HONEY ROCK DAWN

Meditations With Cows

If this summer had not been this summer and if I had not been in frantic survival mode for the past six months, I would have done a long, slow rollout leading up to the debut of my new book, Meditations with Cows. But it was, and I didn’t, and my book is going to be REAL in two short weeks! So buckle up and grab a drink, I have like 1500 words for you about the 70,000 words I spent almost two years writing!

The short version: I’m so thrilled to announce that Meditations with Cows will arrive in the world on September 29 and you can order it now! Signed copies are available through my local indie bookstore for orders placed in September ONLY. You can order signed copies HERE. You can also get the book through Amazon or Bookshop. All preorders placed in September will receive a free gift – more info on this below.

Meditations with Cows is the most personal thing I’ve ever written, the most political thing I’ve ever written, and the most well-written thing I’ve ever written. If you’ve been reading my blog for years, you’ll recognize some stories, but most of it is completely new. I put every last drop of my heart and soul into this book. The team at Penguin Random House has done an incredible job with the layout – it’s absolutely gorgeous, with full-color photographs placed throughout the text.

In May, I submitted a chapter of Meditations with Cows to the Wyoming Arts Council Writing Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction and…… I WON! I really, really wanted to win. Not for the money or the prestige, but for the external validation – to know that this book was of a high enough caliber to win.

When I got the final manuscript, I gave it to Mike to read for the first time. He had read sections here and there, but never the whole thing. He read it three times in a row, back to back. And he said that every time he read it, he noticed more and more – little details resonated and clicked on subsequent readings. It’s true – there are puzzle pieces in the first few chapters that you won’t know are there until you read the whole book. This book is FUN and it is DEEP. I’m so proud of it.

The last “real” book I wrote, The Daily Coyote, came out six weeks after the financial crash of 2008. Now, Meditations with Cows is coming out during a global pandemic and an even worse financial crisis. What are the odds? When I think about this, I feel very sad and sorry for myself. My heart has hurt for everyone who has had a book published this year. To spend so much time and energy working on One Big Thing (often alone, often mired in insecurity) and then, when it’s finally ready to share, to be confronted with the reality that many, many people are too stressed to notice that your book even exists brings a strange kind of pain. The pain feels a little selfish, or at least self absorbed, because our current reality is bringing much bigger pain to so many. But it’s also a valid pain – I didn’t write this book for my own gratification, I wrote it because I believe everything this book contains is worthy of being read and shared.

What keeps me from sinking too deep into despair is a very strong conviction (hope? delusion?) that this book will be one that travels through word of mouth. I really believe that when you read this book, you’ll find yourself compelled to talk about it to someone you know, or post a passage to social media, or call someone to read them a paragraph – that people will talk about this book because they won’t be able to stop thinking about it. And that more people will learn about the book through this kind of sharing than through a feature in People Magazine (as was the case with The Daily Coyote).

I feel like I’m getting carried away in a sales pitch and I don’t mean to be – I just think this book is worth your $25. And if, like so many, you don’t have a spare $25 right now, you can call or email your local library to request that they acquire a copy of Meditations with Cows. Requests help librarians and they help the book.

If you would like to order a copy for yourself (or for your library or for your friends), I’ve got links for you!

Signed copies are available through Storyteller Books in Thermopolis, Wyoming and you can order online HERE. Signed books will ONLY be available for orders placed in the next three weeks! This is because Storyteller Books is the closest bookstore to my house, yet it is still 70 miles away and I can’t zip down there to sign books here and there indefinitely. So, if you’d like a signed copy, place your order RIGHT NOW! Storyteller Books is offering a 10% discount for all orders placed online HERE. During checkout, be sure to click “Order Comments” and type “SIGNED BOOK” in the message field. You may also include your name, or the names of those to whom you are gifting books, and I will personalize each copy. No need to place separate orders for multiple books UNLESS you want books shipped to different addresses.

The book is also available through Bookshop, which is like Amazon in that you can find every book you can think of and have it shipped to your door, but unlike Amazon, all sales support indie bookstores. Click HERE to order through Bookshop.

You can also get the book through Amazon HERE.

The audiobook is also available through Amazon and Bookshop, and is read by the same narrator as The Daily Coyote.

