Sunday, January 24, 2010

my email address + want input from readers about new book

Hi! I see that Fran was trying to find an email address so she could send something to me, so here it is:

PLEASE be patient with me, however. I am so slammed that it takes FOREVER for me to get to my email! I thought that once you wrote the book, you were pretty much done other than going on speaking engagements (which I LOVE to do), but there's a lot of other "homework", all of it fun of course. Just about the time I start thinking I'm out of books to read, I'll get a book in the mail to read that hasn't been released yet, with the idea being that if I like it I could critique it or recommend it. That's a blast, because they're all animal books!

There was one in particular that I read and then could NOT find it after that! I couldn't find the letter saying where to send the recommendation either! It's a shame, because it was a GREAT book. I thought it would be morbid but it wasn't. It was about a doctor at a nursing home who begins to realize that one of the resident cats knows when someone is dying and gets into bed with them and stays with them for about a week until they have died. At first, he's very sceptical, which anyone would be, but he decides to study the matter. He goes back and interviews families of people who have already died and finds that the presence of the cat is a great comfort. Eventually, he depends upon the CAT to tell him when someone is really going to die, and it informs him that it's time to call the relatives and say, "this is it." with much greater authority than he would be able to as a physician. The cat can tell, even when he can't.

Of course, people who are dying do give off keytones, a type of chemical that's a byproduct of breakdown of certain organs, so perhaps the cat can tell that way, but who cares, really, how the cat can tell? This cat is such a huge comfort to the patients and their families.

It's a great book. It's out now, I think, and I highly recommend it and regret that I lost the chance to say so on the back of the book itself.


If you're reading this, I figure you are one of my core readers. Stephen King calls faithful readers the "Constant Reader". You can learn a LOT from your Constant Reader and I am asking for input from you about what you would like to know more about in the second book. The second book won't be just about Wesley - I already told his story, pretty much. But I did have some people say they'd like to see more of me interpreting what Wesley was saying, and there will be some about Wesley in the second book, of course! A few more stories about things that happened and things he did... Some people have said they'd like to see more about life at Caltech and some of the iconoclastic people I've had the privilege of knowing, such as the Black Widow Spider guy (By the way, his wife contacted me and we're back in touch. He's a great guy! And he was right - they are kinda cute when they're little and scrunchy looking, and they are beautiful in an elegant and sleek way as adults if you can put aside the fact that they're poisonous and just look at them artistically...).

What else would you want to read more about? It can be ANYTHING you're curious about or want me to write more about. Please respond in the comments section of the blog. I get really bogged down in my email so it's probably easier for me to read about it in the comments section if you have something to suggest. Nothing is silly or stupid! As scientists often say, "There is no such thing as a stupid question."

Also, I wanted to let you know that the plushie "Baby Wesley" collectibles are starting to run low, and this first run is clearly marked as the first run because the manufacturer spelled my name wrong on the little white tag that's attached to the stuffed animal! haha. So I'll always know which were the first "Wesley babies"..

You can get them at the website. I sleep with mine - it REALLY looks JUST like Wesley in his picture on the cover of the book (the American version, anyway) - when he was about 5 weeks old. Wendy designed him, and she's an award winning, professional artist and soft sculpturist who does the most AMAZING animal soft sculptures. She caught his personality in her design, which is her particular genius.

In fact, speaking of Wendy, have any of you heard of or seen this video going around the internet called "GoD and DoG"? That's Wendy singing and her drawing. It was just one of many of Wendy's little projects. She wakes up in the morning with her head full of tons of creative ideas in all kinds of different areas - art, video, sculpture, music, writing, animal husbandry...I've known her for at least 35 years and she's always been like that. She has always made her living entirely from her art and music! Imagine that! Her mother also makes her living as a fine artist (Oil painter).

Anyway, that "GoD and DoG" video on YouTube has over 2 million hits and she's got a book deal in progress for it! So exciting!

She also breeds Ragdoll cats, Colorado Mountain Dogs, Friesian, Andalusian, and Warlander horses. Gee, have I forgotten anything? Also, if you go to ebay and look for WJF you'll find her store w/ lots of soft sculptures for sale.

