A Chewy Subject

“My dear fellow, I may be dead from the neck up, but rack my brains as I may I can’t see why a chap should need 30 pages to describe how he turns over in bed before going to sleep.”

So said a French literary editor to Marcel Proust, on rejecting volume 1 of In Search of Lost Time. It was a century ago and the subject was consciousness, not events or people. One can imagine such a book to be a challenge for the Marketing Department, especially when the writer’s style has all the pop and sizzle of a damp wool carpet.

I’ve not read much Proust. I used to have a 1921 edition of Remembrance of Things Past and I found it oh so dull. As advertised, it was good reading when trying to fall asleep. But my little dog thought the leather cover was tasty, so there went that.

It begs the question, though: if the subject is consciousness, as I think it can be, where can you go with that? Consciousness is the matter with which we are all most intimately familiar, yet we no almost nothing about it. So by means, we writers should explore the inner life.

Two years ago, I posted a flash fiction piece called Shining Leaves. Here it is, complete with audio reading. The second section imagines the consciousness of a dog, its life still touched by subtle joy yet aware of aging and loneliness.

Leave the Wolves in Peace

Sometimes I get emails from environmental groups, asking for petition action. I usually like to add a little something to their boilerplate text, just to personalize it. Here’s one that came through today, with my addition in bold.

As a supporter of Defenders of Wildlife and someone who cares about wildlife, I strongly urge you to practice sensible, science-based management of the wolves in your state.

European settlers and their descendants have been obsessively slaughtering the wildlife on this continent for 400 years. It can’t possibly be that much fun anymore. If those of you in authority can’t support the animals and their environment, at least do something to see that they’re left in peace. 

The benefits of wolves are well documented. They bring tourist dollars (millions near Yellowstone) and improve ecosystems by preventing overgrazing by elk, deer and caribou.

I know, right? 🙂

Hunting isn’t a sport, it’s just murder. Just one guy’s humble opinion.

Holy Mole!

Now here’s something you don’t see every day. It’s a mole, about 6 inches long, sitting in a pink plastic tub, crunchy-munchin’ on a leaf.


He’s been very diligently circumscribing a path of destruction around Mom & Dad’s front yard the past few days. Today, Dad spotted where he was digging, dug open his tunnel from above, and pulled him out.

We relocated him in the orchards, outside of town. He’ll find better eating out there, anyway.

Pretty cute, but you don’t want him making a salad bar out of your lawn.