Possible titles: “The Milking Years”, “How Daisied Was My Pasture”, “Treacle Dog Summers”, “My Dappled Hide”, “Moo”.
I kinda like the last one. “Moo”. A New York Times Bestseller. Oprah’s Book Club Selection. Now A Major Motion Picture. Starring Judi Dench as (the voice of) Cow, who still only says ‘moo’ in a variety of tones.
Have you ever heard of Adrian Mole? There’s a book in the series where he is writing a novel called “Lo! The Flat Hills of my Homeland” that is an amazing example of truly terrible writing. The main character in Adrian’s novel ends up writing a prehistoric novel in which a caveman writes a novel despite not having the concept of language. A publisher ends up being interested in publishing THAT novel. I think that’s where we’re headed here with Cow.
One of the keys to bad writing is to use a lot of words that you don’t quite understand.
I am also concerned about Cow. She seems a little down and steak-knifing seems like a real possibility. The next 17 chapters go into the backstory of the milking stool, so we won’t find out more about Cow for a while. I haven’t decided what happened to the treacle-coloured dog from the daisy pasture. It’s possibly a reference to a traumatic event in Cow’s calfhood.
I kinda want to write this book. Is that bad?
“Moo,” she pleaded, her dappled hide gleaming in the lights of the late-night shop windows like the neon map of a fictional country whose people have never been to the seashell shore. The milkmaid frowned into her coffee, knotty braids a-twitch with concern. “Moo?” queried the milkmaid. “Moo? How can you possibly intone the word moo when my heart is torn asunder with memories of the treacle-coloured dog?” she kvetched vexingly.
The cow turned her languid eyes seaward and mooed, a long, languorous moo full of longing for the past and memories of the treacle-coloured dog that frolicked in the daisy pasture. Her eyelashes sparkled sadly in the morning’s cool, vapid mist as she lifted a mud-crusted cloven hoof to kick listlessly at the hand-carved milking stool, and she thought again of the dog, the dog with the silken tail and gentle woof. “Moo,” she susurrated in her torpor, and yet another near-silent “moo” escaped her grass-stained lips.
Totally distracting… “They’re like written speed bumps,” I intoned.
Intoned to the breeze opposite the pane while aimlessly thumb flipping through the bigger pictures. Because there are, thou, more than one. Endless pictures during an infinite time. On a seashell shore.
And then the milkmaids with their knotty braids and their cows milk. Dropping drips. And then the chewing cow chewed, chewed mildly like an unamused asshole. That he was. Lovely brilliant.
To conclude: “Oh, that was awesome! I loved when you were talking about that thing on the seashore and then the shells, too.”