March 2017


I am many things, the name of this blog certainly indicates what some of my life roles may entail. I have four dogs, so letting in, putting out feeding and cleaning up after dogs are included. I also do lighter aspects of the required gardening needed at our place, watering, and some small pruning of our smaller plants, at times.

But I have life away from home, and do other things. I’m a blogger (obviously), a poet and a writer. I am currently in the middle of writing my next book, well I would be, if I hadn’t stopped to write this blog post. Although by saying I’m ‘in the middle of’ writing the book will be true as long as I go back to the writing of said book, after finishing off this blog post …

Does it matter whether or not I actually go back to the writing of that book? Hmm, yes it does, for various reasons. This as yet unfinished book is scheduled to be launched at an event that is taking place at the end of July. It’s currently at the end of March. As I mentioned I’m a writer and poet, not a mathematician, but I can work out that means I have four months to get the book done and printed. That sounds possible, depending on how many more words there are to be written …

This book is not going to be just words written by me though. The book will have some illustrations to go with it, and it will have some words written by someone else as well … I can’t get the illustrations done until I send the text to the illustrator, and to the person writing the other words. And I can’t do that until I have more words written, to give those other people a better idea about what they need to respond to, for playing their part in the process. Such are the things one takes on, when one takes on the role of Self-Publisher, as I have to produce these books.

You may be curious about this book, of which I speak … Well, the book is titled ‘Dog Buddha’s Thoughts’ and it is written by not only me and another person, but also by a dog. ‘A dog? you may well ask, ‘how can a dog write a book?’

Well the dog isn’t one of the four dogs that live here with us, or lives somewhere else with other people, sort of … The dog lives in some spot at the back of my head perhaps, or in my imagination, wherever that actually is. Has anyone clever worked out where the imagination actually is yet, I wonder? But I digress…

The dog is Buster the Dog, a perhaps mythical dog, and we have already written two books together. Those books are “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs” and “Doggone It – Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View”. They were also self-published and illustrated by the same person who will illustrate this partly-written book, once she has the words to work with. This new book will have more words but fewer illustrations than the first two books, I think. I hope. Or would more illustrations be a better way to go? No, that’s just me trying to get out of doing more work, when in fact I can feel Buster the Dog straining at the leash, wanting to get back into the writing!

So I’d better close off here, I think, get some lunch and then get back into this book. I have another blog that talks about those earlier books, and have links to that blog scattered around this particular blog post. I’m slowly getting the hang of this promotional stuff, and hope to learn more about it at that Festival of Words I mentioned … There will be a workshop revealing all I need to know about Social Media!

Yesterday I took advantage of the nearly empty house, and so free computer, and got stuck in (finally) to work on Book Three \in the Buster the Dog series, entitled “Dog Buddha’s Thoughts”. It’s starting to take shape in a good way, although there is a little thing it’s doing that I don’t like. It’s a minor thing that I’m sure the person who will put together and print my book will be able to fix.

I’ve been doing clever things with dropbox, and editing the document on various devices, and I hope I’ve saved it enough times in enough places so it won’t suddenly disappear …I don’t like thinks disappearing when I though they were safely saved. It’s happened to me, and I certainly don’t want to lose this nearly finished book.

I say ‘nearly finished’ but there are still quite a few thousand words to write. I feel in control of the material though, I know what sort of thing I have to write, and a couple of solid days would be enough to get it done well enough to send to others for their part of this book making process.

Making a book is never a solo thing. At the very least, there is the future reader there with you. I have my lovely friends helping me, one with illustrations again, the other with a foreword, and I am looking forward to the time I can hand over the manuscript for both of them to do their bits, and give me feedback on the book.

This process is fun, frustrating, and sometimes frightening. What if this book is no good at all? What if no-one gets the humour I’m aiming for? I am not a Buddhist, what if my words are offensive to those of that religion? If it caused a huge uproar, and was offensive to all, even though it would bring attention to the book, I would certainly not be happy …

But that time isn’t here yet, I hope my friend who is writing the foreword can let me know how she feels about it. If it offends her, I hope we can work out some way to get around that. She has read some parts of it, and didn’t indicate any problems, so fingers crossed.

Being a writer can be a worrying thing at times. Being with friends who are also writers, and who understand the good and bad times is great. Being understood is a fine thing …

Here are a couple of parts from “Dog Buddha’s Thoughts” – Please tell be what you think about it, leave a comment below.

