Favourite Reads: Dog Boy

My favourite novel about dogs

For a long time the novel-version of The Incredible Journey (1963) was my favourite ‘read’ about dogs. Then, 2009 or there abouts, I was at The Writers Festival in Byron Bay. Heard, or heard about Eva Hornung’s then new book, Dog Boy. Bought it after the segment to leaf through it while taking time out, and lunch, in my car.

I’m not a fan of events with 45+/- thousand people … probably not that many … but enough that I didn’t meet any friends or acquaintances] Read about 60 pages, kissed the Festival goodbye, drove home and read the rest.

It’s worth all the accolades. Every hyped up adjective. It’s “confronting”. “Highly descriptive, confident and thought-provoking.” “Completely believable. Unrelenting.” “Meticulous research.” “Pared-down, non-sentimental writing.” “A tour-de-force of imaginative empathy.”

In my opinion, it’s the most moving, frightening, heart-breaking story of how a child, to survive, becomes a dog. It’s writing from the soul.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6667541-dog-boy

Today …

One of my first paintings, meaning in this instance to represent a drug-addled brain

So. Today. With my wonky immune-compromised health, I decided it definitely wouldn’t do to get sick enough to have to go the hospital, or even to call for an ambulance. What with 30k holidaymakers entering the state every day bent on having their holy holidays, this is no time to get sick. A good time to stay indoors, out of the social scene. Isolating, again. So be good, I thought at the crone. Stay healthy.


She, however, risked her masked-up health and went into her new favourite library, St Vinnies—an Op Shop, charity or opportunity store—and “borrowed” eight old-fashioned print books. This because the local library was shut for Christmas-and-New-Year and the local virtual library not listening to her passwords, library id or pins.


On arriving home, she began reading Phillip K Dick’s Through a Scanner Darkly. Not wanting to stop for lunch she got a bottle of water, and a jar of Pano dark choc bits. Ate the latter and drank the former while continuing to read. Round about 4.30 PM, she remembered the not-getting-sick parameter, and drank more water before making and eating a peanut butter sandwich with blueberries.


Though the read was not all that gripping, she’d decided to read it, so read it she would. If that makes any sense. The title, which an FB friend was attracted to after the crone posted a pic of a bag full of reading matter, sounds like a take on ‘through a glass darkly’ … let me just check that …


OMG! yourbibleversedaily dot com tells her: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12. Paul’s famously poetic statement about the difficulty of knowing God in this life says a lot more than at first meets the eye.”


Well, it tells her it’s definitely worth it to check references, sometimes only vaguely known. What she has read so far of Through a Scanner Darkly … Yep, yep, definitely shaping up … to Augustine’s interpretation: “For Augustine, we see the image of ourselves clearly, but, as a reflection of God, the image is an imperfect way of gazing upon God.”


All she can think is, thirty or forty pages in, that poor sap. Thinking of the main character. He thinks he’s on top of what he’s trying to do but of course he will come a cropper. I wouldn’t be surprised, she thinks, if there’s a proper death at the end, not just the split-brain drug-addled un-death.


So. She’ll keep reading.

https://blindhypnosis.com/a-scanner-darkly-pdf-philip-k.-dick.html

I’m Late …

Watercolor and gouache scene … I call it my event horizon … painted by Rita de Heer

I’m late posting the next installment of Avatar Remaindered due to complications publishing Half Shaman.

Who knew that the very big publisher owns Royal Road? I didn’t, and so blithely posted up my second draft of Half Shaman on RR, thinking to use it as a sort of sandbox for getting critiques.

That didn’t happen and after ten weeks of silence from the most voracious readers in the online reading universe … well, so I was told by various people who have managed to get what they needed … I gave up and started a Blogspot blog. Leaving the ten chapters behind on RR and even forgetting them, I admit.

So last week I tried to publish and was told the big publisher does not accept new iterations of things that are available for free anywhere else, and especially not on its own platforms.

I had to take rearguard actions deleting the ten early chapters on Royal Road, and even deleting the chapters I published on my old blog that were transferred to this blog. And I hope, can’t remember, that there’s nothing sitting in the G+ archives. Having another go of course.

Reading …

One of my quarterly goals (Third Quarter) for Discord.com’s The Writing Cartel is to read at least one book a week. Going all right with that goal. I’ve probably read two books a week up to now but that progress may slow when I try to continue my writing progress in the new WIP and finish the old WIP.

Getting distancing happening in MELD to be able to re-think the last couple of chapters is my second goal. The idea is to enable the supporting MC into a stronger role ready for part 3 of the trilogy.

I’ve just finished reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Its fantasy and the world building is out of this world. I loved the main character … he’s a great thief but absolutely the worst skilled murderer in the Gentlemen Bastards, needs other people to save him quite often; lots of twists and unexpected turns in the plot.

The thing that surprised me most, considering I was reading fantasy, was the late introduction of magic … probably about a third way in before it was used. By then I’d almost forgotten there was such a thing as magic. The culture in this world is so well thought out. Commerce is there, being used for scams by the Bastards. Twelve acceptable religions and one unacceptable all have their place. there are plenty of poor people, middle income, and rich all trying to live their own lives. Festivals are fabulous, including the shark combats.

There is a lot of killing murdering dueling sword play and other more intricately inventive ways of getting rid of enemies. lots of swearing. Most memorable line? Memorable lines, I should say. More than I can say. A great read … it will be one of my favorites this quarter.

Tropes: Time Travel

Watercolour: we spent summers travelling to the beach.

My interest in time travel began when my birth-family arrived in Australia as immigrants from the Netherlands. The first place where we lived was a migrant hostel outside Sydney. We children mostly noticed differences. The English language of course. The food. What the hell is this orange stuff? Pumpkin? But that’s cattle food. And what is vegemite? it’s horrible. Nothing like apple butter.

And the bush. Walking along the dirt road to our house block at midday, there was no shade. The thin vegetation let the sunlight burnish right through it. The only living creature we saw that day was a snake sunning itself on a sandstone slab protruding above the road’s surface. A venomous brown, in suburbia. My father said to stamp on the ground to scare it away. The landscape seemed very alien.

Adults noticed the seeming backwardness of the new country. There was not a decent cup of coffee to be had, for instance. Schooling was 30 years behind European education, many parents thought when they took their kids to the migrant hostel’s school. Most of the breadwinners, having their European qualifications downgraded, could only get laboring work.

A common complaint was that we had traveled back in time.

But the primitive building code enabled a lot of families to live on a house block and build their own accommodation. Many children saved shoe leather by going to school on bare feet. And if you lived in the outer suburbs, it was cheaper to buy a week’s supply of fruit and vegetables at Paddy’s Produce Markets in central Sydney and carry them home in a hessian sack, than getting stuff piecemeal at the local shops.

The existence of tropes as a category of themes tells you there’s nothing new in fiction. But I’m cruisy about using a conventional theme, if I can do something new with it, time travel as an immigrant having prepped me.

Though I’ll tell you right now that I won’t be sitting through the 700+ movies that apparently use time travel as their theme. Wikipedia has a nice page on Time Travel in Fiction listing the main sub-tropes of time travel generating a manageable list of things to read/watch.

From all the above, and without having to watch anything, I gather that what I’ve been writing into is the time-slip sub-trope.