The Booked. Anthology Review 8: “Manger Dog” by Marc Rapacz

As a writer, one of the most haunting moments of pop-culture is a recurring exchange between Stewie and Brian on Family Guy. The infant is sardonically asking the family dog about the progress of a novel that he’s been writing for a number of years, with very little to show for all of Brian’s bravado. I’m certain that all of this translates in a stomach churning fashion to musicians, artists, any and all creative-types. Loneliness is being surrounded by people that do not care.

Hal is a family man, spending his time out in the barn, building his own furniture to sell. His wife dismisses him, her son thinks that he’s a joke, and the family dog can’t wait to runaway. Even the neighbors treat Hal with kid gloves, coddling the repeat failure, as he hasn’t created one piece of usable furniture in god knows how long. And then a delivery of exotic wood from faraway lands arrives, and Hal is struck with more inspiration than he knows what to do with.

Marc Rapacz tells a story of trial by fire, where the blaze never burns out. As an artist, you have to throw caution to the wind, ignore the haters, and put yourself into your work no matter the cost. Even then, when you’ve given it all you have, the end result may be nothing but a pile of rubble. Wives leave, children sneer, dogs will hate you. Sometimes, the art is in the effort and not so much the end result. Sometimes, the beauty is in the journey.

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