Dogs On My Heels

Ed and Ursula Arndt with “Dogs On My Heels”

On occasion I facilitate workshops in Life Writing. This type of story telling is manageable even for the novice. It can take the form of a letter to a friend, relate an event from the past or it could even be a eulogy. Usually those who sign up for the course are not experienced; we work together to find their voice, and to outline the tale they want to tell.

However! Life hands you a surprise sometimes… Three years ago, my group included a trio with stories in their heads that they yearned to turn into books. Deanna Lagroix, Allison Morrill and Edmund Arndt all had set ideas , and all of them were ambitious. Especially Ed’s

When he told me about his challenge, I suggested it might be wise to start with something more “manageable” – his story covered five generations, life on two continents, and parts of it were so complex, that even an experienced writer would be hard pressed to convey the sentiment. But Ed would not be swayed, and in fact he had already written 60 pages!

After I had read his work, I was impressed with his passion for his subject, his ability to vividly portray an array of settings and circumstances that I had no experience with.

Ed’s book is called “Dogs On My Heels.” The name comes from a German expression that describes the way one feels when being perused by adversaries.  He traces his family’s roots back to 1774 when his ancestral German forefathers settled in Russian Poland. I had never heard of this forgotten ethnic group, or realized the privations they endured.

Ed painstakingly researched his family history in great detail, then set to telling the story with grace, wit and humor. The book reads like an exciting novel and once I had finished it, I felt profound respect for these resilient, determined, yet extremely loveable characters.

On Tuesday February 8th, at the Chicxulub home of Brenda and Lyndon Hastings “Dogs On My Heels” was presented to a group of 40 of the beach community’s residents.  Ed’s wife Ursula, Deanna and Brenda graciously prepared the food and drink that added even more enjoyment to the afternoon’s “event of the season”

Deanna Lagroix and Joyce Rynearson spoke of their role as readers of Ed’s early work, and I related my journey with him. We three felt such pride in his fine accomplishment.

“Dogs on My Heels” is available on Amazon at this link:

Congratulations Ed!

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Filed under Writing

8 responses to “Dogs On My Heels

  1. David Kauffman

    What a most charming blog! I came here because Google took me to your post on the great Carrington and Poniatowska. I Just ordered “Leonora” as well as Poniatowska’s biography Elena Poniatowska: An Intimate Biography . I can’t wait to start reading and thanks to your blog I am adding many books to my “to read” list.. I will be back to continue reading the rest of your posts. Even though is snowing outside I took a look at the “camelinas” on top and I think and feel the warmth of Merida and the Yucatan Peninsula….

    • And what a charming reply… I am glad you like my blog. Elena Poniatowska is an amazing, amazing person and writer. She says that she learned about Mexico (she was born in France) through her work as a journalist. I can relate to that; I also learned about Mexico (I was born in Canada)through my work as a college administrator. You will enjoy learning her story and then reading her book on Leonora Carrington. I will be seeing Elena Poniatowska at the San MIguel Writers Conference next week. I am looking forward to it very much.

  2. Really nice post, Joanna. I’m impressed that the author,
    Ed, “would not be swayed” from his original intent. IN fact, I’m sending you yet
    another link here, about steadfast dedication to one’s message (from,) about a story line, tenacity, and success:

    I believe you’ll both like watching this:

  3. Alfred Werner

    Most enjoyable read ,just got in to it , cograts to you ED

  4. allisonmphd

    What a wonderful gathering to celebrate Ed’s accomplishment! Ed is an inspiration to other aspiring authors. And anyone who hasn’t yet read his book is in for a real treat!

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