The Book that Stole My Brain


For years – too many to count– I have been working on a book called “An Ark of Sorts.” The “Ark” tells the stories of many of the dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and birds we’ve fostered and adopted.

My husband, Chris, and I never set out to rescue all those beings. It just happened. In fact, he tried to stem the tide and remind me that most people don’t walk out the door and come home with a  dog or cat or rabbit or…

Recently, we decided to count the numbers of critters who have shared our home and lost count at about 80. No we are not hoarders. We adopted our first dog right after we were married (a very long time ago), so it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds.

Through my children’s books I have shared the stories of Zoe the chicken, Bradly a gigantic puppy, and a naughty beagle named Bonnie. Two more books for young kids are in the hands of an illustrator and should be released later this year. Both star the filthy, feral, injured kitten we heard crying for two days before we located him.

Although I love sharing the stories of cast off animals with children, I also want to reach adults. They are the decision makers, the people to choose whether or not to help an animal in distress.

“An Ark of Sorts” should become a reality this year—if my brain will cooperate. Unfortunately, it appears that the “An Ark of Sorts” has stolen my brain.  Although I’m no genius, but I have managed to write children’s books, articles for magazines and newspapers as well as a website covering San Diego baseball.

Granted, a book with around 300 pages is more of a challenge. It takes hours of writing and proofing over and over again. In fact, I feel as if I have been spending most of my time in proofing hell.

I have added and subtracted multiple stories. Just when I think I have reached an end, anther animal pops up—either in my mind or in person.

Recently, we adopted another bunny, so I added Cassy in an epilogue. She was abandoned at a shopping center as a tiny baby and finally found her way to us when she was four months old. We assumed, she would be shy and traumatized.  Instead, she’s strong willed and reminds us when it is time to change her litter box or give her a treat.

(In fact, it appears that Vinny the dog, Magic the cat, and Cassy the bunny all have Apple watches and never let us forget treat time or a meal.)

For what feels like an eon, I have been proofing the “Ark of Sorts” manuscript. I have lost count of my attempts to find misspellings, to follow the flow of the book, to make sure there are no duplicates and that the grammar is correct. Day after day, month after month, I have dutifully added the necessary changes. Just when I think I’ve been successful, and we can move on, more mistakes pop up.

Obviously I don’t use a typewriter as sports writer Paul Gallico did in 1946. But he voiced my feelings: “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”

No blood is involve – just my brain. Every time I think we’re ready to move on and finally turn the work into an actual book, another change needs to be made. My only hope is that “An Ark of Sorts” will return my brain to me soon.

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An Ark of Sorts