A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Taz and Zuzu

It has been suggested to me that I write a series of children's books starring my dog, Taz, and I've taken up the challenge. The text of the first book is written, and has been passed on to the illustrator, who has made some preliminary sketches. Tomorrow we meet to discuss "concept," using what we've got so far. If I think she's picked up on my vibe, we'll make a little presentation to our marketing guru, our editor, and our publisher, and see what they think.

The theme of this first book, suggested by the publisher, is "unconditional love." His publishing company's niche is the special needs market, so my little person is a child with CP. The dog, obviously, could care less about her disability. Get it? Unconditional love!

I'm already thinking ahead to the next book in the series. The real-life Taz--not her literary counterpart--is a very wired animal, probably not the best pet for a frail child. It had occurred to me that the other animal in my household, Zuzu the ferret, would actually make a better companion for a child with a disability...but that wasn't the challenge I was given. Still, I'm thinking, why not a book about both? As in: we can be very different and still get along. (If I don't come up with that as a theme on my own, the publisher is for sure going to suggest it pretty soon.)

Here's a snapshot of Taz and Zuzu "getting along." Actually, Zuzu is probably thinking, get your blasted leg off my neck, you big lug! I want to go steal some of your dog food and run under the bureau where you can't get me and eat it in peace. But that's in real life. In the parallel universe of literary fiction, Zuzu crawled under there on purpose and is taking a cozy nap with her best friend. Man oh man, I love being a writer!

The Mammoth Cheese

A poem by Canadian furniture maker, poet, and chauvinist James McIntyre, written in the 1850s and reprinted in Very Bad Poetry. He considered cheese to be one of the many wonders of Canada.

Ode on the Mammoth Cheese
Weighing over 7,000 pounds

We have seen thee, queen of cheese,
Lying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze,
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,
Or as the leaves upon the trees,
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great world's show at Paris.

Of the youth beware of these,
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek, then songs or glees
We could not sing, oh! queen of cheese.

We'rt thou suspended from balloon,
You'd cast a shade even at noon,
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.

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