I’ve never liked when I come across a person who is so adamantly sure that animals–particularly dogs–don’t go to heaven. I listen to their explanation, or rather give the appearance of it, because I’m usually required to be polite while enduring intolerable situations. I nod along to their premises (ones I disagree with) and take out an umbrella to shelter myself from their dripping grey attitude. Drip, drip, drip…the beating of the umbrella fabric gives me something to count. On some occasions, I watch the speaker’s temper flicker and flare, catching their pants on fire. I find a fire bucket and quickly douse them, becoming a hero two-fold. I smile coyly and say “There now, everything’s alright. You’re all wet after all!”
After they’ve quieted and tired, I grab them gently by the nape and hoist them into my box of other collected weirdos and me-monsters I’ve come across in my life. Together, the oddball bunch hunker down in their crate, glowering at me whenever I sneak a glance at them for reference or character ideas while writing. I watch them fuss and elbow their neighbors who dislike mushrooms, observe those who believe being left handed is a moral sin and sigh at the sniveling snots who claim they never lower themselves to reading fiction. And so it goes–the human superiority complex–the endless menu for writers to pick and chose from for copy and stories. Death be not proud–humans have already won that prize.
Make a box of assorted weirdos, people who desire to rub you the wrong way, and use them as material ideas. They will give your writing dimension and spice. When done correctly, these characters will puff out from the page to blow your commas and semicolons off the paper; they will snicker at your prose and itch themselves with a capital J. And then you’ll know you have a live character with quite a human like will. Prepare yourself for battle.
And for the record: all dogs do go to heaven. Drool and all.