2,500 signatures, 2,500 ‘thank-yous’
There are 2,500 species of rodent in the world.
And, unwittingly, they are the reason why I had to sign 2,500 of my plates.
At 10 seconds a plate – pick up the plate, sign it, put it in the correct pile – works out at 25,000 seconds. That’s just over seven hours signing, a whole day’s work. Wow! The solution? Take advantage of any free five minutes to sign a couple of hundred — in the patio as the kids play, in a hide waiting for birds, a few minutes peace and quiet outside after dinner …
When Lynx Edicions found itself faced with the tricky – and unviable – task of including the over 2,500 species of rodent in single volume of the Handbook of the Mammals of the World, it had in the end no alternative but to devote two volumes of this opus magnum to this large group of mammals. These two volumes include far more than just mice and rats, for they also take in animals as attractive as porcupines, capybaras, squirrels, marmots, dormice, hamsters, shrews and, naturally, rats and mice.
However, before beginning, the ‘mainstays’ of the purchasers of the HMW, i.e. the subscribers, were consulted. By means of an questionnaire, they were asked if they agreed with the idea and whether they would buy both volumes. To encourage people to participate, we decided, rather frivolously, that we would give away a signed plate from the HMW with my drawings of all the world’s lynxes — a logical choice given the publisher’s name. The response was overwhelming and the over 2,500 subscribers who answered the questionnaire gave a clear majority of 93% in favour of two volumes of rodents.
And so, to finish off the sixth volume of the Handbook, the first devoted to rodents, I had to sign the appropriate number of plates. I finished the signing, here and there, but with the satisfaction – if you will permit me this pleasure – of knowing that each signed plate would go to an unknown person in an unknown corner of the world, and to each and every one of the keenest subscribers to the Handbook of the Mammals of the World. I offer my thanks to all these animal lovers who support this project, which, on a more personal note, has represented the main body of my work for almost a decade, and will continue to do so for a few more years to come.