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'Fearless Puppy' shares wisdom from the road
Thursday, February 14, 2008
BRATTLEBORO, VT -- Doug "Ten" Rose's book "Fearless Puppy on American Road" is hard to describe, but it sure is fun to try.
The book's own back cover makes a good stab at it: "If you put the writings of Kerouac, Chopra, Hunter S. Thompson, Castenada, Black Elk, Will Rogers, Gandhi and a clown in a blender with 500 pounds of hallucinogens and a time machine, you would have the writings of Doug Rose."
A friend of Rose's calls it "stealth dharma."
Or you could call it the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Spiritual Galaxy" or "Gonzo Buddhism."
Rose himself doesn't even think of it as a book.
"It's not really a book, it's a project," he said. "I never really had the notion of writing a book."
Rose, who left home at 15 and has spent much of the last 35 years hitchhiking through North America, undertook the book the way he takes on most things in life. There's a straight-up, naked sincerity to both "Fearless Puppy" and to the man who wrote it.
In the past, he has been moved to fight hunger in Africa, raise money for orphans in Mexico and the homeless, and work for causes like Greenpeace and Citizen's Awareness Network. All while living a life on the road.
"I've been homeless for most of my life," he said.
Brattleboro might be the closest thing he's had to a home. He has visited the town for 25 years and he's based here now.
"I just might stick around a while," Rose said.
While his has been a life without roots, he has always been interested in planting seeds. "Fearless Puppy" is proof of that. Proceeds from the book, which he published with help of a lot of people and some borrowed money, will benefit Buddhist monks and nuns in Asia. To find out more, visit www.fearlesspuppy.org.
"I did this project to try and increase the number of wisdom professionals on the planet. I couldn't think of any way to raise the money, and people have told me in the past that I write pretty well," he said.
Rose's writing will never be confused with Faulkner's, but "Fearless Puppy" is the kind of book that holds your interest. He has a gift for storytelling and does it in a way that's conversational and utterly honest. Reading the book is like parking yourself on a barstool next to the guy.
In the book, Rose sprinkles bits of wisdom, enlightened ideas, hard lessons, colorful characters and beautiful, generous people, all encountered in a life on the road. "It's all anecdotes, and the spirituality is woven in," he said.
Indeed, "Fearless Puppy" serves its wisdom gently; it never preaches and retains a spirit of gratitude and humility. Time and again, he urges people to find their own teachers, their own sources of wisdom.
Enlightenment came slowly to Rose, and the book is, above all, a study in patience.
"I had a lot of experiences that would have turned some people around, but I'm not the brightest guy in the world," he said. "If there's any benefit to the actual book itself it's ... this is a perfect example of 'never give up.' Nobody has made this combination of mistakes before and lived."
But Rose has, and you can meet him live and in the flesh and one of several events in town in the next few days.
On Saturday, he will sign his book at Everyone's Books on Elliot Street, from 3 to 5 p.m.
On Monday, Feb. 18, he will be at Kipling's on Elliot Street to do a booksigning and reading, accompanied by the music of Kathleen Simms.
On Wednesday, Feb. 20, he will sign books at the Book Cellar on Main Street at 5 p.m.
Later that same day, he will be at the Mole's Eye from 8 to 11 p.m. for a book signing and short reading to benefit Citizen's Awareness Network. Derrik Jordan will play worldly improvisational music, the vocals and guitar of Simms and a special appearance by Deb Katz (CAN's founder). The author will donate $5 from every book sold at this event to CAN. There will be no cover charge, but donations for CAN will be accepted.
On Friday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Silver Moon Adornments, 29 High St., will host a "Fearless Puppy" discussion group.
For information, visit www.fearlesspuppy.org or e-mail [email protected] org.
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