Why writers need cats ...

June 8, 2017

 Cats are often found in the company of writers. Some are more dog-shaped than feline, but it doesn’t matter. Cats (or pets in general) provide much-needed inspiration for the writer’s muse (and are often endlessly entertaining).

 

As I write this, my kitten, Puck, is dragging a shoelace around the house. I’m not entirely sure where he got it. It probably belongs to one of my son’s shoes. Now, this shoelace has been through every room in the house at least twice in the last hour. Including up on the bed, on the couch, on my desk, and up in the cat’s favorite window.

 

The shoelace has become Puck’s obsession. While on the couch, he proceeded to lick it until it became a soggy gross bit of nastiness, then as he was playing with it, he fell off the couch. Not once. Not twice. But three times in a row. Each time, dragging the shoelace back onto the couch to repeat the performance. In between laughing fits, (which Puck became mightily offended by) I managed to write another chapter of A Sea Like Glass. The entertainment that Puck has provided helps to offset the gloom in the scene I’m currently working on. So it’s a win-win for all parties involved.

 

Writing is a fairly solitary endeavor, but cats make it less so. Take this picture here:

 

 I am in the process of editing The Riding Hood Files. Scouring each chapter with a fine tooth comb and now, according to Puck, is time for a break. He determines when I break for lunch by sitting in the doorway of my office and singing to me that it’s time for me to eat so he can sneak goodies from my plate when I’m not looking. He is the alarm to tell me it’s time to get up and stretch my legs because something crashed in the kitchen (a sure sign he’s doing something he shouldn’t). He tells me to give my brain a rest by laying across the keyboard so I can’t write. And when it’s time to be done for the day, he climbs back and forth between my desk and window, making sure to whack me in the face with his tail each time.

 

 I have two cats. One is a perfect gentleman. With his black and white tuxedo markings, I picture Pickles in a little bowler with an umbrella and a lovely, little waistcoat. He’s a sweetheart. Never bothers me when I’m writing, other than to complain that Puck is being a pest. He lays in a pool of sunlight - when we’ve got sun - and blinks at me when I brainstorm ideas with him. One blink means, “try again.” Two blinks, “terrible idea.” When he looks away, I know that I’ve really screwed up the idea.

 

If Pickles is a gentleman than Puck is a wild west cowboy looking for a tussle in the saloon. Puck is part Maine Coone, and not yet a year old. His goofiness is endearing, and because he’s still young, he doesn’t quite have his balance yet. He’s good for a laugh and for cuddles, all while making the perfect writing buddy.

 

 The personality differences between the two cats have given me inspiration for a children’s series about a stodgy cat detective who solves cases with the help of an exuberant sidekick and friend. I’m in the process of planning the series and have written a couple of short chapters to experiment with the idea. I’m planning on releasing the stories as serial novelettes geared toward children grades 4 and up. Keep an eye out for excerpts, sneak peeks, and character developments as I delve into The Curious Cases starring Thaddeus Theodore Thoribald the Third and Penelope Pawster, private eye.

 

Happy Writing!

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