In my book, Dancing in the Rain, the character of Brenna entertains the tourists on Grouse Mountain by hand feeding the whisky jacks, a bird commonly found on the mountain. I liked the idea, but had never actually done it myself. Yesterday I spotted a group of them in in the trees while snowshoeing on Mount Seymour . I put out my hand to see what would happen. Immediately a bird landed on it, looking for food. Because she was so friendly I shared my Cliff bar with her. Nothing makes me happier than being up close to wildlife.
… for what I believe.
These are the 2 facts that led me to a plant-based diet over twenty-five years ago.
1. More than half of the grain grown in the US is being fed to livestock rather than consumed by humans. The US could feed 800 million people with that grain.
2. It takes 4,000 gallons of water to support an omnivore diet per day compared to 300 gallons to support a plant based diet.
I knew that by giving up meat I alone couldn’t change the fact that millions of people around the world don’t have access to fresh water and food, but it felt like the right thing to do. Since then I’ve learned that meat-heavy diets create more climate change than all cars and planes combined and I’ve seen photos of the atrocities animals suffer because of our wide-spread practise of factory farming. My resolve to maintain a plant-based diet has only intensified.
I’ve signed a book contract for book #11! The working title is Lost Boy and I believe it is due out in 2018. Thank you Orca Book Publishers!
Lost Boy is a follow-up to my earlier book, Sister Wife, which dealt with a young girl living in a polygamist community. She was forced to marry a much older man who already had multiple wives.
Lost Boy tells the story of a boy who also grew up in that community and was forced to leave after it was revealed that he was having a secret and forbidden relationship with a girl (the main character in Sister Wife.) Boys like him are pressured to leave these communitites to reduce competition with the elder men for wives. They are dubbed the ‘Lost Boys’. Raised to distrust the outside world, when they finally run away or get pushed out they must learn to live in an unfamiliar society. They have little education and few skills. They believe they are beyond spiritual redemption.
Unfortunately, communities like my fictional one are still flourishing throughout North America. Here in BC stories of the polygamists in Bountiful are in the news today. In writing this book I set out to explore what life would be like for one ‘lost boy’.
He’s deaf, mostly blind and, (I hate to say it) he smells bad. Goopy-eyed and senile, he often barks incessantly for no apparent reason. He’s developed disgusting habits, like sniffing out cat poop for consumption, and he’s prone to accidents in the house. Tangle-ups with his retractable leash have caused three broken bones (mine, not his.) He’s the kind of aging dog that only those of us who have lived with him for sixteen years could love, but love him we do. This is our treasured Sir Winston.