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Inside of a Dog

Inside of a Dog

a monthly feature by

Kate Dowling

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.

Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Groucho Marx

I imagine many of you reading this, my first post for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog, will have seen this quote from Groucho Marx before. I thought it would be worth the reminder though, seeing as it’s inspired my title for my regular contributions for the blog.

Dogs and books are two of my most favourite things in life. Both provide companionship and insight, and will be the most loyal of friends. If you have books and dogs, you can’t go far wrong. As for Groucho, well if you have as much flare with words as he did and you can make people laugh in the process of putting those words together, you can achieve greatness.

I’m probably at my most comfortable when my writing makes people laugh. I clearly remember reading books by Sue Townsend as a teenager, which genuinely made me laugh out loud. I already knew I wanted to write and the thought of creating situations with words that had the impact to make someone laugh as they were reading was just fascinating.

Think about it. Your brain is jolted into a laugh by something you’re reading. Not something you’re hearing or watching, or a combination of the two. You’re laughing because of words on a page or screen. A writer has chosen those words and put them together in a very particular way, and the result is something so funny that you laugh aloud to yourself. I still think that’s something very special.

Whilst I do write the stuff with the funny, my other work is far more reflective. I have a lot of darker thoughts, particularly now I’m ageing. Those thoughts are around mortality, what I’ve achieved, where I want to be, running out of time and failure. That’s not so funny. Those pieces are my “Inside of a Dog” moments. They won’t be too dark to read, but they will have far less light than my regular readers are perhaps used to seeing.

So I bring you “Inside of a Dog”. I hope it makes you think.

Kate Dowling is based in Sheffield in the UK and has written all her life