Jodi Lea Stewart

Loving and Writing About the Southwest and the South

Professor Dolphin Knew Best

A journalism and corporate writing background conditioned me into thinking I was ready to swim out to the Island of Non-Fiction and string up a nice hammock between two palms.

I’d drop a lobster trap off the rocky side of the island, carefully keep my matches dry and write thought-provoking, interesting non-fiction forevermore.

I would pen magazine articles, essays, editorials.

I’d turn out how-to’s, recipe books, child-rearing booklets, and sundry other juicy projects. *Don’t you just love the sound of sundry?*

Dip into family genealogy.

Try my hand at middle-grade articles about camping or friendship or about believing in yourself.

Case closed.


You might say I experienced a curve “wave.”

While splashing my way to the Island of Non-Fiction about seven years ago, a peculiar, mystical creature emerged from my turquoise tropical dream like a tenured professor wearing a dolphin suit and a tutorial expression.

I attempted to swim around him to get to my island, but the aquatic grampus was too swift and blocked my every move.

Sensing he would not speak to me until I stopped flailing, I quietly dog paddled and waited. He seemed pleased.

“Jodi, you won’t be going to the Island of Non-Fiction,” Professor Dolphin said, fixing me with a solemn mien.

“What! You have to be joking! I love shells and pretty sunsets over the waves.”

“That’s the problem,” he said. “From now on, fiction is the new non-fiction for you.”

“But I don’t know anything about writing fiction,” I whined.

“Exactly,” the slick, grey mammal smiled. “Happy plotting, Jodi. May all your dreams be themes. May your characters ever be fleshy and your mid-book chapters sodden with thrills.”

I remember swallowing a lot of brine when he said that.

With a wink, Professor Dolphin dove head first into the majestic azure and white waves … towing my safe and comfortable Island of Non-Fiction behind him.

I stared until he and the island became as tiny as fly specs. Then I turned and swam into my future.

Are you doing something you never dreamed you would do? Did you once think you would never live in a place you live now? Have you made any bold claims about your life that you had to “eat” later on?

I’d love to hear about it.

Just for fun . . .

Borrowing unatuthorized media? We're coming to your town.
Borrowing unatuthorized media? We’re coming to your town.




8 thoughts on “Professor Dolphin Knew Best

  1. You always make me smile when I read your blog. I love Professor Dolphin and that his remark made you swallow a lot of brine. Good luck with your novel. I’m planning on going on Amazon now and downloading to my Kindle. I have a backlog but when I get to read it, I will let you know my thoughts (if you want me to)!

    1. I’m grateful for that brine, Sara. It’s purifying. Of course I want your feedback after reading my Silki novel! It’s amazingly hard to get feedback (and Amazon reviews!) I know what you mean about a reading backlog. My stack is growing…and some of it is electronic. If we ever catch up, we might blow a gasket, huh? Thanks for coming by.

  2. Your posts are always such fun, Jodi, and yet infinitely wise — must be a southwest thing 😀

    I’ve learned to keep all my bold claims in my own head to keep from having to eat them later, and while I have no hesitation about dreaming BIG, I try to remember to leave the door open, for when something better comes along and wants to come in.

    “May all your dreams be themes. May your characters ever be fleshy and your mid-book chapters sodden with thrills.” Now, that’s what I call a magnificent parting wish.

    1. Well, talk about pump me up so much my head may not fit through the door! Thank you for those wonderful comments, Barbara. I love what you said about leaving the door open for something better to come in. If we don’t do that, we might miss our true calling…you know, the IT, the X-FACTOR of our writing lives. Come back soon!

  3. I like your character Professor Dolphin. I couldn’t help thinking your book would be a good candidate for Scholastic publishing–goes to all the schools. Have you ever tried to go that route?

    1. Cora, I have to agree with you. The Silki series was written and designed for entertainment as well as cultural immersion into the Navajo way of life. The glossary at the end shares much of the terminology and language of the Diné (Navajo word for The People). I was excited to the extreme recently when my publicist said I was getting a review next month in School Library Journal! That’s a great first step in getting this series into schools and libraries. Thank you so much for your insightful comments and for taking time to visit!

  4. Very interesting article: historical, practical, and medicinal. My roots are also in Oklahoma. It is amazing what our ancestor achieved from so few resources. I have taken yucca root for arthritis since a doctor in 1988 told me I needed both knees replaced. They’re still original and still working. Yucca was an Indian remedy. Count me in as your newest fan.

    1. Well, I couldn’t do any better than to have a fan like you, Tammy. Thank you!

      Yucca root for arthritis…now why aren’t they loudly touting that? I always wonder why science and natural medicine can’t have a powwow. I’ll bet the naturalists would be more willing to do that than the medical doctors, don’t you? You come back soon, hon. I’ll be waiting!

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