Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My neglected blog and a writing project

I have neglected my blog the past few weeks, but I have a good excuse. I am writing a book and it is due to the publisher on September 1st. Needless to say, that is my writing priority these days. It’s been an interesting experience.

This will be my second book. Animal Planet: Labrador Retrievers (TFH Publishing) is the title. Anyone who knows me knows my love for Labs, and this is a dream assignment. Although I don’t own a Labrador any more, I have lived with hundreds over the years: foster dogs, boarding dogs, and my own beloved Tank, who was with us for 13 ½ years. And Cody, an elderly rescue we adopted who only lived a year, but was also close to my heart.

My first book, in 2008, was Basset Hound: Your Happy Healthy Pet, and it was a second edition, so I had a manuscript to start with and an outline from the publisher (Howell books). This one is from scratch. Provided with a rough outline from my editor, all the words are mine. I found myself paralyzed with fear the first few weeks, so I did lots of research to get into the subject. There is nothing so scary as a blank piece of paper, for an artist or writer!

And now I have just two chapters to go, and three weeks to finish and edit my work. I put off the history of the breed, thinking it is always so boring. I am fascinated, and love looking through different sources and comparing stories and trying to craft an accurate one of my own. Because the Labrador’s history is somewhat murky, it is a challenge to get it right, or as near right as one can.

It reminded me of art history classes in college. I tried to avoid them, and then found myself entranced as I studied the remains of Pompeii and the cathedrals of Europe. Even contemporary art took me off in a new direction for my painting. I combined my art major with a minor in history, studying what went on in the world while all this fantastic art was being created. Ancient Greece and Rome became my favorite subjects.

The events in the world have a major effect on art, culture, and even dogs. The Sheep Protection Act of 1885 stopped breeding of the St John’s Dog in Newfoundland, and the Quarantine Act in England stopped importation of these dogs. The landed gentry in England then embarked on their own breeding program, refining the Labrador into what it is today.

Politics affects everyone, even dogs.

Want to know more? I do. 

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

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