Normal service may not be possible for the next few weeks!
As many of you know last December I published my first book Learning from Dogs.
That book had been the result of me getting my head down in the Novembers of 2013 and 2014. Why November? Because that is the month of NaNoWriMo, or to use the long-form: National Novel Writing Month.
Having brought book number one the light of the day, it was only natural that my mind started to turn to a sequel. At first, I thought of another book about dogs; perhaps Learning About Dogs? But for a variety of reasons I just couldn’t get started and it all came to a head last Wednesday during one of our regular group cycle rides. As follows:
Jim Goodbrod, he who wrote the foreword to my first book, asked how book number two was coming along.
“Oh Jim,” I replied, “I have left it far too late to contact the many academics that I have come across, to seek permission to quote their works and to find out if they have more scientific information of potential interest.”
“I have this terrible feeling that I’m setting myself up to fail!”
Jim then opened a wonderful window for me; metaphorically speaking. But before describing what Jim went on to say I should explain to you, dear reader, the connection between Jim and Janet, his wife, and Jean and me. Jim and Janet live about half-a-mile from us in Merlin, Southern Oregon, and right from the moment when we moved into our home back in 2012 they have been very good friends indeed. That friendship built upon Jim and Janet sharing very many similar outlooks on life to Jeannie and me. Plus Jim is a professional veterinarian doctor at a vet’s practice in Grants Pass, our local town some 12 miles from home, but has frequently given us advice ‘out of hours’ when one of our pets at home has gone down with something beyond Jean’s extensive experience.
So the four of us have spent much time together socially and I am embarrassed to admit that quite a few of my stories from past years have been told by me.
Back to that conversation during that bike ride. “Paul, Janet and I were only saying the other day that we would really love to see your next book being something autobiographical. You have had so many interesting experiences in so many parts of the world that we truly believe that they would be of interest to many others.”
It felt slightly uncomfortable to hear that. Uncomfortable in the sense that immediately responding by saying what a good idea that was carried too much egotism, was too self-indulgent. But at the same time I knew that Jim and Janet would offer a genuine recommendation and that it would most certainly get me out of my present difficult situation. I thanked Jim profusely. Jim then went on the describe the style that he and Janet would enjoy: “Janet and I have long loved reading books where each chapter was a self-contained story. In other words, a book that one could pick up and dip into and still feel that it was a good read.”
When I returned home and spoke about this to Jeannie she immediately said that it was something that she had been urging me to consider. An hour later I was speaking on the phone to my sister Eleanor and she, too, encouraged me to go down this route.
So that’s how it has come about that book number two is going to be semi-autobiographical, and it already has a name: Four Dogs On My Bed.
Or as the byline reads: On Life; On Love; and On Dogs.
All of which is a rather wordy way of saying that from now until the end of November my first priority is going to be book writing. How that will impact my attention to this blog and all you wonderful readers is uncertain. But if you see a string of re-posts from earlier times, if I don’t provide the most fulsome introduction to a guest author that they deserve, if my replies to comments are not as quick as I normally try to be, then you will know the reason why.