Sonny’s Face, My Face

The writing faces at the faces-themed writing workshop faced the music—internal and external—and faced off with the real and imagined faces in their lives and imaginations. The writers delivered the writing goods. Face offs have value. I have one coming Wednesday night. There won’t be any music.

I doubt I’ll ever forget what one writer did in the workshop with the face of Sacajawea on a one-dollar coin and how another writer used the adjective tawny in connection to satisfaction.

Teaching these classes teaches me about writing and the human condition. I’ve got to keep these workshops going. I’ve got to keep meeting new people, new faces.

During the workshop, I asked the question I’ve wanted to ask for several years.

The saying goes: over time, a long time, the dog and the dog owner’s faces begin to resemble one another. Who was the first writer who wrote that? It might have been, incredibly, Rilke.

My question was, and I asked it to the class: did my face resemble Sonny’s, my beloved 17-year old husky who left my world last year but reoccurs weekly in my dreams? I asked the question because virtually everyone in the class had either met Sonny or seen her face as a photograph accompanying hundreds of my columns and posts about our madcap and metaphysical adventures down Oregon Coast beaches.

A brief silence ensued after the question. I got nervous. I couldn’t predict my reaction. I asked a question of an an audience that I didn’t know the answer. You’re not supposed to do that in legal matters or in literary venues. The answer must be known.

Who wants to ask questions when the answers are already known?

Most people. I found that out the last year.

Does anyone want to look like their dog? Is it a sly compliment or a veiled insult?

Then Susan spoke:

“Yes, your face did…it was the eyebrows.”

The eyebrows! Of course!

I felt like crying for joy. In Sonny’s face is a kind of soft salvation for me. I must only keep looking at it, for it, and remember, and take her memory forward to new territory.

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