Saturday, September 23, 2006

The World is My Litter Pan

PD Budd

This morning while working on my autobiography (yes, cat's have them, too) I learned something. I will never write “incandescent prose” as one book reviewer described the writing in the Sunday Times (NY). But should that lack stop me from dictating my memories, fictional and otherwise, to the Typist?
Before we begin, a disclaimer: all errors, spelling and otherwise, are not my fault.
Blame the Typist/Editor/Publisher as all successful writers do.
We spend a lot of our days propped on the big bed reading and writing... interpersed with long periods of napping. Or, I should say, the Typist is propped on her pillows and I lie propped on her, next to the warm laptop pillow on her fluffy lap. In this way I send my thoughts directly into the machine in her hands. And every once in a while, as she strokes my head, I reach out for the space bar and even more of my own thoughts appear on the screen. Ah, technology!
You need to know this so you can understand how a mere, non-Harvard educated, non-MBA, nor MFA, even non-GED, American shorthair cat born in the Pacific Northwest can write anything, much less literature.
I trace my mother’s side of the family back to a famous literary ancestress, Mehitibel. Well, she didn’t actually write because she was occupied with producing successive litters of my relatives. But her companion of the alleyways, Archie, a cockroach, (now, now don't be prejudiced) was her typist and documented their lives and her wisdom. Were we to trace the DNA of most of the American shorthairs alive today we would probably return to Mehitbel's mitochronidrial DNA. She was the Mother of us all, our Feline Eve, so to speak. But I digress.

My Own (Free) Tip on Life

The secret of contentment lies in ignoring many things completely. Or better yet, letting others do them for you.
And, of course, uncompromising Patience. Sitting with your tail curled around your feet at the empty food bowl, looking beseechingly as the human does things on high at stove or sink, works much better than curling up on her feet for a nap while the ignoring human tries to move around the stove. I learned this important lesson the hard way after benefitting from a few prods and kicks. Even though the Cook/Typist stood on MY small carpet stirring something that smelled delicious, and I had every right to nap there on her feet waiting for food, I was summarily shoved aside. Patience works better than pleading in a loud yeowl, which also gets you another hard kick and no extra food.

The Other Typist

Did I mention that Archie, my great, great grandmother’s typist, was a cockroach? He used one of those ancient machines, before laptops, by throwing his body onto one key at a time. Somehow writing was much harder in the old days but the product seems better for the effort. Nowadays writing output has increased but the words don’t mean as much. Hard to find good stories even though there are many more books, literary journals, blogs...
I hope to do better, but at heart, I am unsure of myself.

On Writing

Of course, I cannot write all the time. Or even very much of the time. No, not blocked, but I have other interests. When I am really stuck on a concept or how to express it, I slip off the bed and pace around, prowling, I think it is called. Scratch the end of the new sofa a few times until the Typist shouts from the other room and startles me. I go over to the ever-filling bowl of dry food and nibble a bit, thinking all the while of my next topic.

Writers are a slow and dreary lot for the most part. Except J.K. Rowling who reports herself as always happy, writing all the time, working hard and still captivated by Harry and his friends struggles against the forces of evil. That could account for her incredible output. I cannot picture her prowling, skulking in the shrubs, or scratching for words in her furniture. But, she has declared herself a disliker of cats, (claims to be allergic!) so what can we expect from such a writer?
Maybe I need to find a larger topic than my brief memoir... certainly I have lived enough feline years to justify autobiography, I think. 21, that means three in the Typist’s years. And everyone still treats me like a baby... talking that baby language I find so irrestible. Just because when all the lights go out at night I chase around tossing my toy mice and skidding on the loose carpets across the polished floors until they lie in a heaps with mice buried in the folds. Then I stalk and kill each one individually again. I am not immature. I have hobbies/responsibilites. And making sure everything is properly dead for the night is one of mine.

Another Free Tip On Life

The Typist believes that there's a reason for everything happening in the world. And all we can do is go along with those things, bad as they sometimes are. Take them as they come and then survive. We cats know different.
First feline law of nature: Things move all by Themselves, all the Time for no apparent reason. We must keep constant vigilance, place them under control before chaos overwhelms us. Pounce and Smother is my advice. This technique works best on butterflies, moths, shadows, suddenly falling and flitting things. Don’t just sit back and let things happen to you, thinking you will “survive” by acceptance and then, somehow become deep and wise. Pounce, jump, laugh, look foolish. Life works better that way.

[End of Chapter One. how do you like it so far?]


PD Budd said...

Liked it!

Anonymous said...

Second good comment