At the time, I had just begun nurturing the concept that eventually ended up being The Snail with the Right Heart. As I composed the manuscript over the following months, I kept believing about these tender animals, finding out about the science behind their mating, and chuckling at the idea of what the perfect soundtrack to their dance may be.
One morning, prior to Valentines Day, I stopped my stride abruptly to avoid something charming and peach-colored that the evolutionary accomplishment of my peripheral vision had signed up in my path: 2 remarkable rosy wolfsnails (Euglandina rosea), about to take part in the rapid courtship the human version of which has actually progressed to include roses and like songs. I knelt on the gravel, sweaty and wondersmitten, to film these sluggish sensorial fans with my currently antique smart device for as long as my knee could stand it.
In February 2018, I found myself on a pals fruit farm in Kauai, having gratefully left the brief bleak days of Brooklyn winter to finish Figuring. Each day, being an animal of loops and regimens, I did my day-to-day sprints along the specific very same stretch of gravel by a blooming grapefruit tree on the edge of the farm.
This is what I saw, now paired with a best soundtrack thanks to Joan as Police Woman: “Run for Love” from her outstanding new live record.
The advantage of seeing this love-dance at such intimate variety influenced the central metaphor with which I met the greatest conceptual obstacle with this childrens book predicated on the love of truth– the part of the story about how snails beget snails, charged with properly conveying concepts of science and sexuality to young readers who may not have the context for either:
Art by Ping Zhu from The Snail with the Right HeartFor a poetic PG equivalent, here is the incomparable Sir David Attenborough narrating the almost transcendent mating dance of the snails unshelled cousin, filmed with far remarkable cinematic innovation (if scored with an inferior soundtrack):.
For more snail elegance, appreciate these stunning 19th-century illustrations from the worlds first pictorial encyclopedia of shell-dwelling animals.
This is how it occurs: When a snail finds a partner, the two face each other, gently touching their arms together to feel if they like each other. And if they do, they move their bodies alongside one another in a slow double welcome, up until their baby-making parts meshed like puzzle pieces. Then, they gently pierce each other with small spears called “love darts,” which include their genes– the foundation of bodies. Genes are like tiny seeds your parents plant in the garden that becomes your body– your special combination of seeds is what makes you you, what makes your body-garden unlike anybody elses. Genes are how life talk with the future.
This is how it happens: When a snail finds a partner, the 2 face each other, gently touching their arms together to feel if they like each other. They carefully pierce each other with small spears called “love darts,” which contain their genes– the structure blocks of bodies. Genes are like small seeds your parents plant in the garden that becomes your body– your special combination of seeds is what makes you you, what makes your body-garden unlike anyone elses.
When artist Ping Zhu first started working on the paintings that would eventually end up being the illustrations for the book, I giddily sent her the video footage of the 2 rosy wolfsnails, which went on to notify and motivate her soulful interpretation of this fascinating evolutionary dance.