A book about rabbits saved my life.
Seriously. When I was twelve, my life was in chaos. My parents were divorcing, my mother was in and out of mental wards, my grandfather was sexually molesting me, I was bullied at school, hated all of my classes, and had no friends. Reading books helped me escape my life. One, in particular, not only provided comfort, it saved my body and mind and had a lasting impact on my psyche.
Watership Down, by Richard Adams, is the epic adventure of a ragtag band of young rabbits who flee their warren (sort of an underground rabbit city made of tunnels and holes) after one of them has a prophetic vision of doom. It’s an anthropomorphic tale in which the rabbits have a religion, language, and forms of government that vary from warren to warren. You can purchase a copy of Watership Down on Amazon–and probably other places. Netflix and the BBC have recently released a miniseries based on the book, but I found some of the show’s deviations upsetting. (The animated film from the seventies stayed truer to the book.)
Adams described the English countryside with an astounding level of detail and beauty that lifted me far away from the refinery-polluted bayous of my home. Even better, the characters who populated the book’s world, despite being lapine, felt like real people. I surrounded myself with them whenever suicidal impulses took hold of me. They replaced the friends I lacked and loved me when my toxic family didn’t know how.
I became a writer because I hoped my fiction might help others get through tough spots in their lives. I don’t imagine my books will ever affect a reader as profoundly as Watership Down affected me, but even if something I’ve written provides a reader with a few hours of amusement–a tiny respite from the real world–I feel like I’ve done my job.
Has a book ever had a significant impact on your life?
My website has a snazzy new banner created by the talented Kyleigh Castronaro of Free to Be Covers and Designs. She also designed the logo using my little spirit animal, the fox, and two of my favorite colors. If you’re an author, you should really check out her Facebook page here. She has premade book covers at fantabulous prices, and she also does custom work.
Why foxes? Because I love them. Like a genderqueer person (like me), they are sort of a creature between–not quite a dog, not quite a cat. They are their own unique beastie. I’ve loved them since I was small. My first story written in English (previous attempts were penned in scribbles) was about saving a family of foxes from hunters. I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve always been drawn to trickster gods and trickster animals. I suppose it’s because they live by their wits, depending on their brains more than their brawn. They’re also often misunderstood. Two of my favorites, foxes and corvids (ravens, crows, jays), are often seen as nuisances or are associated with evil. No animal is ever evil.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the new look!
Have you ever wondered what happens to our furry companions when the house or apartment where they live bursts into flames?
If they survive the fire, chances are they will have inhaled smoke and possibly toxic fumes. This means that if they don’t get care soon, they could die despite being rescued from the flames.
Most fire departments understand that our pets are an important part of our families. In some areas, where funds permit, firefighters carry oxygen masks made expressly for pets. Sadly, not all fire stations are equipped with these life-saving devices.
That’s were Breaths for Pets comes in! I know one of this non-profit’s founders. She loves animals and was heartbroken when one of her friends lost his beloved dogs in an apartment fire. Although the dogs escaped the horrific fire, they died from smoke inhalation. When she learned that special pet oxygen masks could have saved her friend’s pets, Breaths for Pets was born.
Breaths for Pets provides free oxygen masks made especially for dogs, cats—even birds—to fire stations. I love this charity because I know how much they care and how hard they work, but also because losing my fur babies in a fire is one of my greatest fears. If you would like to join me in supporting Breaths for Pets, you can make a donation here. Or, if you would like to donate while getting a fun coffee cup, tee shirt, or other cute pet-themed merchandise, check out their Zazzle store here.