Do you think that your pet can read your mind?

Ted the Mind Reading Dog

In order to make the telepathy in the novel x0 more believable and more fun, I sought out real life occurrences that tend to make even the skeptical reconsider. One example discussed by the x0 website is that all pets can receive and read the emotions of their people and no one seems to find this odd or difficult to accept.

Of course, the answer from those who wish to argue the point is that animals merely respond to the way the human is acting.  Stomping ones feet, sighing, turning on every light in the house all give an astute pet the information it needs to judge its companion’s state of mind, no extra-sensory perception needed.

Mention this to many pet owners, however, and you will get more examples than you can handle about the time when Fido or Snowflake or Balthazar picked up on an emotion it could not possibly have observed.

Yahoo once did a quiz asking cat owners what they thought. The mixed and highly opinionated results are here And about a year ago Robert W. Lurz wrote a book called Mindreading Animals that attempted to shed scientific light on the subject.  It starts by asking whether animals are even aware that other creatures have minds and feelings.

Ted, pictured above, lives with my sister and brother-in-law and is an excellent candidate for being a mind reading dog given that he is intelligent and caring.  The only problem with being positive about Ted’s telepathic skills is that whenever he picks up an emotion from a human he likes, Ted’s answer is to the situation is enthusiastic affection. Sad? I’ll lick your face.  Happy?  I’ll lick your face. Wish I’d go away for awhile?  I’ll lick your face. We think Ted receives all of our feelings loud and clear, but it’s hard to be really sure.



write about what you do, or what you wish you were doing?

The hero of my first novel, x0, spends her days largely doing what I do. She interprets seismic data for an oil company, loves her husband and three children, plants flowers and loves to travel.  Okay, she also spends a little time reading minds, but basically she and I both have similar lives.  It’s a very nice existence, but it’s not the only one I find appealing.

y1, the second novel in this collection, takes place largely on a sailboat in the Pacific.  Have I been there? Barely. Do I sail? Not really. But I did wake up one morning about twenty years ago filled with a fire to sail around the world. It came out of nowhere and there was no explaining it.  I had to do it. When I wouldn’t stop talking about it, my family finally bought me sailing lessons.  Looked at maps with me.  Agreed that it could happen. Then slowly it became apparent that my husband could think of few things he would rather do less.  He hates being confined on anything, gets seasick, yearns to run around playing any sport involving a ball.  My children were growing up and their wasn’t a budding sailor among them. I had to face the fact that while I could still do this thing, it would be years spent on a solo venture, far removed from all those I loved.

And then I discovered a secret.  That’s what my writing was for. Those of us who create stories are blessed with the chance to enjoy alternate existences that would come at too high a price in our real lives.  Conventional wisdom says that you should write about the things you know. That makes a certain amount of sense.  However, writing a novel takes a tremendous amount of research, thought, planning and plain old day dreaming. Why not use that energy to enter a world you barely know but yearn for? y1 let me learn to sail well, let me hear the sounds of the gulls  and feel the thunk of the waves hitting my boat. I woke to the smell of salt air, ate cold canned goods when I was too tired to cook, studied navigation charts and planned my routes.  It was a wonderful year at sea, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And, just like my hopeful readers who might also enjoy sailing around paradise, I never had to leave my front porch.  That’s is what books are for.