The first thing I noticed about the man was his turbulence. He didn’t walk into the store so much as take it over. His presence was like a low voltage force that could ramp up in power without warning. I busied myself behind a table, where I was signing my latest book about a therapy dog and tried not to make . . .
That’s me, Julie Strauss Bettinger, and my “editorial assistant,” Lily Belle. I’m an author and she plays a crucial role in my mental and physical health as she’s in charge of humor breaks, naptime and walks to see her four legged friends up the hill. She just turned four, but, has no plans to leave puppyhood.
For as long as I can remember, I have been borderline obsessed with reading. From studying the cereal box as a child, to craning my neck so I could make out messages on billboards. Words are like a combination lock for me, when I hear it click open, I discover . . . What?
The 180-pound European Great Dane lumbered into the psychiatric hospital’s recreational area, which looked a lot like an enclosed parking garage. He glanced around briefly at the dozen or so male patients gathered for the therapy visit, then elegantly lowered his horse-sized body to the ground.
It was one of those soggy Saturdays and, as I stepped out of my vehicle in the city parking garage, a huge drip from a crack in the ceiling hit my forehead. I thought this day would have been better suited for curling up with one of my books instead of talking about them.
I was at the dinner table with my new Fargo, North Dakota friend and her family, when I looked around at their curious faces. . .They were all characters from my friend’s memoir, So Many Africas, and it was like going back stage on a film set and interviewing the cast.