Norwich Christian writer publishes poetry on dogs
Gail Halley has captured her admiration of God in a poetry book about dogs. She explains what motivated her to do it.
Why do you want to bring God into a book about dogs? Well, why not? I ask. The life of the believer is not divided into compartments, some of which are to do with God and some not. God is either in the whole of our lives or in none of it.
CS Lewis once said: “What we need is not more Christian books, but more books written by Christians.”
A Little Book of Doggerel is a book of largely light-hearted poems about dogs beautifully illustrated by Christian artist Sue McLeod, who lives in Shropshire. I met Sue when we were both working in Jerusalem 40 years ago, and we have stayed in touch since. We both returned to the UK, but neither of us ever dreamt we would be collaborating on this project after so many years.
I was once on a workshop for Christian writers and talked to the leader about the fact that my subject didn’t seem very ‘spiritual’, particularly when compared with the efforts of most of the other participants. However, he was very encouraging and basically said: “If that is what you are drawn to do and it keeps on coming, then go for it.” Dogs are, after all, a wonderful part of God’s wonderful creation.
So I persevered with the poems although I knew they would be nothing without illustrations. I didn’t ask Sue, on the basis that although she was a good friend, she was also a professional whose illustrations could command considerably more money than was available.
However, just as I was giving up on the idea, in the middle of a telephone conversation one day, Sue – with great humility – said: “I know someone who would illustrate your poems.” “Really? Who?” “Me. If you’d like …” “If I’d like … what a gift!”
And so it went on from there, and then – as the icing on the cake – Sue and Mike’s daughter Jane, herself a poet, had also gone into publishing and offered to publish the book. After that we were away, with a constant flow of words and illustrations being emailed between Shropshire, Norwich and Bath (where Jane lives).
The books, beautifully printed by Hollingers, are available either online from www.positivepoetry.org or by contacting me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can watch the launch video, including readings by Gail and Adam Jackson, here.
Editor’s note: Gail Halley has contributed to the Christian community in a wide range of roles – overseas at Christ Church in Jerusalem and with the Billy Graham Association evangelist training centre in Amsterdam, locally with Norwich Street Partnership, prayer for the persecuted Church, as a church warden at St Stephens and currently as chair of trustees at The Light House in Norwich.
Pictured above is Gail Halley and, below, one of the illustrations.