The Dog Days of Summer Writing

We are in the Dog Days of Summer, which began July 3 and end August 11. Many believe these summer days were given that name in reference to the heat, and that even dogs are stricken lazy by it. During these Dog Days, we may find our writing lagging, too.

But the term Dog Days of Summer isn’t about the heat or lazy dogs. Actually, it refers to a different kind of dog: Sirius—Orion’s most loyal hunting dog. The Dog Days of Summer actually refers to the heliacal rising of the Sirius (heliacal, meaning rising with the sun), which for the six weeks we’re in the midst of now, is the brightest star on the morning horizon.

Briefly, the legend goes like this: The god of the sun Apollo was jealous of Orion because Artemis, Apollo’s twin sister and goddess of the moon, was in love with him. In his jealousy, Apollo looked for a way to kill Orion. Teasing Artemis about her archery skills at which she was expert, Apollo challenged her to hit a speck far out in the ocean. Apollo knew, although Artemis didn’t, that the speck was really Orion swimming. Artemis killed him with a single arrow. When she realized she had killed her lover, she was overcome with guilt and placed him up in the heavens as a constellation. But Orion’s faithful hunting dog, Sirius, would not stop searching for his master, so Artemis placed him, the Dog Star, at Orion’s heels.

Sirius rises before the sun these July mornings. If you look to the eastern horizon, just before sunrise, you’ll see it glowing and twinkling.

Need a prompt to keep you writing during the Dog Days of Summer? Try this one:

Write about waking at dawn

Tell me what happened.

4 thoughts on “The Dog Days of Summer Writing

  1. I wake naturally just before dawn and when the eyes open and there is a tiny bit of sort-of light between the trees it’s time to forget bed. Get into clothes and start the weights going — if it isn’t done right now it ain’t gonna be. Period.

    Banana happens next and then coffee. Look outside. Dawn comes in alone but doesn’t stay that way for long. Open the window and hear the first cheepy bird. Right about then the city traffic revs up while the night crew slithers back into the shadows. Open the balcony door now and let the cold edge of desert summer air flow in. See light along the horizon, maybe a streak or colour, while the hills still look black.

    NoteBook starts to ruffle pages so I take my coffee to the little writing table in my room beside the window. The light starts to ooze into the neighbourhood while the traffic gets energetic and the birds pipe down.

    Another dawn. Another well done premorning.

    • Good grief, weights before coffee?
      Love your mornings (except for the weights before coffee)
      Oh, and getting up so early.
      But otherwise. Coffee. Birds. NoteBook.

  2. Judy,
    Thank you for this lovely, but sad, explanation of the Dog Days of Summer.
    Arlene Kosakoff

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