July 7, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill or maybe I should say reporting from Imagination Land.
You have to have imagination to write a book, don’t you? Page after page of made up stuff. At least that’s what I’m guessing you have to have.
I can’t say for sure since I’ve never written a book. Oh, I’ve written a few stories and I’ve written lots of stuff for the Banner. That’s Dad’s newspaper. But Dad always has to make sure I’m telling the truth in those, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I want to write something where I don’t have to tell the truth. I want to make it all up. Throw wide the doors to my imagination and write. Well, I guess I do have to make sure it’s decent. I am a preacher’s daughter after all and Aunt Love would kill me if I used words she says nobody should use. I don’t even know what those words are and I guess that’s just as well.
So here are my characters. I’m writing about a dog and a cat. The dog is a little loopy and this picture isn’t exactly right for him. His fur is scruffier, but he’ll have to do. Zeb isn’t happy that I’m not letting him star in m book, but if he could read he’d understand why. Even dogs have personalities and Zeb and Bailey are nothing alike. Zeb wouldn’t put up with Lucinda one minute.
Lucinda is the black cat. She’s very sure of herself, don’t you think? Is that a good name for her? Lucinda? I would ask Aunt Love, but then she named her cat Sugar. That creature is white like sugar, but trust me, Jezebel fits her better. She is the cat from well, you know where. In a weak moment, I did ask Zella about a name for the cat I was going to write into my book, but she said I shouldn’t be wasting my time writing a story about a cat and that I’d better be thinking about my future.
I am thinking about my future. What I’m going to name my cat character. Wes didn’t have a cat name for me either. He said I should come up with my own names if I’m writing the story. Besides, he said nobody would be able to pronounce a Jupiter name. I asked him if he had a Jupiter name and he said, oh yes, but he could only speak it aloud if he was on Jupiter. When I asked why, he shuddered and said I wouldn’t want to know. Of course, I’m not sure if he was shuddering with fear or because he was laughing. Either way, I don’t think I’m going to get to hear his Jupiter name.
But back to Bailey’s Bug. That’s what I’m calling my story and it’s going to star Bailey the scruffy whitish dog and Lucinda, the haughty black cat. Hope you’re not like Zella and thinking that it’s silly to write a story about a dog and a cat.
Here’s the first page I’ve typed:
At first when Lucinda said the Alexanders weren’t coming back, Bailey would just shake his head and scratch his ear as though a worrisome flea had grabbed his full attention. He didn’t want to hear what Lucinda was saying. He wanted Reid to be knocking on the Robinsons’ door come to fetch him home. Reid was his boy.
Still the days passed, naps piled on top of naps, and when he got hungry there was no one but Mrs. Robinson to feed him and when he needed to go find a bush, no one but Mr. Robinson to let him out into the fenced-in yard.
Inside with the Robinsons was nice enough. When Mr. Robinson came home from work, he always asked Bailey how he was in a jolly, booming voice, and Mrs. Robinson scratched Bailey behind the ears when she fed him. Still neither of them scratched Bailey’s neck under his collar the way Reid did. They didn’t hide doggie treats in their pockets for Bailey to nose out. They didn’t throw the red plastic thing for Bailey to chase down. And even if they had done the same things, it still wouldn’t have been the same. Bailey missed Reid.
One day he was trying to explain this to Lucinda when she lifted her nose high and said, “I like the Robinsons. I’m just as glad the Alexanders aren’t coming back.”
Bailey lifted his paw to scratch his ear, but then stopped, his paw in midair. For some reason he couldn’t pretend he hadn’t heard Lucinda this time. “Why aren’t they coming back?” he asked.
That’s it so far, but just wait till next week. I’ll have more done then. But meanwhile, what do you think?