Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The secret life of pugs

The estrogen hung thick in the air, so thick you could slice it with a scimitar. A crowd of mostly older, feminist women -- many with hair not much longer than my own fur -- had turned out for the Dallas Museum of Art's presentation of mother-daughter authors Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. The elder Kidd is perhaps best known for her 2002 novel "The Secret Life of Bees," but on this night the pair were discussing their first collaboration, the memoir "Traveling With Pomegranates." As a pug who enjoys both road trips and eating fruits, I jumped at the chance to join mother under the majestic dome of downtown's First Presbyterian Church of Dallas for the event.

The pair talked about the unique dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship, about finding their way in life as their relationship and their views of themselves changed, and about the symbolic and personal meanings they gleaned from their journeys together to Greece, Turkey and France. Listening to their talk, I immediately dozed off and began to dream about my own idea for a memoir. It would be about the unique dynamic of the pug brother-brother relationship, written in alternating chapters by Wendell and yours truly.

Few authors have dared to tackle such a daunting project. The pug brother-brother relationship is fraught with complexity -- the constant competition for rawhide and kibble counter-balanced by Wendell's nurturing daily cleaning of my wrinkle, the "I've got your back" outbursts of barking, and yes, the myriad squabbles and turf battles brought about by Wendell's status as a confirmed "mama's pup." If written properly, my flock, I believe this memoir could someday top the best-seller lists.

Just as my literary epiphany began to crystallize, I was brought back to consciousness, my slumber interrupted by the onset of the night's question-and-answer session. In the "question" of the night, a woman strode to the microphone and praised Sue Monk Kidd's feminist critique of our patriarchal society in "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter." Then, in a rambling, vaguely angry manner, she criticized Kidd for not tackling the exact same themes in her mother-daughter memoir. Kidd politely responded that those themes did not fit the story that she set out to write with her daughter, to which the woman responded, and I'm paraphrasing, "Well your new book sucks eggs because it's not written exactly the way I would write it, and you're a disgrace to women everywhere."

I nudged mother. "Go tell the authors that you love books about dinosaurs and that you're deeply disappointed that their mother-daughter memoir included no T. rexes," I whispered.

Sadly, mother declined.


Anonymous said...

Forget swine flu, rudeness is the epidemic in America.

Hank said...

Ayatollah, sir....sounds like ya had a "interestin'" time with the short-haired ladies.

The least yer mom coulda done was stop an' buy ya a pomegranate!