ROGER THE DOG…
For those of you who are reading "The Signature of All Things", here is a photo of the original Roger.
Roger was a Balinese street dog, adopted by my husband's neighbor in Ubud, back in the day. He was a mangy orange mutt with bad teeth and a crooked back and a really sad-looking tail, whom my husband absolutely came to adore. He used to hang out at our house, eat our leftovers, moan in his sleep so loudly that he would wake us up at night, and press his head against our legs whenever he wanted love. He also ate snakes.
And yes, he would only bite us when we tried to feed him!
The best thing about Roger is that his name wasn't even Roger; it was actually "RAJA", but my sweet Brazilian husband had misunderstood it. Thus, in our house, the poor little dog went from having a name of kingly Hindu majesty to being simply…Roger.
Last night, a reader at my event in Nashville asked me, "Why did you have a dog in this novel? What was the significance of Roger?"
Two reasons: 1) To honor the memory of the real Roger, who was so absurd and who brought us so much joy, and 2) because I would never want to read a novel that didn't have a dog in it.
The Roger in my novel is also based a bit on my own little mutt, Rocky, but mostly he is this guy.
Lastly, this photo was taken when my sweetheart and I were in Immigration Exile (the episode of our lives I discuss in Committed.) I was all dressed up in Balinese clothing because we were on our way to a ceremony at Ketut Liyer's house — a blessing he was offering us for our upcoming marriage. A happy memory…