Swine Not: A Novel Pig Tale - By Jimmy Buffett & Helen Bransford Page 0,2
I felt about my little boat.
In its original form, Helen’s manuscript was totally entertaining and funny, but it also contained the potential for many characters and plots I was curious to explore. With Helen’s permission, I wanted to customize her boat. I called her later that morning and asked what she thought of my ideas. She laughed, and in the spirit of good fun, she let me loose; I was off and running to my imaginary shipyard.
I headed to the office, reread the manuscript, and started thinking about who and what I could add to the pig tale. It didn’t take long before I was working out new plotlines. My plan for the story was not to change course but to add some interesting stops on the journey. I was sailing into uncharted waters as far as pets were concerned. The only pets I have ever owned were dogs. I take that back. I did own a parrot for one day, but I returned it to the pet store after the parrot made it very clear to me and my valuable thumb and forefinger on my left hand that it did not desire to be part of my life. I knew nothing at all about pigs as pets. I was about to find out plenty, and now so are you.
There are many people out there who have funny stories to tell, but it’s the writing-it-down part that’s tricky. I can tell you that even though writing is a gift, it is not one that comes with a set of instructions or an autopilot. You wonder why a lot of writers go crazy, drink themselves to death, or become recluses? Because it is hard work! I know. I could never have guessed that this little piggy would end up taking more than two years to write, but I should have known from my experience with real voyages. As Billy Cruiser says in an earlier book, “The best navigators are not always certain where they are, but they are always aware of their uncertainty.” Longer-than-expected voyages come with the territory if you truly are a sailor. The journey can go on a lot longer than you expected.
As I said before, sometimes you look for the story, and sometimes it comes to you. So if you are asking yourself the question “What on earth is Jimmy doing writing a book about a pig instead of about boats, islands, bars, ballads, and beaches?” the answer is simple: “Swine Not?” I hope you enjoy this story.
— JIMMY BUFFETT
NOVEMBER 5, 2007
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
Apology to the Author
MR. BUFFETT, I apologize for trying to shove you into the fireplace the day we took photographs at Helen’s house for the book. It was not my fault. I wasn’t being territorial with your space on the sofa. I was just hungry, and you happened to have been sitting on my favorite snack. What can I say? My genetics took over, and I guess I should tell you, though it is after the fact, that you should never get between a pig and her favorite food. That said, I look forward to working with you on future projects. Oh yeah, I am also sorry that I bit you.
Don’t Look Down
RUMPY THE PIG SPEAKS
I THINK THERE comes a time in everyone’s life when the werewolf-like winds of misdirection and the beasts of bad timing put us in an impossible situation. In my case, the question was this: How did a 151-pound pet pig manage to live undetected in a four-star hotel in New York up until this very moment? And what was a pig like me doing, shivering on the ledge of the hotel roof, twenty-five stories above Fifth Avenue?
“Don’t jump,” I heard a voice call out.
“I have no intention of jumping!” I wanted to reply, but I was too scared to move, much less carry on a conversation. The ice beneath my feet gave no quarter. The wind howled and swirled above my head. I prayed that I wouldn’t be turned instantly into an iceboat sail and be sent over the edge — for it was a long, long way down.
“Don’t jump,” the voice repeated.
I had no idea where it was coming from, and I did not dare look down. The skyline of Manhattan was at eye level and bobbing like an apple in a tub. The trees of Central Park bent and swayed in a fierce wind. The noise from the busy avenue below me would block out any