October 14th, 2012
I’m the worst when it comes to cat obsession–I’ve already spent far too much time and bored far too many people talking about my kitty, Evan. I even have YouTube channel for my cat videos–including a new one that finally offers proof that Evan knows how to fetch
Ta da! And that great echoing silence is the sound of no one clicking on the link. Which is fine. Cats are my one pure indulgence, the one part of my life I don’t have to analyze or think about with a subtle critical eye. I just enjoy them and all their fuzzy silliness.
And it’s only going to get worse, because on Friday we got kitty number 2, Alice Sampsonblum. Isn’t she pretty? (I can’t explain what’s going on with my hair, here).
So it’s basically a personal problem and pleasure, cats, that has somehow crept onto this never-really-professional blog. But I *have* started taking a professional interest in cats, professional in the sense I write stories about them (though actually, I think kitten shepherd would be a great job for me).
From the earliest-written story in the book that became *Once*, I’ve always had cats around the margins in my work. Why? No reason except that I’ve always had cats around the margins of my life–when I imagine a world, it has cats in it. When a Famous Writer reviewed a story of mine for a class, all she had to say was it was interesting that an adult woman’s close friend would turn out to be her brother. I did not think that was interesting and wished she had said something substantive about the story, but it’s true–many of my characters have brothers, at least in my head if not on the page. Because that’s just my reality–my default position for the human race is to have a brother and a cat. Write what you know is a hackneyed, limiting piece of advice–but it can work sometimes.
I do not think writing about cats is more or less frivolous than writing about brothers, or anything else for that matter. As with everything in literature, it’s not what you do but how you do it. Which is why it’s ridiculous that, say, humourous writing is sometimes not taken seriously. I guarantee you the writer of a genuinely funny book took the task of making it so *very* seriously.
So I’m a touch nervous to say that I’ve written my first story with a more central cat in it, Everyone Likes a Little Guy, just published in the Rusty Toque Issue #3. I hope it’s a good story and engages with real people living real lives. Much as I want to live in a fluffy world where the kittens wear bowties and dance on rainbows, I live in the real world and try to write about it as best I can. One of the perks is occasionally I can write about cats.