Illustration of “Short Stories” used with permission of Nishant Choksi – www.nishantchoksi.com
Hello again. It’s me, Ollie, James’ Old English Sheepdog. I can’t believe a week has already gone by. How time flies.
That reminds me, have you ever chased butterflies? It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I’ve never caught one, but losing oneself in the abandonment of the moment is pure joy. Of course, I’m an Old English Sheepdog, so it’s easy for me to disregard all the stimuli that pounds on James’ door each day. He’s told me that he does enjoy abandoning himself in his writing (how well I know since it’s when he forgets about me – bummer – except, as he has reminded me, when he is writing about me).
Speaking of butterflies, this time last month, James was in France, flitting around from place to place, enjoying himself, while I was cooped up in a kennel with my girlfriends. Did I tell you I’m a Daddy, having had fun with (okay, James says I need to stay on topic).
James was researching one of his short stories that will be part of a collection connected in one form or another to Popplewood Farm, his first home in Vermont. This particular story takes place before and during World War II. It’s about a boy, in love with a girl who used to live in the farm. The boy runs away to fight the Nazi’s and lands on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Once James has it edited, and, more critically, published or, alternatively, has a webpage, he’ll let you know where to find it. If anyone out there would care to help James build his webpage, I would be eternally grateful (I won’t have to listen to him complaining about it anymore. Of course, he has to listen to my barking and whining, so I suppose we’re even).
It seems ages since James was last in France, in 2010, long before I was born. While there he wrote two short stories. One primarily takes place on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris where he was staying. The other begins in Marseille and ends on the TGV (France’s high-speed trains) to Paris. Again, if he can only get his website built you’ll be able to find them there. He’s hoping not too much time goes by before he has that in place.
Yes, time flies, but there are no flies in Vermont during the winter. Okay, there are those pesky indoor flies that buzz around the windows during sunny hours and die a thousand deaths each day. But I prefer chasing butterflies. And since I can’t send you to a website where you could find one of James’ short stories, I thought I’d offer up one of James’ poems he wrote about me when I was a little whippersnapper – we hope you like it.
Running with abandon
through the newly mowed
or tall grass
at the white
hoping against hope
chasing against chase
the winged creatures
At eighteen weeks you relish the joy
in a flash it passes
into the grass or
doubles back over your head
never even aware it’s being dogged
searching for nectar
pursuing a mate
while you hound in vain
or for the fun of the hunt
It’s merely amusing
an exercise for you
for what would you do with success
A moment of pleasure for me
bringing a smile to my face
as I watch you romp
with a spontaneous toy
brought by Mother Nature
during early autumn
Let us know if you have any questions for James (or for me), and if you like the poem. And if anyone wants to help James build his author website with advice or actual input, please let him know in the comment section below.
Until next week – au revoir,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)
Photo and poem “Butterflies” © 2015 James Stack
Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com