Cookies

Yes, there were cookies at the TMD1000 celebration!

I wrote the 1,000 articles, but the stars of the celebration were the Josh Rivers images! Not to mention, the absolutely delicious and gorgeous cookies from Lola Penelope’s Sweet Obsession!

Mr. Justice Augustus Dindon   Noreen

Hieronymous Hedgehog  image4

image5 More Noreen

IMG_8973      image12

IMG_8973

Watson, Hecuba, and Hieronymous

HieronymousHedgehog

Hieronymous Hedgehog by artist Josh Rivers

Watson the Irish Water Spaniel and Hecuba the hare were the first characters to appear in The Way to Dr. Bourru. But neither Watson nor Hecuba made it into The Mammalian Daily.

Hieronymous, on the other hand, has had a starring rôle, not to mention his own Twitter account. And, just this year, he became the spokesAnimal for GoUnderground, The Park’s oldest hibernation outfitter. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Hieronymous  appears about twelve pages into the book, when Watson and Hecuba come upon him outside Dr. Bourru’s office. Hieronymous, who has just come out of hibernation and is a bit confused, hears Watson’s tail wagging and mistakes it for the sound of sympathy. This exasperates Hecuba:

“Honestly, Hieronymous! Sometimes I think you’re still as deaf as the day you were born!”

It seems that from the very beginning, other animals have found Hieronymous exasperating. He’s a bit slow, I admit, but he’s well-intentioned and, to my mind, very sweet and quite vulnerable. But he also has moments of undeniable wisdom. I’d meant him to be just goofy, but he took on a life of his own and I’ve been trying to protect him from himself ever since.

It didn’t start out as social commentary

TitleIt didn’t start out as social commentary.

It started out as a children’s book.

The title is, The Way to Dr. Bourru. And I wrote it in 1989. But it isn’t just a children’s book, it’s a children’s mystery—and a psychological one at that. It’s a tale that weaves its way through the park (now “The Park”) and its inhabitants to answer the question of why it seems that places that are farther away take less time to get to than places that are closer.

The main character is an Irish Water Spaniel named Watson and he spends the book trying to answer this question by interviewing different animals as they make their way toward the office of Dr. Bourru:

The way to Dr. Bourru’s office was usually a very long one and that was one of those truths that was always true and never seemed to need any adjustment for circumstances. That was one of the things about going to Dr. Bourru’s: it always took a long time but if you asked why, nobody would ever look at you and say, “because of circumstances.” There weren’t any circumstances on the way to Dr. Bourru’s; it was just a long way’s away, no matter where you were. Yet, in fact, the farther away you were to begin with, the less time it seemed to take you to get there. And no one had ever known the reason why that was so, but it was so, nonetheless.

A few of the characters in The Mammalian Daily were created in this book but, somehow, Watson did not make the cut. I don’t know why.

Next up: More on the creation of the characters

T-220 and stop: a long look back…and ahead

Metal buttonStop. Pull the plug. Turn off the power. And?

I suppose I would call it retirement if it had been my livelihood. But, of course, it wasn’t. It was an idea that I had (one of many) and one I thought was worth trying.

I can remember the exact minute The Mammalian Daily was born. It was in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where I’d spent the weekend with the man in my life, who was chairing an annual conference. We escaped the rest of the attendees and met up for dinner at a pub, where I put forward the idea.

“Why don’t I just write The Mammalian Daily?” I said. I knew that he knew what that was.

“That’s a good idea,” he said.

The year was 1999.