Wait, there’s more!

Regardless of where you order the book, everyone who orders Meditations with Cows before September 29 will receive a FREE preorder gift. I’ve designed a set of screensavers and exclusive Zoom backgrounds featuring our favorite bovines and gorgeous Wyoming vistas. You can have your next meeting with Daisy by your side! These Zoom backgrounds are so hilarious. The iconic photo of Ricardo holding council with Daisy and young Frisco? I made room for you in there!

To get the free set of screensavers and Zoom backgrounds, just email proof of purchase (this can be a copy of your receipt or order confirmation) to meditationswithcows [at] gmail [dot] com between now and September 29.

Here’s what early readers have to say about the book:

“How wonderful it is to come across the extraordinary magic of Shreve Stockton’s writing. She writes from a position of authenticity and great love. Her intelligence and sensitivity suffuse everything from the way she describes the personalities of her cows to the much needed lessons on grazing and pastureland. With her work rooted in the land itself, Stockton presents a vivid picture of Wyoming to readers who may not otherwise know or understand what a working ranch is like. Meditations with Cows will enchant and thrill every reader, and arrives at a critical time when understanding each other is vital and crucial to our survival.”
—Marie Mutsuki Mockett, author of American Harvest

“In Meditations with Cows, readers will find themselves in a beautiful world, led on an exploration that connects them back to the land, back to their food, and ultimately, back to themselves. With tales of ranching in the West, a wealth of information about our food system, and an invitation to participate, Meditations with Cows weaves together so many important threads. Stockton is a master wordsmith, the modern Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry I’d been looking for.”
—Kate Kavanaugh, founder of Western Daughters Butcher Shop and Ground Work Collective

“Meditations with Cows takes you on a provocative and thoughtful journey through the best and worst parts of the modern food system. The relentless forces of industry and profit are straining the biosphere and the relationship with our animal kin, winding up for explosive change in the way we eat. Stockton and Daisy’s story is at once an intimate memoir and an epic journey through this unique moment in human history.”
—Jacy Reese Anthis, author of The End of Animal Farming

“Meditations with Cows is enchanting and profound. Shreve Stockton is a clear-eyed, fearless woman with an enormous heart—her insights on rural life are spot-on, unsentimental, and unfailingly appreciative of the bounties attending the life she has built with rigor and ardor. Don’t miss this book.”
—Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall

I am so excited for you to read this book, and to hear what your favorite chapters are.

Daisy Says Hi!

Daisy Got A Book Deal!

OK, I got a book deal. And Daisy stars in it!

The book came to me while I was driving last August, I started the book proposal in September, freaked out and ignored it in October, finished it in November, and sent it to my agent the week after Thanksgiving. She loved it and wanted to wait until after the holidays to send it to editors, so that happened the first week of January, an imprint of Penguin RandomHouse won the rights in a sealed-bid auction the first week of February, and we signed the contract last week, which means I finally get to share the news…. insert one-footed cartwheel here!

The working title (which means it could change) is MEDITATIONS WITH COWS and it will be out Fall 2020. Here’s the blurb:

MEDITATIONS WITH COWS traverses Stockton’s deeply intimate relationships with cattle via raw and visceral stories of the work and wonder of ranch life in modern America. MEDITATIONS WITH COWS is an immersive journey into understanding and honoring these strong, intuitive, and generous animals. Throughout the book, Stockton critiques the inhumane and environmentally destructive factory farm and feedlot system, and shares sustainable alternatives for ethical omnivores that prioritize the humane treatment of animals and responsible stewardship of the Earth. Stockton is the author of the bestselling The Daily Coyote: A Story of Love, Survival, and Trust in the Wilds of Wyoming along with two popular blogs.

This book is the culmination of the last ten years of my life and all I’ve learned from Daisy, et al.; all the beloved bovines with whom I’ve shared my life. I pray (on an hourly, tear-stained, stress-hunched basis while clutching Bird by Bird like a bible) that I will do them justice with this book.

And I’m sending another all-encompassing, from-the-bottom-of-my-heart thank you to everyone who supported The Daily Coyote: Ten Years in Photographs in 2017. Creating that book was a transformative experience for me; I exorcised some demons and remembered how deeply in love I am with books. It made me want to create another one. And here we go…….

