Writers and Stray Cats

My husband (bless him) buried one of my stray cats this morning.  A neighbor called last night and said she saw one on the side of the road.  We scooped him into a trash bag and dug his grave this morning.  He wasn’t really mine.  I tried to woo him with tuna and milk, but he’d eat, and then leave.  Mostly wild, but wonderful. There used to be nine of them.  Now I’m down to five.

I’d like to think Midnight found a home.  He was the most affectionate, loved to zip into the house when the door was open and wanted petted under his chin.  Our chihuahua annoyed him.  Maybe he found a home with no dog.  The kitten with the cutest face left next.  He, too, loved kitchens, so maybe someone served him salmon instead of canned tuna and lured him to be theirs.  Glados, their mother, would glare at me as she begged for food.  I had to admire her prickly independence, but I can’t believe anyone could make her a pet.

It’s odd, but the strays made me think of fellow writers I know.  And maybe myself.  The strays come to me when I call, will wind around my ankles, but bolt if I try to touch them.  They value their independence more than they value a warm room and soft cushion.  Not many writers can claim that they’re putting words on paper to be rich.  They might start out thinking that, but that fantasy evaporates pretty quickly.  But we still write.  When we lose money, we write.  Just like the cats, we’re skittish about success.  We want it, but we want to do things our own way.

Experts give advice on how to use a formula to sell books.  Most writers aren’t interested.  We read books on how to plot, how to pace, even how to market.  We cozy up to the experts, but insist on doing it our way.  We purr about following the rules, but break the ones we decide not to follow.  For good reason.  Each writer needs to be fresh, to bring something unique to the market, and to have an individual voice.  We don’t want to play it too safe.

Just like everything else in writing, balance is the key.  There are rules that define the basics of good writing, but there are exceptions that make each story our own.  And who knows?  Maybe some day, my novels or novellas will find a big audience, and I can stretch out on a velvet sofa, secure in my sells numbers.  But in the meantime, I have to beg for scraps of attention, twittering “read me, read me,” and sauntering through the perils of no publisher, no home.   A stray.




7 thoughts on “Writers and Stray Cats

  1. Ah, but a stray surrounded by your writer friends, who are always there to support you. Here’s to finding that balance, and someday a content, cozy spot on that sofa–no matter the make or material. Great post, Judy.


  2. Hello, Judith,
    I found your post an excellent study of how we can write from the heart. I learn to write my own from experience, as everyone else. Not for financial gain, even if my living depended on it ( fortunately, it doesn’t ) but for insight; I seek to feel the soul within, to know. To see the love, compassion, joy in others. Yes, I can do that without putting pen to words. No, I cannot express my own feelings, my deep, not easily accessed or understood feelings, without using words. Like an artist, I put my innermost emotions, not within a painting, but on paper. Only then can I see what is Me. And perhaps others may see Me and my journey along the way.
    Thank you, with joy and love.


      1. Thank you for your comment, Judith. Receiving comments from readers really does help, as a lot of writers have already said. I welcome constructive observations of my opinions, if that will lead to further explanation, or even exploration.
        Love and Joy,


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