Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Gilbert, J.K. Rowling, Sue Monk Kidd
April 2 2014
It’s no coincidence that many authors have dogs. After all, dogs are quiet, companionable and have a deep appreciation for routine, all of which fit into the writing life like a sleepy pup in a comfy bed. Here are some snippets gleaned from our reading list.
According to what she told Oprah, the dog made Sue Monk Kidd quit (in a good way): “I have an old dog named Lily and she’s a Black Lab. We got her as a puppy when I finished writing The Secret Life of Bees. My main character was named Lily and so that’s what we named her. She is 13 now, but she will come in and get me if I stay too long in my study. She’ll come put her head in my lap and tell me it’s time to stop.” Which, for this author, is a very good thing.
From J.K. Rowling's The Cuckoo’s Calling: “One of the earliest and most vivid memories of Robin’s childhood was of the day that the family dog had been put down. She herself had been too young to understand what her father was saying; she took the continuing existence of Bruno, her oldest brother’s beloved Labrador, for granted. Confused by her parents’ solemnity, she had turned to Stephen for a clue as to how to react, and all security had crumbled, for she had seen, for the first time in her short life, happiness and comfort drain out of his small and merry face, and his lips whiten as his mouth fell open. She had heard oblivion howling in the silence that preceded his awful scream of anguish, and then she had cried, inconsolably, not for Bruno, but for the terrifying grief of her brother.”
Roger, a Tahitian dog, is an unforgettable, fully drawn character in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, The Signature of All Things. In a post on her Facebook page, Gilbert explained his significance and how his personality and name were inspired by a Balinese street dog: “The best thing about Roger is that his name wasn’t even Roger; it was actually ‘Raja,’ but my sweet Brazilian husband had misunderstood it. Thus, in our house, the poor little dog went from having a name of kingly Hindu majesty to being simply … Roger.
“A reader asked me, ‘Why did you have a dog in this novel?’ Two reasons: (1) To honor the memory of the real Roger, who was so absurd and who brought us so much joy, and (2) because I would never want to read a novel that didn’t have a dog in it.”
When asked by a Daily Beast interviewer what breed her new dog Sparky was, Ann Patchett replied: "I have no idea! But Annie Lamott said he was a Czechoslovakian circus dog. He looks like a dog from an Eastern European circus: a small, scruffy dog who you could imagine balancing on a red ball."
In a recent Vanity Fair interview, Stephen King was asked what person or thing he would like to come back as. His response: “A dog. A good one that gets lots of love and a hearth to lie on in the winter.”
Wellness: Food & Nutrition
April 1 2014
COOL STUFF FOR EGG HEADS
For an easy, quick source of calcium … Grind up cleaned, dried eggshells into a powder using a spice/coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Half a teaspoon of eggshell powder equals 1,000 mg of calcium.
March 27 2014
For a 30-year period beginning just after World War I, Paul Howard Manship (1885–1966) was lauded as one of America’s premier sculptors. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minn., Manship looked to the classical past for both inspiration and subject matter while exploring the modernistic stylings of what would become Art Deco.
Manship’s sculpture entitled Indian Hunter and His Dog reflects his signature Archaic style, depicting an idealized youth running full stride, carrying arrows in his right hand and a bow in his left, accompanied by his dog. The figure’s pose, mask-like expression and act of leading with his left foot recall the Greek kouros (young male) figure, modeled with a streamlined modernity.
This miniature bronze was a study for a life-size sculpture commissioned by Thomas Cochran to be installed outdoors at Cochran Park in St. Paul, where it resides today. Currently, the miniature sculpture is included in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925, an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through April 13, 2014. With 65 bronze sculptures by 28 artists, the exhibition explores the popularity of statuettes with Western themes. Artists represented include Manship, James Earle Fraser, Frederick William MacMonnies, Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell and Charles Schreyvogel, among others.
For more information visit metmuseum.org.
Dog's Life: DIY
Make your own mini pack of pups
March 24 2014
Making your own minipack of pups just got easier. In Felt Dogs, a new book by master needle-felter Mitsuki Hoshi, clear step-by-step instructions are provided, with charming photos to entice you to try your hand at this latest DIY craze. The book is due out in April from Laurence King Publishing and is available on Amazon.
British crafter Donya Coward’s beaded, lacey creations.
March 19 2014
Ten years ago, Donya Coward was a recent graduate of the knitwear fashion design program at Nottingham Trent University (UK). On a lark, she made some brooches from odd scraps she had lying around. Next came a children’s story illustrated with fabric faces. But her craft and career path really soared when she started to make full-blown animal sculptures that she refers to as “textile taxidermy.”
These eco-friendly, three-dimensional works are constructed with layers of knit and crochet and completed by a fine “skin” of embroidery and beading. When describing her process, Coward emphasizes her use of “antique, vintage and up-cycled haberdashery, laces, fabrics and embroideries,” and adds that, for her, “it is important to preserve the craftsmanship and skills of days gone and give them a new identity.”
She certainly has made her mark with her intricate and lovely dog heads, banners and full-sized figures. She takes commissions, and all her work is done by hand—definitely well worth the wait they might require.
News: Guest Posts
March 11 2014
Jill Breitner is a dog trainer with a mission: to make us aware of how dogs communicate by showing us how to “read” them. She developed her Dog Decoder app to do just that.
A helpful and handy primer on canine body language, it demonstrates the ways dogs let us know they’re scared, excited, cautious, willing and so forth. As Breitner explains, “If we understood what dogs try so hard to tell us, there would be fewer people bitten and fewer dogs ending up in shelters.” The app highlights 60 different poses/situations; each one (“butt sniff,” for example) comes with a helpful description that points out some common misconceptions, or the circumstances in which a dog will exhibit it.
A great tool for newbie dog people and those of us who need to brush up on dog talk. dogdecoder.com
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