If you want to be sure to get updates on the new book, you can sign up for THIS mailing list. You’ll get very few emails from me over the course of this year, but I have some special secret stuff planned as we get closer to publication. Might as well sign up now so you don’t have to remember to do it later! Just click HERE.

All The Love

Look at all the love in this picture! Daisy lovin’ up her daughter Leila, Leila lovin’ the love.

I’m in the middle of writing a sprawling blog post about What I Did On My Secretarial Vacation but it’s currently seven pages long (I have a lot of thoughts and things to share!) and not ready to post yet. So, in the meantime…..

Hi! I’m back! My January was incredible and I learned SO MUCH. I was not expecting to learn anything, but that’s what happens when you change up your routine – you learn stuff! The Shop is back open with fresh chew toys, new jewelry, and the last of my gorgeous deer antler sheds, and I’ll have that long and winding post for you as soon as I finish it.

Snippets ~ End of Summer Edition

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End! Of! Summer!!!!!!!!! I rejoice.

Summer is intense. And exhausting. And hot. There’s a lot I loved about this summer – it was a whirlwind of travel and human connection and bonding with the Farmily at dawn and dusk and under the stars, and midday work breaks under the trees, but I’m glad it’s in the rearview and that autumn is on the way. A week or two ago, when I noticed with wondrous relief that it was dark at 9pm, I wondered if the cottonwood trees feel this way, too, like, “I grew so much and contributed so much – beauty and shade and oxygen and habitat – and it’s been glorious, but now I’m glad that I get to slow down, and soon, soon, I’ll have a much-needed, very long nap.” And they let their leaves fall.

.  .  .

Sage (who is now one year old) has been howling when Charlie howls. Charlie’s howl is strong and elegant and Sage’s is the opposite. So earnest yet so wobbly! As Mike says, “he hits every note but the right one.”

.  .  .

3M and Fiona’s calf are joined at the hip. They eat together, they run around together, they nap together, they play together. The cuteness is epic. They are both chubby and strong and healthy and happy. Fiona has done an amazing job.

.  .  .

Daisy, Miss Daisy, Queen Daisy, Our Daisy is doing GREAT! I had my other vet come see her and he said that while she’s not going to live to nineteen, it’s just as likely that she has two years than six months. I’m holding on to that. I wish she would gain more weight more quickly, but other than that, she’s fantastic. She’s getting around perfectly well – leading the rest of the cows around the property and up the steep driveway and staying well in the lead – and she’s perky and bossy and as voracious as ever. She’s getting tons of love and literal tons of treats. I often go out and find her – to brush her and cuddle with her and take her treats – but sometimes I’ll open the front door and there she’ll be, waiting, looming silently, staring me right in the eyes, like she had been willing me to open the door, and her telepathic message is, “I’m ready for some treats right now.” Having her surprise me like that is always such a treat for me.

.  .  .

Longform has become one of my favorite podcasts. Here are three great episodes:
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah
May Jeong
Elif Batuman

Last month, I listened to and loved The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan. It’s a book – memoir – surreal, true stories beautifully told.

I’m a huge fangirl of Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and numerous other books); he’s on my list of “if you could invite five people to a dinner party, who would they be?” people. I recently found this talk he gave – titled Deep Agriculture – and it’s just incredible. I listened to it and immediately listened to it a second time. It’s from nine years ago and does not feel dated in the least. It’s fascinating to listen to it in that context, yet everything he shares is just as as applicable today – arguably even more so. I highly recommend giving it your time. You can listen to it HERE.

Have any recommendations? I’m always on the lookout for more podcasts. Leave ’em in the comment section, please and thank you!

.  .  .

The Shop is back open and filled with treasure!!! Check it out before I decide to keep all the new jewelry for myself. I have many more beautiful adornments to photograph, they’ll be popping into the shop randomly over the next couple of weeks.

.  .  .

I’m working on a new book proposal (!!!) so blogging will continue to be a bit sparse. It’s easier for me to post photos and snippets on Instagram when I’m short on time, so you can check in on the Farmily on my Instagram page, even if you don’t have an account. The button in the sidebar will take you there too….

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