Conversations with my cat – 11

20160928_161422

This is Chester.  It has been a long, hard day.

Don’t be fooled into thinking he’s asleep.

He isn’t.

It’s late afternoon, and he’s done his rounds, sitting at the back door, the side door, and the front door.

We’re having a continual discussion about food, which, at the moment, he is being very fussy about.

I’ve sent him to bed without dinner.  I can see this is going to be another test of wills.

 

Conversations with my cat – 10

20160922_162007

This is Chester.  He’s got his ‘I want to go outside now’ face.

We’ve had this discussion many times in the past.

The answer is ‘No!’

Why?

Several of his predecessors thought it would be a great idea to go outside, chase some birds, frolic in the grass, chase some cars.

Yes, cars.

And finished up road kill.

After the second such fatality, we decided the next cat, Chester, was going to be an indoors cat.

He goes outside, when we hold him.

He knows the rules.

20160922_162027

Any, yes, he’s still waiting, just in case I change my mind.

Is it research, or did you just become a journalist?

At what point does a writer become a journalist?

Quite often journalists become writers because of their vast experience in observing and writing about the news, sometimes in the category of ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.

I did journalism at University and thought I would never get to use it.  I had to interview people, write articles, and act as an editor.  The hardest part was the headlines.

How much does that resemble the job of coming up with a title for your book?

Well, several opportunities arose over the last few months to dig out the journalist hat, put it on, and go to work.

Where?

Hospital.  I’ve had to go there a few times more in the last few months than I have in recent years.

And I’d forgotten just how hospitals are interesting places, especially the waiting room in Emergency.

After the second or third visit, I started to observe the people who were waiting and ran through various scenarios as to the reason for their visit.  None may have been true, but it certainly was an exercise in creative writing and would make an excellent article.

Similarly, once we got inside the inner sanctum, where the real work is done, there is any number of crises and operations going on, and plenty of material for when I might need to include a hospital scene in one of my stories.

Or I could write a volume in praise of the people who work there and what they have to endure.  Tending the sick, injured and badly injured is not a job for the faint-hearted.

Research, if it could be called that, turns up in the unlikeliest of places.  Doctors who answer questions, not necessarily about the malady, nurses who tell you about what it’s like in Emergency on nights you really don’t want to be there, and other patients and their families, all of whom have a story to tell, or just wait patiently for a diagnoses and then treatment so they can go home.

We get to go this time at about four in the morning.  Everyone is tired.  More people are waiting.  Outside it is cool and the first rays of light are coming over the horizon as dawn is about to break.

I ponder the question without an answer, a question one of the nurses asked a youngish doctor, tossed out in conversation but was there a more intent to it; what he was doing on Saturday night.

He didn’t answer.  Another crisis, another patient.

I suspect he was on duty in Emergency.

 

Conversations with my cat – 9

20160921_071506

This is Chester.   He’s undercover.

I’ve asked him to investigate the mouse problem, and this is how he responds.

Hiding in the ‘grass’.

Waiting, watching, ever wary.

Those mice will not see him coming.

I try to tell him that hiding on the chair, whilst the mice are on the floor doesn’t make much difference.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Conversations with my cat – 8

20160908_174534

This is Chester.  He gets impatient when it is dinner time.

He also has a ‘thing’ for plastic bags.

I’m not sure what it is, but he has to lick them, and sometimes thinks a bag stuffed with rubbish or clothes is either his bed or the kitty litter.

I tried to tell him that the bag had medicine in it and that he hates getting his flea treatment every month, so there was nothing in there for him.

Another discussion lost.

Sometimes he is either hard of hearing, or, being a male cat, I honestly believe has selective hearing!

Conversations with my cat – 7

20160917_075236-1

This is Chester.  He’s been caught almost red-handed climbing the curtains.

Of course, he is all innocence, because the evidence is circumstantial.  He was sitting on the window ledge looking out, thinking ‘if only I could get out there’.

Now he’s thinking how much trouble he’s in and whether it will be his least favorite cat food for dinner.

No, I’m not that mean.

Not unless I catch him red-handed.

Reminiscing

I was sitting down discussing with my granddaughter how we’re going to approach what will become an author interview.

We were talking about how old I was when it was I first wrote a story, and what was that story about.

OK, that sent me back a long way into the distant past.

There was also a trick question; “What was the first story you read that put you on the path to wanting to become a writer”.

That was easy, Alistair Maclean’s HMS Ulysses.  I showed her a copy of the book.

But, back to the main question.

Grandparents are old, I said, older than your parents, so that should give you some idea.

When did I start writing, that required a little thought, and there were several triggers that gave me a date, where we lived at the time, the fact I used my mother’s old portable typewriter, and the fact I had not been long out of school.  I was, in fact, about 17.  It was 45 years ago; I’ll let you do the math!

What was it about; that I couldn’t tell her, but I said I had rescued a lot of old scribbling of mine and put them in a box to look at later when I had the time.

I guess that time had arrived.

And, yes, there was the book, the individually typed pages, some with corrections, unfinished.

The pages were brown with age.

The story, well, I read the first few pages, and it seems I’d started down the thriller path then, the story so far, an agent comes ashore from a trawler to a bleak and isolated village, perhaps on the Scottish coast,

The next question, understandably; “What was the first book you ever finished?”  That was The Starburst Conspiracy, soon to be published on Amazon.

It also led to a few more discoveries, including a book I had forgotten I’d written. And all of the short stories I’d written when at University.

The interview is proceeding.

The memories it is bringing about my earliest forays into the world of writing are priceless.