Writing: Carol's Dog Walkers project

 

Sample spread of Dog Walkers book by Carol RowlandsCarol's friends will know from her prolific output of emails, texts and letters that she was a vigorous and fluent writer, and gradually the idea formed in her mind of writing a book – taking as its theme her favourite subject, dogs. But it wouldn't be "just" a dog book, it would adopt a new slant, focusing instead on dog owners.

The result is striking and impressive. In place of the "stream of conscousness" approach of her correspondence, Carol adopted a confident, economical style, and came up with a vivid, witty, obsvervant and poignant work with a tone of voice all its own. It probably surpassed anything even she expected.

Her plan was to illustrate the book with her own drawings of dogs and their owners, and she produced a large quantity of these, abandoning her precise portrait technique in favour of a quirky cartoon style. Arguably, though, her prose evokes its own vivid pictures, and further illustration is hardly needed.

Carol's intention was to publish the book, aiming it at the "stocking filler" market. She never reached that point, though she did contact a few agents, but her family's plan is eventually to publish it in some form, perhaps through Amazon or similar.

Meanwhile, here on this site we are presenting a selection of chapters as samplers. They amount to just under half of the entire book. We are also uploading some readings Carol herself did of selected chapters (see below). Just try reading one or two of the extracts to yourself (see links in right-hand column). We defy you not to be touched.

 

This is how Carol herself summed up the book:

 

Synopsis

This is a dog book with a difference, in that it is really a people book. It looks at the way people reveal their character by the way they behave when taking their dog for a walk – how they project themselves into the world, interact and express themselves.

Their world is seen through the eyes of a narrator who herself has a dog, and who is successively charmed, entertained, irritated, bored, bemused and moved by the world in microscosm that she meets on her walks.

It presents fellow-walkers in a series of 30 short, unconnected chapters or vignettes (around 600 words each), most of which focus on one particular walker's trait or foible.

Whilst it is possible to "dip in" without reading the chapters through consecutively, the underlying aim has been gradually to build up an overall picture of a world many readers will recognise, but may not have seen before in quite this way.

 

 

Selected readings by Carol
  • A spray of blue petals
  • Eyes in the back of my head
  • Hazel
  • Up to her full height
  • Ongoing troubles on the M25

 

Now playing: A spray of blue petals

 

 

 

 

 

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