I wrote my books because of a compulsion to make some record of a fascinating era in veterinary practice. I wanted to tell people what it was like to be an animal doctor in the days before penicillin and about the things which made me laugh on my daily rounds, working in conditions which now seem primitive.
This compulsion, however, took a long time to assume any practical form. I seemed to sublimate it by recounting the daily happenings to my wife, finishing invariably with the remark, "I'll put that in my book."
There is no doubt this situation would have gone on forever if my wife, at the end of one of my recitals, had not remarked, "Jim, you are never going to write a book". She said it kindly but, nevertheless, I was aghast.
"Whatever do you mean?" I said
"Well," she replied, "You have been talking about this book for twenty-five years. Remember we celebrated our silver wedding last week?"
I tried to point out that I was not an impulsive type and always like to take a little time to think things over, but women can be very unreasonable.
She smiled at me. "Don't take it to heart, Jim. You are only one of thousands of people who think they are going to write a book, but they never do it."
"But I will, I will," I protested indignantly.
She smiled again with a touch of sadness. "You must realize that it is impossible. Old vets of fifty don't suddenly start writing books."
That did it. I went straight out, bought a lot of paper and got down to the job.