in your story." This advice is particularly topical because I'm still fighting so hard with the beginning of Congress of Shadows, even after a couple rounds of revisions. What my critiquers have kept on pointing out and I have finally accepted (with much despair) is that, unfortunately, nothing really happens in the first chapter of CoS. Which is, needless to say, a problem. So I've been trying and trying to come up with Something To Happen, and it's all been pretty bleak and uninspired around here. But after Ben passed on Paul Park's quote, I started thinking (with Ben's help - I love having a writer-brother to toss these ideas around with!) about how that could apply to CoS. In other words - instead of having to think up an all-new External Event, maybe what I should really be doing is looking at what's already implied but never shown in my story. People sit around remembering and discussing plenty of exciting events in Chapter One. So maybe, just maybe, I should actually start with one of those events. Hmm...

I haven't actually written anything new down yet, but it sure has sparked my interest.

And for total fun, check out this Jenny Crusie story, Meeting Harold's Father, which she's only just posted online. (It was written originally as a back-story piece for her novel Crazy for You, but you don't need to have read Crazy for You to enjoy this story.) Perfect relaxing reading for a chilly December evening.

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