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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Skinny Dip with Diana Star Helmer

What ani­mal are you most like?

My answer to this ques­tion could unwind like an end­less ball of yarn! But I shall try to be brief.

For as long as I can remem­ber, I have loved cats. Look­ing back at my life, I can see how I am cat-like. I watch; I always have. When I first went to school, I was an “elec­tive mute” for some time, just watch­ing and fig­ur­ing things out. (A cat may look at a king, you know.) Like cer­tain cats I have known, I can do things that absolute­ly must be done, even things I’d rather not do. But I am hap­pi­est to sim­ply be, with the sun and the rain and the grass and the trees, and all the mys­te­ri­ous crea­tures.

bk_Dog'sBestFriendWhich book of yours was the most dif­fi­cult to write?

My Kin­dle nov­el, A Dog’s Best Friend, is by far the most dif­fi­cult writ­ing I’ve under­tak­en to date. There are a few rea­sons:

First, the story’s hero is a dog, and I have lived only with cats. Yet, I felt this char­ac­ter need­ed to be a dog: dogs seem, to me, to be Every­man.

Sec­ond­ly, A Dog’s Best Friend is my first long work. I had been writ­ing for news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines for many years when I began the nov­el. I’d become quite sure of my abil­i­ty to tell an entire sto­ry in 600–800 words. I thought such skills would trans­late eas­i­ly to nov­el-writ­ing.


Which of your books would make a good movie and who would be the star?

bk_threescroogesI cross my fin­gers and hope that all of my sto­ries would make good movies, because good sto­ry­telling is cin­e­mat­ic: visu­al and con­cise.

Because most of my nov­els are about non-human ani­mals, this means ani­ma­tion would be mar­velous, and I love ani­ma­tion! The voic­es could then be any fan­tas­tic performers—no famous names required.

A Dog’s Best Friend would be nice as a film because it’s a buddy/road trip, a clas­sic film sit­u­a­tion.

Elsie’s Afghan would be amaz­ing because of the mag­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion required.

The Three Scrooges would be a great can­di­date because half of its inspiration—the Stooges, of course—began as film char­ac­ters!

What’s your favorite line from a book?

Good heav­ens, that’s like ask­ing what is my favorite shell on the beach!

I’ll try to nar­row it down:

Favorite line from anoth­er writer: 


My life is the poem I would have writ / but I could not both live and utter it.”

My favorite line from the book I’m work­ing on:

Oh, do not seek wis­dom, my dear. If you find it, you’ll nev­er be fit for mixed com­pa­ny.”  

What book do you tell every­one to read?

I sel­dom rec­om­mend books. It seems so per­son­al! But I have men­tioned to a few peo­ple The Book, by Alan Watts. I have gone back to it many times over the years.

6 Responses to Skinny Dip with Diana Star Helmer

  1. David LaRochelle October 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    I think you should con­sid­er writ­ing “A Cat’s Best Friend,” Diana!

    • Diana Star Helmer October 24, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      What a won­der­ful idea. Thank you! A cat’s best friend would sure­ly be a mys­te­ri­ous crea­ture, one I’d love to know bet­ter!

  2. Cheryl Holmes October 22, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    love your quote- reminds me of the peo­ple who are always tak­ing pic­tures of their moments and miss­ing the moment.….. LOVE YOU!

    • Diana Star Helmer October 24, 2015 at 10:12 am #

      Yes, yes! I have noticed this, too! And noticed how very up-to-date Thore­au remains, all this time and tech­nol­o­gy lat­er. Love you, too!

  3. Judy B. October 23, 2015 at 12:13 am #

    That was an excel­lent inter­view! Elec­tive mute…a note­wor­thy top­ic…

    • Diana Star Helmer October 24, 2015 at 10:15 am #

      Thank you. I enjoyed the provoca­tive ques­tions! Some­times I won­der what oth­er ani­mals peo­ple I’ve met are most like … what kind of an ani­mal are YOU?

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