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.
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.