I was sitting on a ferry boat, on my way to a speciality grocery store, when I heard yelling and screaming from behind where I sat. A fifty-some couple were engaged in a physical and verbal sparring match with Peppy the dachshund literally in the middle.
Margo, refused to give Peppy up to her ex-boyfriend, Simon.”He was my dog before we started going out, and he’s my dog now that we’re breaking up.”
“That’s not fair, he’s part of my family now. Peppy sits by me most of the day because I work from home. He should be with me in the week. You can have Peppy on weekends,” Simon countered.
Margo scoffed and was about to jab Simon in the chest when Peppy managed to squeeze his way out from between both owners.
They chased him down the steps and down to the plank where people walked onto the ferry. Peppy jumped in the water, the plank in the process of being removed, and swam to shore before running away.
Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer,Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dogRay. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’sfavorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).
1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?
My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).
I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.
The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.
2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?
I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.
I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.
“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell
3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?
I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.
Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray.He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.
Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well, I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.
” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?
Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.
Ray is also hugely inspiring.He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself.I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.
There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two active projects at the moment:
My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?All profits from this book go to theHumane Societywhom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it.Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.
My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina andOtherStories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.
I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.
“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell
You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.
9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?
I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.
If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexistin every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.
My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!
10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?
Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.
Book Writing– I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry.Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago.Who Said I was up forAdoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.
“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexist in everycountry. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.” – Colin Chappell
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?
I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need torelate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.
12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
Write… write… write.
Be honest to yourself.
Write… write… write.
Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.
Write… write… write.
If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.
Write… write… write.
If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!
“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell
13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?
I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.
I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations.Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.
14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?
I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking.Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!
15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:
Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.
If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!
” What should we do tonight? ” Brian asked his wife Kate.
” I don’t know babe” Kate replied “Same thing we do every night after supper?”
“Nah, it’s such a nice night outside, lets go take Kreacher and Daisy for a walk. There getting fat. You give them too many table scraps.”
Brian and Kate embarked on a walk in the forest by their house. The dogs were running all over and chasing each other until they came upon a wealth of mysterious plants. Kreacher sniffed at one then snorted and walked away.
“What’s this?” remarked Kate, ” It’s growing all over. I’ve never seen it before, and we’ve lived here ten years.”
“Huh” Brian said and began to finger one of the plants. But when he looked up both the dogs and Kate had collapsed on the forest floor where they breathed deeply in sleep. Brian yawned, and fought the wave of lethargy overtaking his body before he too slept.
A passing sorcerer smiled darkly at the sleeping bodies. Didn’t they understand, they had crossed into her backyard –an enchanted forest. Any human or beast who smelled her favourite flowers fell into a sleep like death. No telling, who or what would wake them. Certainly, not her.
My most treasured possession passed away last March. Her name was Nikki and she was my favorite dog ever. I wrote a few blog posts on her passing as she was becoming sick and when she was gone so I will just put the links in for you to read:
And I guess other than that I would like to note I love lots of things that are actual things. I like to be comfortable and I like to beautify myself and my home. But if it came down to it I could with great sorrow leave everything because God and people (and sometimes pets) are the most important things in my life. They are not possessions but living entities and for this fact all the more valuable to me.
Thanks so much for all your comments and wonderful writing!
All around my house are wild cats. Cats with bushy tangled fur and some with one eyelid completely closed and covering their one eye. They come in all shapes and sizes, all colors of fur – tawny, black, grey, blond, mixed – , and they all have kittens throughout the year. Now this is not a problem when the weather is warm and sunny like today. The cats and their kittens hide in the bushes, strut about ours and our neighbors yards mingling with the domestic cats with collars. They play and hunt for mice running occasionally from my dog who will never catch them. When our cat infestation does present a problem is when the weather turns cold.
Coyotes start to pick off the smaller cats. Once healthy and fat cats become so thin you can see their ribs. Worst of all cat mothers who do not mother their kittens well enough leave us humans to peel their kittens from the frozen ground. I was particularly horrified to find one such kitten this past winter. So thin and so cold I could feel his tail unstick from our patio as I picked him up. We brought the kitten inside fed him milk from a dropper and watched him just try to stay warm, watched him be grateful to be inside a nice room temperature kitchen. We took this kitten to the Humane Society but I do not think he made it.
This is when wild cats running around becomes a problem. When they run around leaving their poor dying young to fend for themselves, because they have kittens in fall and winter, and when they use the neighbour’s flower beds as bathrooms. For this reason, our neighbour Linda started to take kittens and sometimes their mother’s into a place who will adopt these kitten’s out. The city will not do anything about the plague of cats so we are left to take care of them. Linda waits until the kittens are old enough to be weaned off their mother, then they go hopefully to their happily forever homes. If you have a similar problem in your neighborhood you can contact the Edmonton Humane Society and take kitten’s there as my dad and I have done: http://www.edmontonhumanesociety.com at 780.471.1774 or you can research on the Internet places such as my neighbour Linda goes, to take wild pets and have them adopted out.