Lauroly (Laura Connolly) Opening: Welcome Sy Montgomery to World Wise Beauty. After reading your beautiful memoir and learning more about your background I can say without question you are a true World Wise Beauty. You are comfortable in your own skin and also perfectly fine with letting creatures of all kinds on this planet be comfortable in theirs. What came through for me is how you unconditionally accepted each animal and creature you came to know, study, research and love. I felt a kinship with you because I have always felt every living thing has a beauty and purpose here on earth. Each living being has its own nature and is just doing what it is meant to do here on earth. Be. I am a self professed animal lover, but I believe your memoir will touch and enlighten even the every day dog and cat lover. As one of the endorsements on your book said “the book stands as a vivid reminder of the deep and necessary connection we share with all living things”.
I also think it teaches us how other living creatures bond with us and need us. My favorite word is inter-dependency and when I read your book, it kept popping into my brain. From pigs to dogs, to tree kangaroos, to octopus, you have been a good friend, steward, and caretaker to so many animals. What you impress upon us in an honest way, is these animals were also guides, companions, and teachers for you. There is so much insightful wisdom in your memoir and I thank you for writing it and sharing it with us.
I am honored to select ‘How to Be a Good Creature’: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals as the Fall 2018 ‘Book Wise’ pick.
Lauroly Q: Let’s start with the title of your book. One of the things you said in the opening of your book is “Knowing someone who belongs to another species can enlarge your soul in surprising ways.” Can you tell us more about the title and what it means to you?
Lauroly Q: Great answer! There are teaches all around us in nature. I’m glad you mentioned family. You were honest about your parents in the book. As much as you loved them, they were not perfectly content allowing you to be you. Like many parents, they had expectations and an idea of who they thought you should be. I appreciated how you said “ I would never trade my parents for any other, as without them I would have been someone else, someone perhaps not as determined.” What a wonderful way to process things. You also talked about not really wanting children, and yet what is so touching about your story is the animals in your life became your family. Did it surprise you to have maternal feelings about your farm animals and pets?
Lauroly Q: If only we all could think in such a highly evolved way as you do. If you could pick one animal encounter from your world travels, which one changed how you looked at the world and changed your perspective about life in general? Or perhaps it was just a spiritual experience that stayed with you. I know this is a hard one as you wrote your memoir focused on 13 beautiful connections with animals. As a reader, I loved each and every one of them. Yet I was really amazed by your work with the Octopus named Octavia and I can only imagine how magical and other worldly it was.
Lauroly Closing: Reading your story about the Octavia in the book, makes me want to go back and read your book ‘The Soul of an Octopus’ which was a NYT bestseller and honored as a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in the nonfiction category. I hope after reading your new book people will discover other books you have written as well. I can’t think of more flattering endorsements than these two from prominent award winning newspapers you have received, but I will add mine with great appreciation. Thank you for your deep wisdom and your life long work Sy. We need your voice now more than ever, as our environment is suffering, and because we have disconnected and forgotten our inter-dependency with all living things on this planet we call Earth.
“Equal parts poet and scientist.”
—The New York Times
“Part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson.”
—The Boston Globe
“Part naturalist, and part humanist, Sy Montgomery teaches us to nurture our nature by showing us how all living beings need to be comfortable in their own skin and living the lives they were born to live here on earth.”
~World Wise Beauty
Sy Montgomery Closing: Thank you so much, dear Laura. It’s an honor to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from these beautiful and wise animals. I know you and your readers will understand! All the best to you.