Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Slice 22 of 31-#sol17: A puppy pace

This is the 10th year that Two Writing Teachers has hosted the Slice of Life Challenge. Up to Day 22 of the 31 day writing challenge!


"Let's see what he notices if we let him walk at his pace," my daughter said. We were at the local reservoir, a popular place for walking, and it was sunny and (relatively) warm. We both decided to take a break from our work and take Okie for a walk. 

At six months old, the whole world interests our little black lab. Sights, smells, sounds--they're all fascinating. When we let him set the pace, Cecily and I did a lot of waiting. We even let him stray from the pathway when there was a particularly enticing scent. Here's what happened: we slowed down and lingered, laughing and paying attention to the world and to each other. A puppy pays attention to so much more than people who are focused on completing their walks. Sometimes maybe we should be more like puppies.

When I came home, I went back to work on my model lessons for literary essay. My work involved reading and re-reading a short text by Cynthia Rylant, leaving patches of thinking--the results of all I noticed. Even though I've read Spaghetti many, many times, I came up with new ideas as I pushed myself to linger with different questions and concepts. Maybe it was the thinking stems, but maybe it was the change in pace that Cecily and I experienced when we let a curious puppy be in charge. Probably my new ideas were the result of a combination.

So often, I'm in a rush, even when I know I'm supposed to slow down. I even try to rush through a close read--this seems like an oxymoron as I write it! Tonight, I noticed the different work that I do and the different ideas that emerge when I slow down and really, really take notice, ask questions, and linger. 

A puppy pace can be a good thing. 



  1. A valuable lesson, both personally and professionally! Thanks to you & your little guy for the good teaching!

  2. Nothing like a puppy! And especially a lab puppy!! So much fun! And so many life lessons!

  3. that lingering thing keeps coming up. I want to go back to Spaghetti today to see what I see differently as well.

  4. Now, see when I thought "puppy pace" I was thinking running around, hectic, etc and didn't think of it the way it really is - stopping frequently to investigate, smell the...everything - But it is. Walking with little children is like that too. Good lesson! Maybe I'll try a puppy walk today.


  5. The puppy pace is excellent advice - as writers especially, we are to be observers of the world. How exciting to stop and see the world as if it were new, through new eyes. Sounds like your little friend has an adventurous spirit. Our yellow Lab, 16 mos.old, tends to be timid and extremely exuberant in turn!

  6. Melaine,
    I love the term, puppy pace. As Donna pointed out puppy pace could be a hectic pace. Maybe puppy pace is hectic when we try to make the puppy take people pace and the puppy want to linger longer. Embrace the linger Melanie!

  7. Puppy pace - now that certainly makes sense. And puppies know when it's time to take a break and recharge with new ideas.

  8. Puppy pace ---love it!!! My favorite line: " I even try to rush through a close read" because I can totally relate!!! I remember our pace on the beach walk we took.... slowing down ... it is a worthy goal!

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