I have been writing about animals and living with them for 15 years on Bedlam Farm, my farm in upstate New York. Every day I have been studying how to communicate with them - dogs, donkeys, goats, cows, barn cats, chickens and sheep. I have written nine books about animals from my farm.
As the author and naturalist Henry Beston has written, "we need another and a wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals." I agree, we are so busy emotionalizing animals we have not taken the time to learn what they are telling us. Animals are not our children, they are not our brethren, they are a separate world unto their own. I need time and specific photographic equipment to pull all of my research, observations and many photographs into a book and e-book that will hopefully offer a new kind of language for communicating with animals, one that incorporates body language, emotion, food, reinforcement and tradition and deep and active listening. In our world, we are emotionalizing and personifying animals rather than learning how to talk to them.
I have explored these subjects in my life and books and I want to gather my knowledge and experience together to break some new ground that will be helpful to anyone who lives with an animal, pet or livestock. I believe I can help move towards a new language, a new way of talking to animals and listening to them. They don't have words, it is a different kind of language. While the pledge period is short and finite, I will need between six months and one hear to complete "Talking To Animals," a book to be published in book and e-book format. I expect to have a commercial publisher to work with me, and as I do on my blog, www.bedlamfarm.com, I see this work as a collaboration between my readers and contributors and myself, that is what interactivity means, that is why I have come to Kickstarter.www.bedlamfarm.com
Risks and challenges
First, I need time to focus on this project, always challenging in our distracted world. This would be my 26th book
Secondly, I need sophisticated photographic equipment to capture the emotions, eyes and details of animals, always difficult in the face of weather, movement, changes in light. Animals do not pose naturally, I need to acclimate them to my camera and proximity, have lenses strong enough to photograph them from a distance, fast enough to capture their eye movements and expressions.
I need a camera sophisticated and powerful enough to capture moving images in great detail in unpredictable light. These images are as integral a part of the project as are the words I will use. Animals communicate by emotions and instincts and movements, and I will describe those in detail and support them in images. I do not have the equipment necessary to do that at this point.
Creatively, the greatest challenge is putting aside my words and emotions and language and working to construct a language that works for animals and human beings. I am confident about it, but it is the single most daunting task I have undertaken. I am excited about a truly interactive project like this, it helps define the new relationship between writers and readers. And hopefully, this will offer meaningful insight to animal lovers.
- (29 days)