Once upon a time I started telling stories about my runs because I thought that humans worried too much and made things more complicated than they needed to be. I wanted to remind them that running is just a fun way to explore the world and hang out with the running buddy you love. But the more I wrote, the more I realized how confused humans are, and how running could teach them about lots of things. And I’ll be honest, I was also proud of how much the ladies loved the pictures of my butt.
I’ve been writing about running, and then hiking and adventuring for almost 4 years now, and over the years some of my fans kept asking me to put my adventures together in a book. I asked Mom about it, but when she told me all the work it would take and the time that it would take away from adventuring, I agreed with her that I would rather be playing outside. And anyhow, where to start? And an even tougher question: how the heck do you finish?
As our adventures grew, and I shared the stories, no adventure ever felt like an ending. There were always more things we wanted to see, and something else to look forward to. Plus, there is the disturbing tradition that a story can’t end until the dog dies, and I definitely didn’t want to write that story.
But then, a few years ago, Mom was having a tough time. She seemed confused about the things that most humans know about instinctually, like work, and money, and houses, and time. Dogs don’t understand those things, so Mom and I went on a quest to discover the answers together. When we got home from the quest, we had learned a lot about the world and what we didn’t want from it, but Mom was still confused. You can’t end a story just as confused as you were when you started, so it seemed like we would never have to stop running and write my book.
Finally, almost a year after Mom got lost, she got hurt and couldn’t run. Suddenly we had more time, and I also started to notice that we had found the answers to some of Mom’s questions while we weren’t looking. Maybe now was the time to turn some of my adventures into one long story with a book. The book that we’re releasing today is a story about adventure, but it’s also a story about Mom’s questions, and what we found when we looked for their answers.
The book turned out to be even more work than I imagined, and it felt like we would be working on it forever. Mom said we could work on it forever, but eventually we just had to release it to my fans. Just like answering life’s questions, you’re never quite finished. You will find, if you look closely, that there are still little problems, and things that need to be fixed. Mom says that’s because no one is at their best without help, and dogs are great life coaches but lousy proofreaders. I reminded her that my fans are the most lovely and understanding group of people on the planet, and I’d spent the last 4 years telling them about all of her imperfections, so they would understand what I meant, even if she hadn’t gotten everything quite right yet. I think that writing is a little bit like running in that way, you do it over and over, trying to put together the perfect result, but when you cross the finish line, you can always think of something you want to do better next time.
It has also been fun for us to return to our adventures from the past year and relive them over and over again, trying to find the perfect words to tell you what it was like. Each time we’ve relived those adventures, I’ve been a little older and a little wiser. In the difference between the Oscar that first wrote it, and the Oscar that read it again, there is still more to learn. If you’ve read these stories before, I hope that you too get something different out of them each time you read them.
So, without further ado…
Here is the link to buy The West: One Dog’s Journey of Discovery and Adventure
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