Tickling the Bear: How to Stay Safe in the Universe by David Wann
Category: Adult Fiction 18+, 279 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction; Release date: May 2021
Publisher: Chokecherry Press, Golden, Colorado
Tour dates: January 4 to January 17
Content Rating: PG13 + M: There's no offensive material but there is a tasteful, semi-comic sex scene and scene in which characters experience MDMA, a mild hallucinogenic.
Anthropology professor Marc Blake is on a “hero’s journey.” His challenge is to overcome a troubling medical diagnosis –a virus from a tick bite. Along the way he shares his deepest thoughts as the reader follows his courageous efforts to survive. May, an attractive Danish woman, also endures setbacks with resilience, gradually coming center stage in the story. Her husband Kai has a passion for growing herbs and healthy vegetables, marveling how gardening provides a sense of purpose, good health, direct contact with nature, and companionship. Marc’s niece, a natural beauty and ex-model, offers readers a comical, on-again, off-again romantic episode with a Silicon Valley genius she fears might outshine her. Will she prove to be his equal?
Quirky humor injects both lightness and conflict into a 30-year marriage. A six-year old’s “best summer ever” is a reminder that life’s an absolute miracle. Collectively this extended family contests a widespread belief that life is happening to us - that we are passive consumers. On the contrary, each character in this upbeat book is actively self-guided, perfecting their passions and offering generous support to family and friends.
Though author David Wann has previously written non-fiction books about sensible, sustainable lifestyles, in his first-novel these themes are woven right into a compelling story. “Our lives don’t look much different than most Americans,” the characters might say. “Really, we are not ‘doing without,’ more like doing within.” Kai enjoys investing in regional businesses, and also loves to travel effortlessly on Denver’s bike paths. Meatless Mondays or grilled-salmon Sundays are a great way for the outgoing May to bring friends together for active conversation. Each character would insist that kindness and gratitude are encoded in our genes and are far more powerful than anger. In a world that’s currently so full of disruption and confusion, they offer both a sense of direction and grounded hope.
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HOW TO BE A WRITER, IF YOU’RE STUBBORN ENOUGH
Okay, maybe I was secretly a little smug off and on since high school for knowing what I wanted to be: a writer. I know better now. It seemed so effortless even back in second grade when I crayoned a story about how the skunk got its stripes. (My classmates loved the plot line, about a broken bowl of whipped cream, of course, and a very stinky skunk.).
For the next ten school years I breathed a sigh of relief whenever the final exam was an essay question! I had no trouble assembling reports about Herbert Hoover or how a sticky blob of goo becomes a butterfly. But truthfully, the further I'd come from second grade glory, the less naïve I was about actually making a living with words. My father asked bluntly why I wanted to be poor and my mother suggested that I look for less-risky work in a publishing house. However, ha! When I scored a ninety-eight percentile in verbal skills on an SAT exam, I had evidence that the batteries powering my intuition were charged.
Additional validation came on scribbled postcards from two personal heroes: Wendell Berry and Edward Abbey. Berry gave me the go-ahead based on my typewritten samples, although he cautioned that he couldn’t find a publisher for his new book, so don’t expect a hometown parade. Abbey helped fledge my writing career with fiery advice: REJECT THE REJECTERS! Through tedious grant applications and exhaustive searches for publishers, my ethereal bro Ed was there for me. When submissions came back with form-letter rejections or published articles were chopped like celery, he was there. One piece was an early flag (1990) on climate change, which a sarcastic editor titled, “Chicken Little Says Sky is Falling.”
Pipe-smoking author J.B. Priestly, who fathered a family of books, observed that writing resembles a mental pregnancy followed by a difficult delivery. While I can claim an occasional brilliant thought, I usually fail to jot it down (miscarriage!) Or I assume, incorrectly, that the brilliance will continue to flow like a fountain of images and metaphors. (Difficult delivery). Then there’s the procrastination - a bittersweet habit carrying the burdens of anxiety, talent-squandered, and regret that you didn’t push harder.
May Hansen, a fetching figment of my imagination, has some fictitious advice in Tickling the Bear. She jokes to her boyfriend Marc, “When I haven’t worked on a story or chapter for a few days, I can imagine my poor characters pacing back and forth impatiently, looking at their watches, asking each other, ‘Where the hell is she? What are we supposed to do NOW?” Her facial expressions are so animated, so very cute that Marc wants to kiss the expressions formed by that pretty mouth. He's intrigued by another of her metaphors: writing a novel is like launching a space probe to Jupiter; there’s no way of knowing if it will successfully go into orbit when and if it arrives, years later. “But I do know one thing: the mission damn sure won't succeed unless you launch it.”
From Tickling the Bear, How to Stay Safe in the Universe.
Meet the Author:
David Wann has been a self-acknowledged author since second grade. He's written hundreds of articles and columns; ten books - one a best seller; and produced five TV documentaries viewed by 20 million. He's lived in a cooperative neighborhood (cohousing) for 26 years where he has been the organic gardener for 27 households. He's an amateur musician and the proud father of two. His greatest ambition is to make a difference in a world that urgently requires "all hands on deck." His books include Affluenza; Biologic; Superbia; Simple Prosperity; The Zen of Gardening; The New Normal, Reinventing Community and others.
connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads
Here is the tour schedule.
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