In Of Dogs & Dissertations: Notes on Writing & Life, Ardra Cole weaves together two important ideas: 1) writing and researching are creative acts of self-understanding; 2) dogs help us construct who we are and what it means to be human. She does so with the assistance andcompany of the three dogs with whom she shares her life and love.
Dogs embody qualities that are lessons to writers (and non-writers alike): humility, nose-to-the-ground discipline, presence, attunement, honesty, patience, humour,dignity, dogged persistence, a basic wisdom about the need for physical, emotional, and intellectual balance, and, of course love, to name but a few. Of Dogs & Dissertations: Notes on Writing & Life is a pocket-sized companion to emerging writers, creative researchers, and all those who know and love dogs. Tucked into a pocket, knapsack, or briefcase it is ready to be picked up and read while waiting for the bus or standing in line at a coffee shop or ticket booth. Lying on a bedside table, desk, or near the kitchen stove it is ready to accompany morning coffee or provide a respite from the computer screen or stirring risotto. Read it to yourself or to a friend. Read it for inspiration or for pleasure or for both. It is intended to make you smile. It is intended to make you think. Perhaps most of all it is intended to give paws (sorry) to reflect on the many ways that life and lives are enriched by the presence and company of dogs.
This book warms your heart, excites your imagination, and leads you to a deep connection within. Through a beautiful collection of vignettes about her dogs, Ardra gifts us with a mirror to help us understand ourselves in reflection. As a doctoral student writing my dissertation I often feel the need for the kind of quiet compassion only my dogs are wise enough to offer. Now I have a new faithful companion in this delicious book. I plan to take it with me everywhere I go, especially when I go into my heart.
Wan Fung Chang-Hamachi, visual artist, scholartist consultant, PhD student, Fielding Graduate University (with Shawldeah and the spirit of Katchileah)
Oh, to be able to write with the way a dog lives: with whole-hearted insouciance, authentic self-expression and tail-wagging grace! Of Dogs and Dissertations suggests how scholars may indeed learn to do so, offering a joyful, insightful and moving read. Seeing my own experiences reflected in these sensually rich and acutely observed pages, I put this lovely book down only to better enjoy a walk with my dog.
Kathleen Vaughan, visual artist and professor, Concordia University (with Baloo and the spirit of Auggie)