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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One of My Favorite Stories Ever Is Now Available, and Real-Life Rhinos

I'm so excited, everyone! Probably the most fun story I ever wrote is now available for purchase in a great 'zine from Australia! That's right, the epic "Rhinoceros Dreams" is now out there for public consumption!

Follow this link to Issue 4 (September 2010) for a sample of two of the stories in the issue (one is "Rhinoceros Dreams") and to purchase: This Mutant Life. Yet again, they've saved the best for last. A direct link to the preview is at the left of this page, in my publications page.

This Mutant Life is a great little 'zine, dedicated to the promotion of stories the editor really believes in. People who like comics might especially appreciate its offerings.

"Rhinoceros Dreams" came to me out of nowhere. I was sitting at a table, possibly waiting for something, and feeling the bridge of my nose, when the first line appeared, fully formed. The rest of the story flowed naturally from there. It's the story of a woman who feels she has nothing in common with anyone, alone to the core. The only thing connecting her to the real world is her overwhelming love of rhinoceroses. When she finds someone with an equally enormous obsession, she's found the most contentment she possibly can in this world. Or is there something more?

I had several versions of the ending. I wasn't sure whether Allie should obtain and keep her heart's desire. Would she be willing to give up on love of a man for this bigger love? Did she have responsibilities in the world of humans? Was she meant to follow this path, or was she just a silly girl? It wasn't easy to decide. Let me know if you think I made the right choice.

Writing the story led me down the path of true appreciation for rhinoceroses. Who can deny the grandeur, the mystical presence of modern-day unicorns, rhinoceroses?

Poachers can. Unconscious, completely unable to empathize, people invade rhinoceros territory in Africa, India, Sumatra and Java every day, using increasingly sophisticated technology, to kill beautiful creatures indiscriminately for their horns. They kill pregnant cows and they kill mothers, leaving their children to die a slow and sorrowful death.

The slaughter is absolutely senseless because of the ways in which the horns are used.

A highly desired traditional ingredient in Asian medicine, the horn is usually ground into powder. However, looking at it from a perspective of logic and reason, we see that rhino horns are made of keratin. Keratin can be obtained in many other ways without killing any creatures. Keratin also lacks any known medicinal value. It's just hair or fingernails! Why would anyone want to ingest this material? Please, people, stop the demand, devalue the supply. Poachers understand money. Take it away, and stop the senseless killing.

As for ornamental use, the horn loses all of its natural beauty when it is removed from the animal.

Current numbers:

Javan Rhinoceroses: 40 or fewer left in the world

Sumatran: 400

Indian: 2,400

Black: 4,000

White: 17,500

The white rhinoceros is threatened, all the others are critically endangered.

I missed world rhinoceros day on September 21st. Until next year, please go to STOP RHINO POACHING NOW to see if you can help. (Warning: contains graphic images of the results of rhino poaching.) And enjoy "Rhinoceros Dreams"!