And A Dog called Fig: Solitude, Connection, the Writing Life
And a Dog Called Fig is the story of one writer’s life with dogs (including a frisky new puppy), how they are uniquely ideal companions for building a creative life, and some delightful tales about dogs and their famous writers
Into the writer’s isolation comes a dog, to sit beside the chair or to lie on the couch while the writer works, to force them outside for a walk, and suddenly, although still lonely, the writer has a companion.
An artist’s solitude is a sacred space, one to be guarded from the chaos of the world, where the sparks of inspiration can be kindled into fires of creation. But within this quiet also lie loneliness, self-doubt, the danger of collapsing too far inward.
An artist needs a familiar, a companion with emotional intelligence, innate curiosity, an enthusiasm for the world beyond, but also the capacity to rest contentedly for many hours. What an artist needs, Helen Humphreys would say, is a dog.
And a Dog Called Fig is a memoir of the writing life told through the dogs Humphreys has lived with and loved over a lifetime, including Fig, her new Vizsla puppy. Interspersed are stories of other writers and their own irreplaceable companions: Virginia Woolf and Grizzle, Gertrude Stein and Basket, Thomas Hardy and Wessex–who walked the dining table at dinner parties, taking whatever he liked–and many more.
A love song to the dogs who come into our lives and all that they bring–sorrow, mayhem, reflection, joy–this is a book about steadfast friendship and loss, creativity and craft, and the restorative powers of nature. Every work of art is different; so too is every dog, with distinctive needs and lessons. And if we let them guide us, they will show us many worlds we would otherwise miss.