|UMD Psychology Professor Bud McClure.|
The cover of McClure's book Divine Daisy.
“Every 100 years or so, as legend has it, a very special dog is born into the world…” In the mind of UMD Psychology Professor Bud McClure, this special dog was born in the pages of his children’s book. Divine Daisy: A Transpersonal Tale tells the tale of a golden Labrador who develops a special gift after magical rabbits kiss her. Daisy develops a relationship with the rabbits and a lonely little boy, and together they learn about the mysteries of life.
Dreaming of Daisy
Before McClure wrote Divine Daisy, he was strictly an academic writer. Then McClure began dreaming of his own dog Daisy getting into adventures with magical rabbits and a little boy. The dream became so vivid and reoccurring that he decided he was going to write a book about it.
“Two years ago the book came to me in the early hours between a waking and dream-like state. Over a period of weeks, the story began to appear to me fully formed,” McClure said.
As the story developed in McClure’s head, he began to wonder if he should write a children’s book. “It came to me very powerfully, it was just a strange creative process, and I got this rush of ideas and felt compelled to do it,” McClure said.
The inspiration for Divine Daisy also came from a very important and special pet. “We had a dog named Daisy. She was one of those wonderful dogs that you are lucky to have in your life. She was an integral part of the family, and she used to love to chase rabbits and that’s where the story grew,” McClure said.
When McClure had the story completed, he needed images to go with them. One day, McClure walked into the Tweed Museum and saw the artwork of Ginny Maki, UMD alumna. He knew the moment he saw her artwork, that she was to be the illustrator for Divine Daisy.
“When I found Ginny and she drew those images, they had an almost eerie and uncanny similarity to what I saw in my dream-like state,” McClure said. “I love the simplicity of them and the way they just seem to capture the story.”
The connection between Maki and McClure was almost instantaneous. When McClure offered her the opportunity to illustrate his book, she didn’t even hesitate. With Maki on board, McClure’s dream of Divine Daisy became reality. Maki’s watercolor pictures bring the story to life, capturing the true essence and cuteness of puppies, bunnies and little boys.
|Daisy and the magical rabbits.|
What a Magical World
McClure’s goal of writing the children’s book was to create a sense of how magical the world we live in truly is. “I wanted to write a story on multiple levels to introduce the idea of the mysteries of the world and also show how children see the world. They are more willing to accept strange occurrences than adults are. We’ve kind of lost that magic as we get older," McClure said.
One mystery that McClure touches on in his book is death. “It’s funny, when you read the book to children and to parents, they have significantly different reactions to the story. The parents react to the loss in the story and the children react to curious way that this dog reappears in the story,” McClure said.
Though many children’s book authors do not touch the subject of death, McClure had no reservations. He said that his main purpose was to get across a Buddhist perspective of impermanence.
“I think children have a perspective on death that is not fully formed yet so they can accept this transformational quality that I put into the book,” McClure said. “We have a tradition in the western society to make everything permanent, but nothing is permanent. If you love something it will die. Impermanence is important for children to understand and Daisy gives you a way to begin a discussion of death.”
|Daisy and the little boy.|
A Transpersonal Tale
Divine Daisy sits close to McClure’s heart, not only because the main character is based off of his own dog Daisy, but also because he teaches transpersonal psychology. He described a transpersonal tale as an ultimate calm where we feel that everything is as it should be in the universe. McClure hopes that his book gives us “the sense that there’s something greater than ourselves going on and I think Daisy takes us into that mystery."
McClure also feels that his book reflects part of his personality. “ I’m always trying to see what the higher meaning is behind things,” McClure said. “I think there is a kind of fabric underlying everything in the world.”
While writing Divine Daisy, McClure realized how great UMD has been to him in the process. “The university creates a kind of environment that I am blessed to be in. We have the freedom to think and to write anything, even a children’s book. For someone who loves to write and think creatively, UMD has been a great place for that.”
McClure has one piece of advice for aspiring writers of any genre. “You have to write where your energy and passion is.”
All photos courtesy of Bud McClure
Written by Mandee Kuglin
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