After a two-day period of self-imposed isolation at home, an important landmark was reached on Saturday with respect to my first book, Animal Dharma.
Draft Two is finished!
Animal Dharma explores four key values in our relationship with animals, which are:
- Compassion, our motivation to helping animals
- Truth, our ethical relationship with animals
- Nonviolence, our values in the relationship we have with animals
- Interbeing (the interconnectedness of all), our commitment to social justice for animals
Animal Dharma is part memoir and personal self-reflection, as well as animal rights history and movement strategy. Animal Dharma is written with myself in mind. It is the book I wish I could have read when I was 19, when I became a vegetarian after working in a chicken slaughterhouse, and 21, when I became a vegan and campaigns organiser for Compassion In World Farming in 1976.
Of course, I could not write Animal Dharma without the experience I am fortunate to have had since then with the animal rights movement in the United Kingdom and United States. Nevertheless, writing a book is a long arduous process, consisting of a series of decisions, ranging from macro concepts, to where should that comma go in this sentence?
Draft Two consisted of completely rewriting the first. I am most fortunate in having a small group of readers who generously read the first draft, and some of the second, and shared their comments with me. I am in touch with them about the completed second draft, which I have also shared with another small group of readers. Of course, I have to wait for their feedback; however, my fingers are crossed that Draft Three will not be a major rewrite (like the second), but more along the lines of fiddling, adjusting and tackling anomalies and improving any confusing bits. The readers, who I will recognise in the book when it is published, have been marvellous. Indeed, there are many others whose thoughtfulness and kindness continue to help and inspire me along the way.
In fact, this project began in another form; but I suddenly realised one day that I was writing two books. I had to divide the manuscript in half and start again. The first became Animal Dharma, which I often refer to as Book One. Book Two, The Animal Rights Challenge, is already underway with writing and research. Hopefully, Book Two will be an easier project, having completed one, and its focus not being in the first person. To write about oneself well is more difficult than writing about others!
I can not say when Animal Dharma will be published; however, the completion of Draft Two makes that day not seem quite so far off after all.