"Damn!" I slammed back from the computer, body taut with pent up frustration. "I can't write!" I sat rigid for a moment or two, staring at the monitor. Then, I sank my head into my hands.
"What's the pur-roblem?" my cat, Snowball, inquired languorously.
She sounded so relaxed! I dug my fingers through my hair and groaned. "The problem is that there's nothing I can write about." Snowball made a low, rumbly sort of inquiring sound. I sat up and swiveled to look at her where she lay on the windowsill, ears perked, large, round green eyes trained on me attentively. I sighed. "You're supposed to write what you know, right?"
"Well, everything I know - my real or everyday life, my dream life, my fantasy life," I choked on a sob and returned my head to my hands. "Even and especially my pain and despair and emptiness life - "
Snowball growled. I ignored her and my ungrammatical construction. "Everything I know is Kit." Snowball sneezed.
She had never liked Kit, and had made no bones that she was satisfied that he and I had broken up. But, I was devastated by the breakup. I hadn't eaten, hadn't showered, hadn't gotten dressed for days. The only thing that kept me going was needing to take care of Snowball. Then, I had woken up this morning, well, actually, it had been almost 12:30, and looked listlessly at the clock which showed not only the time, but also the date and room temperature, and realized that the deadline for the Writers' Division contest was only four days away. I had to enter something!
After washing and filling Snowball's food and water dishes and cleaning her litter box, I sat down listlessly at the computer. But, everything I started seemed too personal, too intense, too Kit.
Now I tried to explain this to Snowball. She rumbled thoughtfully. "Don't humans write about their most intimate experiences in autobiographies, and memoirs, and those novels with the Fur-rench name?"
"Roman à clef? Yes. And, most first novels are largely autobiographical too."
She sat up and began washing her paws. "So," she inquired again with a delicate redirection of emphasis, "what's the pur-roblem?"
"I find that sort of stuff distasteful enough to read, let alone write."
"Writing about one's life and everyday ex-purr-ience, you mean?"
She began washing her face. I loved it when Snowball washed her face, and the top of her head. She was absorbed in this important business for several minutes. When she finished, she blinked. "Is everything in your life distasteful?"
It was my turn to blink. "Well, no, I suppose not. But…"
"Is everything in your life too intensely purr-sonal to talk about?" she pursued, stretching her front paws.
"Well, no; but…" I stared at her. She stared back, sublimely unconcerned. She yawned.
"Is there anything, or purr-haps anybody in your life that is noteworthy?" she asked with a fine show of indifference.
I had begun to grin. Of course! It was so simple. "I'll write about you," I said, leaning forward to rub her head. "I'll be sure to win First Prize in Fiction."
I laughed, the first time in days, in weeks, I'd laughed as she reared up, the image of a lion rampant. "What do you mean the Fiction prize?" she demanded in a low growl.
I smoothed the ruffled fur on her back. "Well, after all," I said. "No one would accept a story about a talking cat as nonfiction."