By Samantha Holm | Arts & Culture Editor
Despite residing in America since 1979, Gordon Jackson’s South African roots still get him into some misunderstandings. His most recent book, “Meet the Dog That Didn’t Sh*t” (published by Black Rose Writing), reflects on words, their meanings, power and potential to cause embarrassing situations.
The book’s provocative title is inspired by an innocent misunderstanding between Jackson and a colleague of his at journalism school. His colleague shared that his dog did not shed, and according to Jackson and British English, “dogs molt, they don’t shed, so that’s what led to the confusion there.” This story is accompanied by many other stories that are hilarious, and at times, painfully embarrassing.
“I’m tempted to say that if you don’t laugh out loud at least once, I’ll give you your money back,” Jackson said. “There is a lot of humor in the book.”
Jackson’s anecdotes and passion for words create a personal narrative that is informative, yet conversational. In alphabetical order, the book lists 101 sections about different kinds of words, including everything from alliteration to political correctness to the longest words in the English language.
Jackson said the writing process for the book went smoothly. “The most exciting thing was how easily it came together,” he said. “I would be writing one little section and then think, ‘this reminds me of such and such’. It wasn’t difficult to get up to 101 categories.”
Jackson holds a Ph.D from Indiana University, M.A. from Wheaton College and a B.A. from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is a communications professor emeritus at Whitworth University. He retired in 2015 after teaching for 32 years, but remains an active author.
“Meet the Dog That Didn’t Sh*t” is his sixteenth book of 17 that he has written. Seven of his works are anthologies, and the other 10 are actual novels he has authored.
His first novel, “The Church that Used to be St Elmo’s,” is a satire on how an ordinary church responds to a lavish gift. His second novel, “Never Say Moist at Wyndover College,” satirizes on campus censorship. The latter is an issue especially near to his heart because of his upbringing during the apartheid era of South Africa. “I grew up when speech was very restrained in certain categories of speech,” he said. “So, coming to this country was like a breath of free intellectual air. You get the best writing, you get superb, unfettered journalism because of the First Amendment.”
His firsthand experience with censorship affirms his belief in the importance of words, especially their unrestricted usage.
As a proud Christian, Jackson has also authored several theological books, including his newest work “The Mission to San Pedro 2” (published by Resource Publications), which is a satirical novel that details a well-intentioned mission trip going horribly awry.
“That was an example to me of how people without skills preparation, cultural knowledge and language knowledge go into a situation coming to say, ‘I’m here to help’. Well, exactly the opposite happens in this book,” he said.
On Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Jackson will visit the campus bookstore to conduct a public reading of “Meet the Dog That Didn’t Sh*t,” which will be followed by book signings. To purchase a copy of the book, click here.