Thursday, August 10, 2017


I apologize for an extended absence from the blog. Such busy days! Fourteen turtles to care for and work with, plus writing, events to participate in and attend, and, of course, all the things we all have to do to live in a home. There is much to catch up on, and (hint, hint) more good news is expected to land on my doorstep this week. Watch for announcements in Facebook (Rosemary Lombard—a public site), Twitter (@tortoogal), and here.

 TV Interview on “The Writing Life”

Last week, host Stephen W Long interviewed me on his television series, “The Writing Life,” now on YouTube ( ). It was great fun! Most of Stephen’s questions were about turtles, particularly the Chelonian Connection turtles and some of our surprises in the first years of exploring their potential. Writing about them for years in daily behavioral accounts prepared me for my public writing life. Toward the end of the program I read from my chapbook, Turtles All the Way: Poems.

Shotpouch Residency
In May, I spent a refreshing two-plus days—about as long as I care to be away from the lab—at my fourth residency at Shotpouch Cabin in the Coast Range west of Corvallis, at a lovely, forested site run by Oregon State U’s Spring Creek Project. The Project’s goal, which I affirm with enthusiasm, is to “bring together the practical wisdom of the environmental sciences, the clarity of philosophical analysis, and the creative, expressive power of the written word, to find new ways to understand and re-imagine our relation to the natural world. “ Again, my collaborator was one of the turtles from the cognition lab, this time Jo, one of Diode’s daughters, now 27 years old. We wrote and drew. Jo has been drawing since 2008. (See post on “art.”)

Jo, sitting on my hand, slid her beak over the paper mounted on the window, stretching her neck and sometimes rotating it for the curved lines. For lines longer than she could otherwise reach, she pushed against the paper with her feet. I memorized one stroke at a time and drew it with a marker. We call this drawing "Turquoise Plants."
Here Jo illustrates the structure of the forest: the creek, bank, shrubs, elevation, types of trees, and mountains.
Joe's third picture represents herself and me in our respective hats--hers imaginary, mine my usual sunhat. I appear to be climbing up the trail on one of our hikes, normally with Jo steering in my hand.

Writing Craft for Animal Advocacy
Much thought and time went into an extended essay, “A Case for More Reality in Writing for Animals.” written from a biologist’s standpoint on that aspect of writing for the benefit of animals. It will appear in a book that publisher Ashland Creek Press calls (for now) Writing for Animals: An anthology for writers and instructors to educate and inspire."Writing for animals" is intended in the sense of "for the benefit" of animals. The project also included arranging for permissions and recommending and annotating resources for the back matter of the book.


Upcoming Events


Watch for the book launch and other readings coming up, too. Dates and venues tba.

September 16–17, 2017. Book fair, panel, and presentations. My panel, on prewriting and research, is Saturday the 16th at 11 a.m., Main Library, Hillsboro, Oregon. Free. Turtles All the Way: Poems is expected to be available for purchase.

October 1, 2017. Reading from Turtles All the Way: Poems at poet Penelope Scambly Schott’s White Dog Salon, Portland. Other readers: John Miller, Diane Colson, Bruce Parker. Contact me for an invitation. (

February 14, 2018. Turtle program 3 for the younger set. North Plains Library, North Plains, Oregon



  2. Before Christmas I had a number of local book fair and signing events for Turtles All the Way--Oregon Writers Colony, Hillsboro Main Library, Hillsboro Community Senior Center gift shop, Oregon Historical Society Book Fair . . . NEXT EVENT is a reading on February 7 at 7:00: stories and poems about animals and the natural world with biologist/author Tom Titus, University of Oregon, at the great PLONK reading series, Corkscrew Wine Shop on SW Bybee at Milwaukie AV, Portland, OR. Free.