Sunday, October 23, 2005

Snowball

"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?"

"Yes."

"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?"

"Yes."

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."

12 comments:

listener said...

Excellent non-fiction writing, Catreona!! =^..^=

How about a photo of Snowball?

To fend off the "I can't write"s, I
I recently began a folder in which I place, EVERY day, the most poetic thing I've written all day ~ no matter how short, long, poor or prosey it is.

It is, for me, a gentle sort of discipline. Either I'll discover some gems and golden threads to build on, or I'll be inspired to think more poetically, so that I'm happier with the end of day notations, or I'll discover that poetry only arrives in dribs and drabs, and pick up a thread of prose to weave into a cloth.

But, ohhh, I do know that feeling of "I can't write!" ~ and I know what a silly notion that really is.

listener said...

When my fourth child was young and home schooling, he would groan about having to write a composition. In desperation for some paperwork from him, I said he could write about ANYTHING at all. So he wrote a composition all about not wanting to write a composition. It turned out to be one of his better pieces, full of honestly, passion and humour! Years later, in college, he added to his Computer Science major an English minor, and was keenly praised by his writing professors for his freedom of expression and excellent writing ability.

We still laugh over that! :D

mprov13 said...

anyone having a problem over at renee's?

Catreona said...

mprov, yes. I thought it was only me. It's a relief to learn the problem is real.

Catreona said...

Hi listener, thanks for the thoughtful post. That's a great idear of yours. Sometimes I go ages without any poetic inspiration or thoughts or anything.

As to the photo of Snowball, well, I thought about that. But, I don't have a suitable one, that shows off her pretty green eyes and all. I have one of her curled up, asleep inside an embroidery hoop that Mum was using to help her quilt a quilt. It's a really cute picture, and initially I uploaded it, but wasn't sure it was appropriate. Let me know what you think. I would sort of like to show that one off, actually.

And, well, you know how in the beginning of Dragnet etc. they say "The names have been changed to protect the innocent?" Well, her name's really Bianca. But, somehow, in the writing, Snowball seemed better.

Catreona said...

OK, got the photo up.

Also, duh! Puddle meant the copyright on *this* blog. I "saw" that it said 2004, but it didn't sink in. That has now been corrected.

listener said...

Ah, Catreona! Thanks for the photo of Snowball! (That photo made her pen name so convincing that I never suspected it was other than Snowball!)

Our mother-cat, whose name was Mittens, once had a litter of three kittens: a grey tiger male named Cabootle (a.k.a. Baby Booty), a black tiger male named Wilbur, and a white female kitty with a grey smudge on her head named Snowflake.

Your photo of Bianca made me think of Snowflake!

Catreona said...

Hi listener,

Snowflake is a much better name than Snowball. Actually, I often call Bianca my marshmellow kitty, but Marshmellow somehow doesn't seem like a very nice, dignified name for a kitty. Glad you like the photo. I'm rather fond of it myself, except you can't really see her pink ears and cute little pink nose.

Anonymous said...

This is one exciting book and one that I heartily recommend.

Catreona said...

I've removed the photo. Don't know why, but I just didn't feel comfortable with the photo up on the web. I donno, kittynappers or something...

Anyway, there's no problem with the blog; the photo was deliberatly removed.

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