wings and things

Black dog (creative writing exercise)

on February 13, 2014

It is nearly the middle of the night here, down in the southwest of Western Australia. There is a gentle breeze outside, which just turned boisterous (as if insulted by being called gentle), and a strange crackling of distant thunder. The humidity is the kind that makes you feel like your whole face has melted off but, when you check the mirror, your face is still there.

It doesn’t exactly look like your face though; it looks like a sad person’s face. Strange.

What you have to do is to schedule the tears so that they don’t disturb other people. The best place for this is in the bathroom late at night, or else outside under the moon, or else in the car when you are going to the shop to get milk.

In the shop you have to smile and be jovial and sociable – quite easy when you are a seasoned actor. Your eyes are moist because of your hayfever. You can even carry the act home with you and smile at yourself in the bathroom mirror, and put your hand up to join your reflected hand just to say hello.

When you finally go to bed with your book, and your new reading glasses, with the fan breezing your skin, and the light on, you know a little bit of happy. But you also know that, at exactly midnight, you will have to move over in your bed to make room for the black dog.

It is nearly the middle of the night here, down in the southwest of Western Australia.

51 responses to “Black dog (creative writing exercise)

  1. mimijk says:

    I wish you more than a little bit of happy, Jules – always.

  2. Hoping that the tears dry quickly, Julie….

  3. Oh such is the pain of grief and loneliness, I am so sorry, my heart aches with your pain my friend. May God give you comfort.

  4. Nice! Tight, effective writing. Elicits empathy and understanding without resorting to overt sentimentality.

    Would you mind if reprinted this on our writer’s tips page (as an example of using structure, selective concrete detail and symbolism)? We’d give you credit, of course, run a short bio and link to your blog.

  5. Our previous comment seems to have disappeared! 😦

    This is an excellent example of tight, effective creative writing. You’re able to elicit empathy and foster understanding, and you don’t resort to sappy sentimentality. Might we have your permission to republish this on our writers’ tip page, as an example of effective use of structure, concrete details and symbolism? We’d run a short bio and also link back to your blog. You can answer here, or email

    Well done!

  6. This is so poignant. Congrats about Rose Hall media Company wanting to link back to your blog :D. Hugs Jules xoxo

  7. Hugs to you my dear Jules!
    Diana xo

  8. Oh Julie… I so relate to your phrase.. ‘schedule the tears’…. because that’s what I do too when I don’t want to upset others with me being upset… (mouthful)…. I hope some of the reasons for your stress lessen… and you start to feel better… Diane

  9. janechese says:

    Well written. I like the metaphor.

  10. I so wish that this was just a really well written piece of fiction, Julie. I’m so sorry to know what you’re going through. *hugs*

  11. OnTheWay... says:

    Beautiful post.
    The idea of scheduling tears is one I am very familiar with, my car is the place too, alone even driving home from work the tears appear on their own and rise up out of the dark pain in my chest.
    Thank you for your words, I am sorry that you are familiar with this black dog too.
    Thinking of you,
    Laura xx

  12. Rhonda says:

    Wow Jules….just wow. xoxox

  13. You certainly created a very vivid feeling with this. Many feelings actually. Along with a sigh for the dog.

  14. That black dog has a habit of trying to get into my bed with me at night but I try and keep him out

  15. ksbeth says:

    wonderfully put, julie )

  16. lensgirl53 says:

    I so relate to the bathroom…the sacred place where so many tears have been washed down the shower drain. That there is just a tiny bit of happiness wherever you can find it is a kind respite from the overwhelming “black dog.” I pray you will find renewed strength and comfort in the comfort you yourself gives to others. I also hope that your “act” turns to genuine joy. xo

  17. Wishing you well and also wanted to say this is exquisite writing. Hugs Jules, hugs.

  18. Terry says:

    I loved this. I could vision every word!

  19. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Big Hugs across the country, Julie.

    That Black Dog is mean and out to get all of those who must suffer in silence.

    Hate to say this, but I found a good cry in the early hours of the morning always did me loads of good when I was working. Sometimes it’s the loneliest place of all in a room full of people, let alone at home on your own (knowing your loved one is torn from you).

    I remember crying all weekend once. I never knew it was possible to have such a storehouse of tears – but, it was. I remember crying all the way driving to the Dr’s (wonder I didn’t crash) – crying in the consulting room – crying all the way to the chemist – crying til he made up my prescription – then all the way home again. Life sucks (sometimes).


  20. bulldog says:

    What are you doing awake so late… ??

  21. FlaHam says:

    Jule, that is extremely pointed. I understand, I know, I feel to a degree your pain, and why you suffer. Oh if i could take some of it from you. I would in a second. Please take care, Bill

  22. At night in my room I could conquer the world 🙂 When the black dog is visiting here – I wake up in the morning to find him on the spare bit of bed…

  23. you are an excellent writer and I am glad it is being recognized

  24. Lynda says:

    Julie, I was undecided as to whether or not this was creative writing or true. It says much about your writing style and ability (all good).

    It is also said that all good writers write what they know, and I am sorry that you know so much about this topic.

  25. I’ve seen that face. Sorry you are seeing it too. I send you happy thoughts and cyber hugs.

  26. bluebee says:

    It amplifies at night. 😦

  27. elizabeth says:

    Well done Jules, I love it. 🙂

  28. oh julie i will now have to go to the bathroom rather than explain the tears that are forming. i simply love and adore you, big warm hugs with a mix of silent tears.

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