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August 29, 2010

Most writers work from home. I didn’t expect to be one of them, at least I didn’t expect to be one of them when my writing earned me nothing at all. But since redundancy reared its recessionary head in February, I’ve been a stay-at-home writer for six-and-a-half months.

I’ve got company though. I’m a stay-at-home dad to a one-eyed, stinky, scaly, smiley, not-so-little gecko called Dooya.

©2010 Julia Andersion, used with permission

Dooya is a rescue lizard. Her first owners couldn’t look after her anymore, and nobody wanted her because of her missing eye. We had recently lost both Mokele and Hastur, our first geckos. When we read that nobody wanted her, well our hearts just melted and we said we’d take her.

Despite her alleged nocturnal nature, Dooya keeps me company during the day. Sometimes I’ll take her out of her vivarium and sit with her on my chest, in my hands; once I even let her sit on my laptop keyboard. I’m not sure she was impressed by the keyboard, but she wrote more than I did that day!

Writing is sometimes romanticised into a spiritual and mystical craft, and like practitioners of those crafts many writers have familiars. Cats and dogs are the most common, although Byron kept a bear, and Gerald Durrell kept, well, just about everything.

Dooya keeps me observant and imaginative. She doesn’t do much, but in my imagination she has an incredibly adventurous and exciting life! She has a curiosity about everything around her, and a fearlessness that belies her size. She lends herself to storytelling, and someday perhaps there may be Adventures of Dooya, the One-Eyed Gecko.

But for now I’m content to let her sit and keep me company each day, to take the edge off the loneliness of writing.

Dooya’s full name is Dooyathinkshesaurus. As in the joke: what do you call a one-eyed dinosaur…
  1. August 29, 2010 3:59 am

    Oh gosh… what a rather timely post Paul.

    I had to say good-bye yesterday to my partner-in-writing, Keats, who has been my on and off writing companion since I was 18. As a kitten he would sit on the top of the clunky, ancient old computer monitor where the exhaust blew the hot air out. Thus started his love affair with computers and the lovely warm air they blow out.

    My desk has always maintained a space and a blanket for him and his exploits over the years have included typing, changing the screen resolution, turning the computer off, putting my skype chats on mute, battling me to have more of the keyboard than was necessary. He was also adept as a younger cat at tapping the phone onto the ground when it rang. he just never got the hang of taking a message.

    When I sit down to write next, its going to feel very lonely. I realised this yesterday after we buried him, that I will truly be alone now. The fish doesn’t do much for company and our mad chicken Madame Houdini may think she’s human, but she doesn’t make much of a writing companion. She requires too much attention.

    For those of you who have your familiars close by, never take them for granted. Give them a hug, pat, kiss and let them know you love and appreciate their company.

  2. Tony permalink
    August 29, 2010 11:20 pm

    You guys are so lucky. I have four “dogs” that do little to help with my writing. They are constantly telling me that there is way cooler things to do outside when they are not busy ignoring me. Only my wife’s 4yr old pitbull will keep me company. My wife desided that it was cruel to cut off a dog’s tail. Appearently it is done because a pitbull with a tail is like a bull in a china cabnet. (no typo, china shop doesn’t do him justice.) So, after going through 2 laptops I finally got a travel mug to have coffee in during the day’s writing session. Now, occasionally he does give me kisses during long days at the computer. That would be cute, except I saw what he was doing earlier. I need a gecko.

  3. iasa permalink
    August 31, 2010 10:08 am

    That is a fabulous name for a gecko. I for one am waiting for ‘The Adventures of Dooya, the One-Eyed Gecko’

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