My Love of Wabbits and Writing

I have a fondness for rabbits. While I’m not a big collector themed items, if you were to stroll around my house you would find a few bunnies here and there:

I remember having a brown rabbit as a child. It was actually my sister’s rabbit. She always had a penchant for slightly untraditional pets. It spent most of its life in a raised pen in the back yard. I never liked that; felt like it should be able to roam about freely. But our cocker spaniel who also occupied the back yard made that freedom unlikely. Unlikely, but not impossible. One day the rabbit escaped its cage. Our dog did what most dogs would do, she chased the rabbit. We found him lying dead in the yard, untouched and unmarked by the dog. It literally died of fright.

It wasn’t long after the rabbit’s death that I read Watership Down by Richard Adams. I had no idea what the book was about other than the main characters were rabbits. It’s true what they say about not judging a book by its cover. I was incorrect in my assumption that Watership Down was a childrens book:

From Wikipedia:

Watership Down is a classic heroic fantasy novel, written by English author Richard Adams, about a small group of rabbits. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphised, possessing their own culture, language (Lapine), proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel recounts the rabbits’ odyssey as they escape the destruction of their warren to seek a place in which to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way.

The novel takes its name from the rabbits’ destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of Hampshire, England, near the area where Adams grew up. The story is based on a collection of tales that Adams told to his young children to pass the time on trips to the countryside.
Published in 1972, Watership Down was Richard Adams’ first novel, and is by far his most successful to date.

There are some very violent passages within the pages of that book. I was probably too young to read it when I did, but also within the pages of this remarkable book I was able to follow along and imagine that our little brown bunny had escaped the dangers of suburbia and found a life of freedom. It also taught me that being small  does not prevent you from doing big things and that brawn and bravery are not necessarily synonymous.

It also began my life long love of reading fiction. No matter how difficult my real life was (my parents divorced not long after the rabbit died), I could always find safety and adventure inside the pages of a well crafted story.

Which is why I suppose my love of wabbits and writing are forever linked. It’s also why it’s important that writers heed Stephen King’s advice: “Do not come lightly to the blank page.” Your words can create wonderful worlds where your readers can escape their lives, if only for a time.

Your words matter. Maybe more than you’ll ever know.

One of many rabbits whose warren is under the tool shed of our yard. Living freely within the confines of my unfenced yard.

“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”
― Richard Adams, Fiver’s Dream

Here's another bunny taking advantage of the absence of my neighbor's dogs and enjoying the sweet grass growing in their pen.

« « Previous Post: Please don’t feed the birds | Next Post: The 10 commandments of grocery shopping » »

8 Responses to “My Love of Wabbits and Writing”

  1. Glynn June 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    What I remember most about “Watership Down” is the rabbits finding the little white burning sticks tossed away by the men. Why that image stuck in my head, I don’t know.

    • katdish June 20, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      Funny, Glynn. I remember that as well.

  2. Shawn Smucker June 20, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    My wife and I took turns reading Watership Down out loud when we were first married. This makes me want to go back and reread it.

  3. SimplyDarlene June 20, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    wabbits and woosters

    woosters and wabbits

  4. floyd June 20, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    We have rabbits living in our neighborhood. I enjoy watching them. I also enjoy talking to them, I give them compliments when they freeze trying to blend in with their surroundings… I lie to encourage them. “Nice job hiding in plain site”! – “We can’t see a thing of your desert brown fur against the bright green grass”!

    I don’t even chase them off when they’re eating our purple flowers.

    Funny how the things from childhood, even painful, God uses for His specific purpose and our gratification.

  5. Angela June 20, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    I tried to have a rabbit once. She was evil. Now, I admire the adorable bunnies that live behind our house, and pray the hawks don’t get them!

    I’ve never read Watership Down, but I definitely had no idea it was about rabbits.

  6. jake June 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    I’ve never even heard of this. It must be something they read in the South, whereas people like me, from the northwest read stories about the South, like Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer. Those books turned me on to fiction and I will always love those stories. I still want to make a raft and float the muddy… okay, that’s a lie. But still…

  7. Jayne June 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Great book! And you’re absolutely right…it is NOT a children’s book.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>