Culver City Observer -

By Sandra Coopersmith
Features Writer 

Poetry Book Proceeds Benefit Boneyard – Woof!

 

Janet Hoult, author and Mick Beyer, illustrator

Like to smile? Want to do a good deed? Then on Sunday, May 20 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. stop by Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies, 5299 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, (310) 572-6107, for the book signing of "Going to the Dogs and Other Critters," Dr. Janet Cameron Hoult's witty and whimsical collection of poems that animal lovers of all ages will enjoy. It is also available online by going to amazon.com and typing in her name, and can be ordered in paperback or for Kindle. Book proceeds are being donated to The Boneyard, Culver City's official off-leash dog park.

Canine companions are welcome to attend, and Matt Perez of Centinela Feed is graciously providing doggy treats. Fear not, readers: Albert Vera of Sorrento Italian Market, 5518 Sepulveda Blvd., (310) 391-7654, is generously providing cookies as people treats.

"I am so excited to have Janet in the store because it is a great connection between our customers and the community," said Perez. "Janet has been such a great customer of ours for so long that we are excited we can do something to both support her and The Boneyard."

Hoult, Professor Emerita at California State University, Los Angeles, possesses an impressive resume that could easily fill this issue. Her writing background includes several poetry books, and she is the poetry instructor at Culver City Senior Center.

Asked what inspired her to write this particular book, she responded that "all humans may not realize it, but our interactions and relationships with animals are an important part of our lives. My son David, who became a marine biologist, not only had dogs but fish and turtles and snakes and salamanders . . . you name it."

Explaining that "dogs became our companions and Charley and I had several," Hoult spoke of her current dog.

"Our puggle, Ginger, is a rescue dog and very social," she said. "She enjoys walks and runs and The Boneyard provides a wonderful place for her to interact with other dogs. Proceeds from my other poetry books are donated for scholarships and educational programs to help our young people, and when I thought about donating proceeds from this book, I thought that The Boneyard, which provides so much pleasure for dogs, would be the best choice."

The Boneyard (culvercitydogpark.org) is located on Duquesne Ave. about 3/4 mile east of Overland Ave. and south of Jefferson Blvd. in Culver City Park. Donations payable to Friends of the Culver City Dog Park may be sent to P.O. Box 4129, Culver City, CA 90231-4129.

Its chairperson, Vicki Daly Redholtz, reminisced that while walking her dogs in 2001 a stranger with a dog approached. The woman asked if she'd like to see Culver City have an off-leash dog park and, when Redholtz expressed interest, handed her a little piece of paper with a name on it, Jeff Cooper, who later became mayor of Culver City,

Redholtz shared that "the site was already called 'The Boneyard' because it was a dumping ground for old city 'stuff' like stop lights and light poles. It turned out to be a perfect name for our park. We are listed in a number of tour guide books and websites as a great place to take your dog."

She added that "through this endeavor, I have made some of my closest friends who I consider to be family. The most fun is when we go up to the park and people who use it ask how we found out about it or how long we've been coming. Many don't know that it was the fundraising and persistence of Friends of the Culver City Dog Park that brought this project to fruition."

Supporting The Boneyard with this book are Hoult and her talented illustrator, Mick Beyer, a teenager who contributed his drawings. They met through his mother, Dr. Christiane Beyer, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Long Beach. "She has been extremely helpful all through this process, encouraging Mick and making sure he understood the publishing process," Hoult said.

"When I began to illustrate the first poems, I had no idea what it was going to be like," the young artist stated. "I have always just drawn from my own ideas or taken reference from other drawings. Never before had I sat down with someone and talked about what their visions are like as well. Janet was so extraordinary to work with; she had such great ideas that I could then combine with my own to yield the final results. She is such an inspirational role model to me and helped me throughout the process."

Beyer shared that for as long as he can remember, "drawing has been my happy place. It allows me to escape and just relax, so illustrating this book was very enjoyable for me. Throughout the whole time, I did occasionally get frustrated with myself – I got scared that I was not fulfilling Janet's vision. If this ever happened though, she would be there to work through it with me and we got there in the end. I was able to learn that hitting mental roadblocks is normal in every situation, and that working through them is extremely important to continue to learn and improve yourself."

His future dreams include studying architecture at a university in Germany, where he and his family originated. "I hope to continue to draw throughout my life, and possibly illustrate more books as well," he said. "Janet has given me such an amazing opportunity by allowing me to have this chance, and I will be forever grateful. I will take the skills I learned, from her and from this experience, with me throughout my life."

Hoult, who is Culver City's Honorary Artist Laureate for Poetry and worked with the Centennial Celebration Marketing Committee 2015-2017, has been prolific indeed. "Culver City's Centennial Poetry Collection," which she spearheaded and edited, has also just been published.

"We are having a book launch and reading at the Culver City Senior Center on Saturday, June 9 at 10:00 a.m., so that most of the poets who contributed to the collection and were involved in the Centennial Poetry Contest will be able to attend and read their poems," she said. "Proceeds from its sale will go to the Culver City Historical Society, (310) 253-6941, which is planning to sell it in its bookstore." Poetry has been described as food for the soul, but food for the body will also be provided, courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen at 10704 Venice Blvd. at Overland Ave., (310) 287-2727.

After reviewing the myriad past and present activities of this rather remarkable woman who has received many honors and has traveled, taught and lectured throughout the world, it seems appropriate to end this piece as follows:

Here's to Janet Hoult: She's bright, thoughtful and funny

And extremely generous with her time, talent and money.

She's constantly busy with projects, always go-go-going

At a pace that is hectic and so doggone mind-blowing

That it defies rhyme or reason, yet her demeanor stays sunny

(It's rumored she shares DNA with the Energizer Bunny).

Now she's written this "Going to the Dogs and Other Critters" book,

So come to the signing or go to Amazon and treat yourself to a look.

The clever poems and art support a really good canine cause:

A clean, safe and vibrant Boneyard to ensure happy, healthy paws –

And you just know the tails a-wagging there represent pooch applause!

 

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