About this blog...

Here you will find information, musings, and pictures about life, the natural world and writing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Animals Behaving Badly

While waiting for  my Honda's 120,000 mile servicing, I read Linda Lombardi's Animals Behaving Badly. It's a quick, fun read--humor more than natural history--by a zoo keeper. It's a catalog of examples of animals behaving contrary to the stereotypes people hold about them--behaving very badly indeed. The incidents are pretty funny as well as eye-opening, but perhaps not for the "bunny huggers" who need the illusion that animals are sweet and kind.

She cited a kea parrot in New Zealand who stole a Scottish man's passport, which took a lot of time and money to replace. He is quoted as saying: "My passport is somewhere out there in Fiordland. The kea's probably using it for fraudulent claims or something."

She busts a lot of myths, such as "mated for life," documenting massive infidelity in the bird world, as well as routine infanticide, dolphin rapists, and skilled liars. Some animals love alcohol, others like hallucinogens, some go for narcotics. Unprovoked attacks, theft, bullying--she shows that the natural world is hardly Eden.

Come for the laughs more than the science, but she's got some sensible nuggets in there, too.

"... civilization is the opposite of nature for a reason--we invented it because nature is dangerous. In nature, something is always trying to kill you, because that's basically how the system works."

"...what's the problem with believing that faraway creatures are kind, noble beings frolicking in a land of rainbows and flowers? ... what's wrong is that since we haven't quite  managed to drive all our fellow creatures to extinction yet, people still do run into them from time to time. And believing that nature is benevolent and animals are noble and cuddly is likely to get you into some serious trouble."

Bless her heart, she cites her references at the end.

Link to Amazon
Link to Linda's blog

Disclaimer: Linda's publicist sent me a free copy. I don't know her personally and I wasn't paid for this review.

We're kind and noble. Really. You can trust us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A writer's cycles

Hello? Are you there? I'm back! My blog has been dead quiet for weeks due to the natural rhythms of a writer's life. Here's how it works:

1. New book is in production. Blogging is fun because there's lots to write about and  time to write it. The manuscript is turned in, the old project is winding down, and attention turns to new ideas and new projects. It's time to take an interest in the outside world, to share, to write something, anything, other than that wretched novel that took up 100% of the brain-space for months.

2. New book comes out. Awk! No more meandering! It's all about promotion. Blogging is now required! Blog about the book, topics related to the book, events past and future to promote the book, kind reviews of the book, national news relevant to the book, how the dog liked the book, etc.

3. Writer settles into a new project. Time again for an outline, research, initial drafts. Can't draft a novel eight hours a day, the brain won't take it. So there's still time and ideas for blogging. Blog about the research, the agony of outlines, the anxiety of pacing, the angst of characters, and, oh, keep on with promoting the most recent book.

4. Yeepers! That new novel is due. Forget blogging. Enter the Blog Cone of Silence. Days, weeks, months go by... Writer might be dead, for all you know. Writer may wish she were dead. Beneath the silent sea, passion, sweat, doubts, and tears heave and roil.

5. Writer turns in manuscript and falls into a sodden heap. Wanders about in a daze. Wonders why mail is stacked up, full of second notices on bills. All the laundry is dirty. Friends and relatives are feeling neglected and are bitter about it. Dog has bonded with spouse exclusively, assuming spouse hasn't moved out and filed papers. Why is there no food in this house?

6. Go to Step 1.

Don't you think you should learn to manage your time better??