The Ecology of Lonesomeness – what’s it all about?
When I came up with the idea of Lonesomeness, my wife, Maite, who is my biggest critic (seriously not just saying that), told me it was my best title so far.
I like all my titles, but I was glad she gave this the thumbs up.
For me, there are two ideas in Lonesomeness. The themes of the book. The first is that love can appear anywhere though it might seem we are destined to be always alone. We can find love even in our supposed enemies, people we should apparently run a mile from. To avoid Lonesomeness, we must embrace love everywhere it shows up, even if that leaves us open to hurt. If love is true, it can be transformative and overcome all obstacles, even to the extent of making people go against their better, baser, or most practiced instincts and inclinations.
The other side of Lonesomeness is that we need rewilding, even if we seem to think we don’t – or of others say we shouldn’t. We all need to get out in the woods alone, and find out who were are. If we can rediscover our inner selves away from all the noise (in all it’s senses) that surrounds us we and the world will be better off.
As an ecologist, I know the Loch Ness monster is ecologically impossible. But when we set a novel in the Great Glen, it’s impossible not to think about it, have characters think about it. If it weren’t just a myth, and there was a new species in there, I imagine that neither Kaleb in the story nor I in real life would say anything. Just like if I saw a boar in Ireland I’d keep schtum, Or a beaver, or a wolf.
I want rewilding – to bring back those wild animals to their former haunts – but I only understood that everyone else does too, or at least might have an unconscious need for such rewilding just to make their lives more exciting, when George Monbiot wrote about the tiger that was supposedly on the loose near Paris (http://www.monbiot.com/2014/11/14/cat-flap-in-paris/ ) after I’d already sent the second draft off to beta readers in November 2014.
Now I still wonder if all those who would love to see a mythical creature in the loch actually saw it, if they’d keep quiet, too.
It might be the only way to save it.
The idea that we had these large wild animals up to only such a short time ago is heartrending, really. To think that the auroch, which graces the walls of prehistoric caves like Altamira along with mammoths and giant Irish Elk, only became extinct a couple of hundred years ago, is just depressing, frankly. Ignorance is bliss, and believing it died out ten thousands years ago at the end of the ice age, like many of the other megafauna like cave bears and sabre-toothed cats – which is what I’d always presumed until very recently – was easier to swallow.
When I think about it, since the auroch is the ancestor of the cow, it couldn’t have gone with the woolly rhinoceros, since humans had only domesticated dogs at that time.
To know that Tarpan were let die out only a century ago, when there were already Hollywood movies, or bison nearly went and the beaver used to be in Britain makes us wonder what we could have saved if only we’d stopped just a little sooner in our destruction.
But of course, we only stopped once there were no big animals left to stop killing.
We could say the same now, about the African elephants, the Asian rhinos, the India lions, the goats of the Himalayas… “if only we could stop killing them.”
France only lost its wolves in the 1800s, and Spain, a country of 40 million, held on to them. Yet Ireland, with just 8 at the height of its population couldn’t – or wouldn’t.
There is no good reason, other than just not giving a shit.
The question is, if there were a new species in Loch Ness, would we give a shit about it?
Would we protect Loch Ness?
Unfortunately, I doubt it.
You can read more about the book here on this website at this page: https://davidjmobrien.wordpress.com/the-ecology-of-lonesomeness/
Don’t forget, 10% of my royalties go to the WWF to help protect animals still on the brink…