The first part of each section is from The Dog Buddha, the second bit is from Buster the Dog who is writing this book with me.

“The unkempt lawn gives the best back rubs …

There’s nothing better on a sunny day than to be outside on the lawn, rolling and rolling on the grass. And the best kind of lawn, the lawn that feels the best on your back, is not a perfect just-mown lawn, oh no. As the Dog Buddha says, the best lawn is the unkempt lawn, the lawn with lumps and bumps that knead your back like the best massage ever!”

“Old bone hidden, new bone bidden

The wise dog knows the truth of this one, yum! When a human sees the whitened old bone in the backyard, or hidden behind the sofa, they will often throw the treasure out, not understanding the truth of the whole of the process with bones. Live, dead, loved, donated. These four stages happen as they were always meant to happen, and only the unknowing ones seek to change the foreordained timing of the way of life to death and then back to life.”

We are in a strange time at the moment, a waiting time, both personally, seasonally, locally, agriculturally … I live in a farming area, not a farmer myself but with farms and farmers throughout the Adelaide Plains Council area I live in. I travel 25km to Gawler, a country/suburban town just north of the Adelaide suburbs, and trying to hang on to it’s country roots.

But as I said, I live further away, and the country is in my face as I drive, or look out of my front window, with tractors and trucks with livestock frequently encountered. Our road is quiet, cars passing by at the rate of perhaps five units every five minutes, or less than that often. I see far more birds of various species at my place than I see vehicles.

As I wrote, it’s a strange time. The farmers have been out in their paddocks doing what they have to do to get ready to plant the seeds for a new cropping season, but waiting (I suppose) for the rains to come to help those seeds to grow. Today we have cloudy skies and a still day, so the clouds aren’t going anywhere at all, just hanging in there, waiting, as I am, we all are, for the time for the next step to arrive …

Things are still happening. I say outside this morning, watching things happening from the comfort of the old sofa on the back veranda. From there I could see those clouds, the trees all around, ours and those of our neighbours. I could see most of our dogs, who were exploring outside, as dogs do. I could see birds, quite a few birds.

I’m quite fond of birds. Not cage ones, held captive, but wild birds, that fly free, bring the glory of flight to my consciousness every day as I see them doing their thing. In fact I am a bit of a Twitcher , but a laid back and local one. Twitchers can go well overboard, from my point of view. No that’s not true – being passionate about something, and acting on your passion is an admirable thing, as long as no-one gets hurt.

Looking at that definition, I think I am more an admirer of birds, and a keen sometimes watcher of birds, rather than a Twitcher … Anyway, I was sitting out there, looking at dogs, clouds, trees, ants, and birds, when suddenly … Nature, red in tooth and claw or however that quote goes, Nature and instinct leapt into action. I saw a newly fledged sparrow on the ground about fifteen metres away, below a big and bushy bush we have. seconds later Lah Dee, our adult male Pharaoh Hound saw it too. He was closer to the bird than I was and within four seconds, he had that poor bird inside his slavering jaws, and was trying to negotiate the eating of his feathered repast …

lah De

The beast in non-slavering mode

It took Lah Dee longer to eat the bird than it took him to catch and kill it. Nature seems cruel, but in the long run, we all have our chance to be born, live and then we will die, all of us. I felt sorry for the bird, but also felt guilt for my almost immediate thoughts about how great this incidence was as a writing prompt for me … I almost had the haiku written, and the longer verse, perhaps a sonnet planned out … In the end, I am writing a blog post, and will perhaps explore further literary modes later on in the day …

Sparrows are the most common bird we have at our place, there have been many born this season. Our dogs are important to us, and we love them and look after them. I will remember that Lah Dee has had a morning snack and will feed him slightly less for his evening meal. These Pharoah hounds are hounds, and all hounds are hunters, with strong prey instincts. Who am I to castigate this dog for doing what comes naturally to him? When I look at it like that, it’s easier to live with the thoughts about it. If he had caught and eaten say a White Plumed Honeyeater, I would have felt much sorrier about it all. This Honeyeater is a rarer visitor, it is a native bird and not an ‘import/feral one’, and there are far fewer of them here.

And of course these hounds are not native to this land, as white people are also not … Thinking on these themes of worth, Nature, guilt, instinct is a useful way to think, and explore the various ideas … I would love to know what you think about it all. PLease leave a comment below!