And, speaking of stuff for sale, you can get Wesley the Owl stuff at Cafe Press, like tote bags. My favorite thing is the wooden jewelry box w/ Wesley's pic on the top on a tile. The trees outside are in the background and it's just his face.

I sound like a commercial. I'm not trying to get you to buy stuff - I just thought you might be interested to see more of what Wendy does or see what I've been up to with making Wesley things. It comforts me to have a Wesley animal, actually, and to have things w/ his picture on them. Anyone can do that kind of thing with a picture of their animal.

One thing I haven't done but I want to, is to have a throw made from Wesley's picture. I think it's PetCo that does this, or maybe it's PetSmart. But you can buy this kit for about 100 bucks and it has everything you need to send in a picture and have it made into a woven throw blanket with that picture woven into it. They do it all by computer. NEAT!

Even with Fiona, my puppy, and all my hamsters, I am still sometime almost overcome with grief and missing Wesley. All this helps a lot. Remembering him, talking about him, making things w/ his picture on them...

One thing that's really hard, still, is hearing recordings of his voice. But I'm sure glad I did record his voice!

Well, this was rambly, but it's what's been on my mind. Thank you all for your good wishes for Kissy and the male who were loose for 2 weeks. It's amazing, but Kissy is not pregnant. They both seem greatly relieved to be back in their "safe spot" again.


la isla d'lisa said...

If I have the right one, from Providence, RI, then you're thinking of Oscar, who lives at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Dr. David Dosa wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine (

Fran said...

Hi Stacey, I'm looking forward to read your new book.
You ask us about what you should write. I'm sure there's still a lot to tell because I now experience (since Pipke her story is finished) that I forgot to tell things.
In fact, I wonder how Wesley behaved during the time that you were in the hospital. Wasn't he angry at you because you left him.
I still want to tell you Stacey: the fact that you wrote about how Wesley mated with you, made me less reserved to talk about how I mated with Pipke! If I had not read your book then I would not have talked about it.
You say that are still sometimes overcome with grief. That's also the same with me Stacey. I still count the days, the weeks since Pipke died. And yes, it comforts us when we can talk about our little critters. Therefore Stacey: start on your new book, relive every moment you had with Wess, let him live further in your memory, while you write it down on paper! I'm sure that your second book will be as good as your first!
Take care!
Big hug

Bonnie said...

Hi Stacey!

I would love to hear what a barn owl sounds like, especially the "deet deet!" but there aren't any videos on youtube (except for clicking and screeching). I imagine the recordings of Wesley are very personal to you, but would you or have you put any recordings online? Or do you know where one could hear barn owl recordings?

After reading your book, I changed my major from boring to biology! Learning about Wesley's behavior and barn owls in general was fascinating! Your book was so inspiring and I am so grateful to have gained a little insight into the life of a biologist.

Abby said...

I just finished the book and loved it. I have been reading it while nursing my seven month old baby. I would love to share Wesley with him. Have you considered writing a children's book about Wesley. Or maybe even two? One for young children and one for older ones with owl facts, etc. Good luck with your second book!

Sue said...

Hi Stacey,

I just finished reading your book and I was so amazed! I've loved birds, and owls in particular, since I was a kid. I learned so much and really enjoyed your witty writing style. I got quite a few looks as I laughed out loud at my local coffee shop.

Mainly, I just wanted to tell you that you are a beautiful person. Thank you for taking on the HUGE responsibility of caring for a wild owl and not giving up on him when times got rough. I'm tearing up right now as I think about your lovely story and your beautiful, precious Wesley.

I'd also like to recommend a book to you that I recently finished titled: "The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - And Why They Matter" by Marc Bekoff. He's amazing. I wouldn't be surprised if you've already read it, but if not, and you have time in your crazy schedule, I highly recommend it.

Are you still doing speaking engagements? If so, do you have a schedule published somewhere? I'd love to come hear you speak and meet you in person. Yours is a hand I'd like to shake.

I hope that you are well.

ARJ said...

It may be too sensitive or emotional, but I imagine everyone would like to hear more details about how Wesley interacted with you during your own health crisis and helped pull you through that.