Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Writing the Book of Will


There is a divine snow falling gently onto the bare branches of the black ash tree outside the picture window as I sit writing about Will.  It’s a comfortable setting.  Comfortable and cozy.  A candle with a pine scent flickers nearby.  Steam rises and gracefully swirls upward from a mug holding cinnamon tea. 

On the couch, I can hear the low murmuring of Atticus’s snoring.  It’s apropos accompaniment for Handel’s “Water Music” which provides the melody for the song I’m typing.    

There is an ease in this open room, which is bright even when dark clouds gather overhead.  Our senses are alive and memory and emotion come together to the extent that I half expect to see Will waking up in his dog bed, letting his eyes cast about the space until he finds me.  I imagine him lying there for a little while, and then getting out from under his hand-made blanket knitted with kindness, taking a loud drink of water, and then making his way over until he reaches my side and looks up at me with his big eyes and long lashes.  

That’s one of the joys of writing.  Words breathe so much more than just life into a subject and once they are written, polished, and set firmly in place, they can live forever.  

Many have asked about Will’s story in book form.  It’s being written now and I’m about halfway through it.  But here’s the thing – it’s not just Will’s story.  It is also the story of the mountains and rivers, the bears and moose, the butterflies, chipmunks, wildflowers, the blue skies and white clouds, the moon and stars,  and it's also the story of Atticus and me.  This is our story. 

Sometimes our role in life is to play the star.  On various occasions we can play supporting roles, or our main job is to bear witness.  And then there’s the ensemble that infuses everything within a story with love and adventure. 

So many talk about how much they miss Will.  I don’t.
  Our journey together has not ended yet.

I feel fortunate to be able to share his story with hundreds of thousands who will eventually read our book when it is ready.  For them he will just be coming to life and by the time they finish the last page, they may miss him as some of you do, but there is a very good chance their lives will be influenced by Will’s and being touched, they may change because of it.
       

26 comments:

Jack Daley said...

I look forward to it Tom. You how I felt about Will!!

Trish said...

Eagerly awaiting another great book by an outstanding writer!!

Rhonda Lowe said...

Looking forward to more or Will's life with you and Attius!

Pamela Hayes said...

I can hardly wait to enjoy what I may have missed! Thank you for sharing with us! 💙💚💛

Judy F said...

Look forward to this heartfilled story - Will has changed all who have followed his life with you!!

djean said...

So looking forward to reading this! 💖

Anonymous said...

Am glad it will include all aspects of your life with Will and Atticus, picking up where the first one left off. Still want to know about Paige ( have since I finished FA when it first came out). Please don't take too long, some of us are getting old. Thanks.

Donna Jean said...

Great things come to those who wait. I'm sure Will's story will touch many hearts and I'm looking forward to reading it as well. It was a privilege to hold him even for a little while. I've missed the blog and I'm glad you found a little time for this as well. Onward by all means!

Suzanne Farley said...

"And then there’s the ensemble that infuses everything within a story with love and adventure. " Thank you, Tom. Each time I read your passages, I am moved.

Pat McDiarmid said...

So look forward to reading this book, an inspiration to all
Pat McDiarmid
Bowmanville, ontario

cam6655 said...

Thank you for sharing your life.

Laura McNamara said...

Your words are like a visit from our friend Will. He changed my life and he's always, always present in my heart.

We'll be conjuring Will this May as we've dedicated our Oregon Humane Society Doggy Dash Team to him--we're called "Where There's a Will, There's a Way." We'll be raising money for the animals at the Oregon Humane Society and sharing his story.

Thank you for writing this book. I would like to visit with him in that space.

With love and gratitude, Laura

Ann gately said...

Patiently waiting for your next book. I so enjoy reading your words. As I read I can almost hear your voice telling the story to me.

colodreamer said...

I am sure to love the next book as much as I did the first one. Thanks for sharing your amazing story with me.

Dana Dewhitt said...

....joys of writing....love this paragraph. Going to book store so I can follow you and Atticus.

K E said...

Will, through your experiences with him, as with Atticus, will ALWAYS be with us, and they will live on, as will you.
Thank you for providing the voice for the influences that make our lives fuller, richer, more true.
The creativity your pups have helped to muster in you is a joy.

Sarah said...

Thanks for posting here Tom! I don't always check Facebook but have your blog icon on my iPad so I'm so glad you caught us up on your writing of Will! I also have some short stories about my beloved shih tzu who departed 11/16/14, and I love going back to read them. Looking forward to your second book and more posts on your blog!!

Hugs to you and Atti,

Sarah

Jeanne Haley said...

Just take your time and savor every moment and we all will be waiting in the wings!!

Carter W Rae said...

Such a beautiful relationship and we get to share it with you Tom ! Many of us are actually feeling this time as you write. Some of us were really privileged to be with you and Atticus right along almost from the beginning... I have always said that, not really being a writer but knowing a special story when I see it, that you have been a courier for this unique story.. We all look forward to seeing the book when it is ready.. As always Tom the choicest blessings to you and your little pal there from the many. many Followers out here !! Stacy & Carter

Ginny McVarish said...

I feel as though it is a special gift to be ale to read in your blog about you and Atticus and Will in the meantime -- or actually anytime.

Mary Kay Moore said...

I can't wait! I'm sure the time you are spending writing it will make it that much more special!
Mary Kay Moore

Cara said...

Eagerly waiting Will's story. The day the Universe crossed your paths became one of joy for so many of us, and for generations to come. What a treasure, your story of life with Atticus and Will. There's a spot cleared on my bookshelf already.

Anonymous said...

Hello Tom,

I'm a new commenter and first I'd like to say that I'm
glad all is well with you & Atticus. Not on Facebook, I've been checking your blog every few days & was
worried. It's so good to know that you have been busy all the while doing what you do so well.

Best to you and Atticus!
jd

Donna said...

I just finished your fabulous book. It was of particular interest to me because I live in Massachusetts and grew up in New Hampshire. I do have a question, though. Are you still in touch with Paige? How is she doing?

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Mooseinthewoods said...

From the Adirondacks, a dog lover who lost my 2 "boys" in 2014, 2015. I loved your book, buying copies to pass on to friends and relatives. Look forward to hearing Will's story!