The title of this collection of reminiscences is “Sunshine, Bunnies, and Decapitated Turtles”. It was suggested to me by Jake Holmes, a nephew of my brother’s fiancé. I had just regaled him with some choice family stories, and had apologized for doing so, and had told him about my means of relieving my wife’s mental pain, and he told me that if I wrote a book about all this it should be called “Sunshine, Puppies and Decapitated Turtles”. That title had a certain ring to it, and pretty much captured the range of my experiences. I’ve decided to change “puppies” to “bunnies” as I never had a puppy as a boy and bunnies figure into a few of my tales. I am fond of turtles and have never willingly harmed one, but I saw one lose its head. My brother reports that he saw others executed. My sister’s nickname was “Turtle”, coincidentally, but the giving of that had nothing do with aquatic reptiles, but everything to do with her lack of foot speed.
The stories in this book fall under “sunshine” experiences of hope, love and beauty, “bunny” experiences of softness, warmth, and satisfaction, and “decapitated turtle” experiences of slow and sudden shock and dismay. Some of my experiences fall in between these divisions, of course, but I can’t think of totem creatures symbolizing tedium and depression. I think that the sloth of despair is already taken.
My fortunate and unfortunate tales aren’t arranged, however, into separate categories or chronologically. I prefer to leave them mixed together. I’ve had a few periods in my life where I was predominantly peaceful and content, or persistently horrified and afraid of the immediate future, but for the most part it’s been a mixed bag. I believe that most people spend their time wrestling with a sticky jumble of good and bad circumstances, and that much of the confusion and strain of life comes from enduring the inconsistent signals that the gods keep sending us. I want this collection to reflect the contradictions that I have experienced.