CHANGES are what we live with every day of our lives. Sometimes the changes are good and sometimes not. We manage to survive.
I’ve had a couple of changes recently. First—I finished my next Milan Jacovich novel. From the beginning I planned on titling it “Dead Money,” a racing term that goes with the plot and setting. But someone else has written a murder mystery set at a racetrack, too, it will be published (I think only as an Ebook) before mine, and HE is calling his book “Dead Money.” We don’t know each other personally, and I doubt he’s copied my work, as from what I’ve read our plots are dissimilar. HOWEVER, I’ve learned a lesson from this, and from now on, although I’ll talk openly about my work in progress, I won’t tell anyone the title of the book until shortly before it’s published. So everyone, please watch for what USED to be MY “Dead Money” this spring.
I went through another change, too, a much bigger one. It’s completely awakened me, so that I’m now living my truth. Last summer we watched the most extraordinary documentary film. It’s called “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home.” Produced by James LaVeck and directed by Jenny Stein, its many awards include BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY at the Moondance International Film Festival, THE BEST OF THE FEST AUDIENCE AWARD at the Berkshire International Film Festival, and the GRAND JURY PRIZE at the Canada International Film Festival, just to name a few.
Within 24 hours, Holly and I knew our lives would be forever transformed.
The film is an awakening of consciousness to include all living things in our circle of compassion—to connect the animals we love, like dogs and cats, to the animals we eat, cows, pigs, chickens, etc. James and Jenny take us on this incredible and gentle ride to help us open our eyes to the incredible darkness, pain and suffering that all farm animal, even the so-called small farm and happy farm, cage free or free range that animals are forced to experience. There are a few scenes from which you’d just as soon turn your head away—but this is a BEAUTIFUL and very moving film. Two of the main individuals—not actors, but incredibly sincere—are Howard Lyman, who was at one time one of the largest and most powerful cattle ranchers in America, and Harold Brown, who grew up on a cattle and dairy farm and ran it for some time.
They, like Holly and I, learned about the true meaning of the word “humane” and having respectful, compassionate consideration for all living individuals, and that we don’t have the right to dominate the more vulnerable, like children, minorities, women, and animals.
Animals are sentient, feeling, understanding, and quite intelligent creatures. They can give love, and adore receiving it. As animal activist Gary Yourofsky once stated (and I paraphrase his words), all living creatures have eyes to see, noses to smell, ears to hear, mouths to taste, genitals to reproduce, feet on which to stand. Why is it, then, that we choose
to believe they can’t THINK, they can’t experience emotions or fear, they feel nothing for the offspring they bear, they don’t feel pain, and they don’t seem to give a damn whether they’re slaughtered or not?
Every living thing, from a cockroach to a king, wants to LIVE, and does what he/she can to do so. Not farm animals, though, because they are given no chance whatsoever. And they are given no CHOICE, either.
Three of my novels ago (“The Cleveland Creep”) I introduced Milan Jacovich’s new sidekick, Kevin O’Bannion (K.O.). It won’t take readers long to learn he is an animal lover; he likes them even better than he likes people. I began writing about K.O. more than two years before I ever saw “Peaceable Kingdom,” and if you run into me on Facebook, I’m sure you know how much of an animal lover I am. But now this film shows us not just the pain of facing the pain and suffering behind what’s on our plates and on our backs, but the joy of “awakening” to the journey on which we’ve embarked.
Yes, Holly and I are both vegans. We’re not “pushing it” on anyone. Almost all my friends still eat meat and cheese and dairy, still wear wool and leather, and still ignore the truth of where all these products come from and what its costs are—and they’re still my friends. We don’t accept having religion or politics shoved down our throats, and we wouldn’t do that with something we believe in to anyone else. We are very spiritual, but not even a tiny bit religious—and we support our political beliefs at the ballot box. But I do want to share this with you, and suggest that you might enjoy watching “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home,” whether you continue eating cheeseburgers or not.
By the way, we changed our eating and living for ETHICAL (moral) reasons, but have discovered how much healthier we are on a vegan diet. I feel more terrific, physically, than I have in many years. I’m also happier.
That does NOT mean I’ll stop writing hardboiled mysteries, complete with killings and punch-outs and raunchy love affairs and sometimes language you might hear only in jail. After all, that’s what I do for a LIVING.