Friday, September 27, 2013

Good Reads: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

A few weeks ago a coworker at my "day job" foisted a couple of books on me. She used the old line "You'd really like these," and I ended up with them, obligated to read and, of course, report that I liked them. I love reading; books are my favorite method for escaping my own life (which, despite my own better judgment, I still seem to be trying to do). Yet, I am always wary of books given to me by others. Like the kid at the lunch table who gives away his dessert without bargaining for it, I have to wonder what is wrong with it. It's clearly not your prize treasure because you are willing to risk handing it to me. There's also this freaky thing: I feel like I am peering into your skull when I read what you read.

Hesitations aside, I picked up Never Have Your Dog Stuffed the biography of Alan Alda (M*A*S*H star "Hawkeye") today and have gotten about halfway through. He's funny, quirky, intelligent and I think we share a similar disregard for other peoples' rules. So far it sounds like he'd do just about anything to follow his dream of being an actor. That's something I admire. The biggest difference between us seems to be that, at the age of twenty something, he still had that feeling of invincibility that only toddlers and lunatics seem to be able to muster. He never grew out of it, I suppose, and I doubt I ever had it. This whole "making it on your own as an artist" thing scares the crap out of me!

I am engrossed in figuring out how he managed to stay so insanely confident of success. I have been told before that learning about other artists is helpful to my own success, but it never really occurred to me to REALLY try until I met this HUGE ego of Mr. Alda's in his book. I suppose I'll let you know how the dissection of his words go. In the meantime, I am curious; what keeps the fear monster at bay for you when you want or need to accomplish a daunting task? I'd love to hear how other people operate.



  1. I used to love watching Alan Alda in Mash! I'm going to look for his book I think the title is really catchy! I remember visiting some folks in Alberta and going to someone's quonset (which is a really, really, big shed) and it was full of stuffed animals. EYuckk, not plush toys either, but real dead stuffed bears and quail and even someones dog! It was really creepy. Turned out the guys cousin was a taxidermist.

    As for keeping your fears at bay, that's a tough one, I guess we all have our own coping skills. I was always encouraged as a child that you simply 'could not' not do something simply if you were afraid to do it. The idea was to make a conscious decision not a fear based decision. That lesson stayed with me and many times I've caught myself thinking "do I really want to do this? And if I choose not to is it fear based or simply that I choose not to". It was a good lesson to face your fears and work through them and to never let fear stop you from doing something!

  2. Whenever I'm afraid to do something and really want to do it, I think to myself, "If you don't do it, you'll regret it. The best you can do is try, and if you accomplish the task, think of how amazing you'll feel!!" :)

    Good post, Rachel! I was never a big MASH fan, but my dad watched it all the time, so I watched it, too. Brings back memories of childhood!