Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guest Post by author Tim Rowland (Creatures Features) on Writing About Animals

About the author: Tim Rowland is an award-winning columnist at Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Maryland. He has written for numerous history and outdoor magazines and news syndicates nationwide. He has also authored several books, most recently Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War.

This fabulous little post on writing about animals gives a glimpse of what the book has to offer. Make sure you read this, along with the book review and buy yourself a copy right now!

Writing and writing about animals are two different things. I say this because in traditional writing it is the author who must initiate the creative process and drive the text. When writing about animals, the author is free to disengage and allow the critter to dictate the terms.

For example, as I write this, or try to, there is a diminutive, six pound Siamese who has developed a fascination with the electronic letters and darting cursor that appear on the computer screen. And she has come to the conclusion that they need to be killed.

Strangely, this does not contribute to my near-term writing efficiency, although it does solve the long-term problem of what to write about. Writers make deals with the devil all the time, and if no devil is handy a cat will make a plausible facsimile.

The only equal to a cat in terms of seeking publicity is a goat. To a goat, acting out is sport, a way to grab attention and pass the time. That’s another love-hate situation for a writer, who wags his finger sternly at the bad behavior before going inside and putting it into print. So when a goat, for example, walks up to a section of fence I am repairing, reaches up and knocks a hammer off of a fence post just for spite with that “what are you going to do about it” look, it is simultaneously maddening and profitable.

Most other animals are entertaining not by choice, but by circumstance. A cow, for example, may blunder her way into an entertaining situation, although she clearly does not realize she has done anything funny. A couple of years ago, I brought a young bull to our hobby farm to service the ladies, but he made a poor effort of it. The youngster kept trying to mount the wrong end of the cow and it wasn’t long before the cows decided they wanted no children out of a male that stupid. I told the bull not to feel bad, I’d been in that situation myself.

I am convinced, however, that most animals have senses of humor. Every equestrian has been the butt of a horse joke at one time or another. To illustrate, horses will stand at the far end of the pasture and refuse to come when called. Se we will walk all the way across the pasture to get them, at which point they will gallop past us and stand at the gate. They think this hilarious.

I don’t. But then again, as a writer I do have certain outlets that others do not. For on our homestead, no animal atrocity ever goes to waste.


Read more reviews and try your luck to win a copy on the Creatures Features Tour Page


Teddy Rose said...

Thanks so much for taking part in the tour and hosting Tim!

Post a Comment