On Friday two weeks ago I was supposed to be on a plane to Australia, beginning my master’s degree and my new life 10,000 miles away. Instead, I was lying in an operating room in my hometown, having a necrotic bone removed from the ball of my right foot.
When my non-depressed self comes back into my life as if nothing has happened, it feels disingenuous. She tries to connect with me by asking me playful questions like, “So, how’s the love life?” It’s a universal icebreaker, a way for her to learn something juicy about my life. But the appropriate response doesn’t exist for a person whose romantic undertakings have been abysmal. The dating pool is bleak enough to depress a normal person and dating while depressed is another enterprise altogether.
Regardless of the reason for doing it, killing the dog in the story feels like a cheap emotional ploy. I think it's a common trap for new writers to fall into because we learn pretty quickly that "happy" stories are boring and even a little juvenile. Killing the dog is an easy way to impose grief on a reader because virtually everyone likes dogs.
When I first started college I found the whole experience somewhat perplexing. How do I keep up with all the coursework? How do I pretend to look interested in football? What even is a Student Union??? I attempted to track my progress throughout the year by listing my newfound knowledge in a Word document.