Conversations with my cat – 80

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This is Chester. We’re back watching the Maple Leafs.

This isn’t going to be pretty. While they have won a few in the last week or so they have also lost, and by large numbers.

I know this is a mistake watching it with Chester, the eternal pessimist, because his initial statement, ‘You know Anderson’s going to let you down again’ even before the match started, is a sign of things to come.

Yep. There it is 21 seconds into the game the other side scores.

Damn.

He turns his head and gives me the look, “I told you so.”

Double damn.

Nothing worse than a smart-ass cat is there, and especially when he’s right.

The game progresses, and then the internet dies on me, leaving a frozen screen. Bigger fish to fry now, with the internet provider, where we are, the NBN, which is little more than a joke. Try streaming anything…

It’s the same result.

Pixellation, blank screens, endless loading signs and then a seized screen.

Good.

For once I don’t mind because I don’t have to listen to the negativity.

Yes, they score again. And again. And yes, once again we’re looking down the barrel of another huge loss.

“Just what is wrong with your goalie,” Chester asks.

“Too many games and not enough faith in the backup, I guess.”

It’s hard to explain wat’s going wrong. I don’t know the ins and outs of the Toronto team because we’re not there. It’s the lot of a supporter whose 12,000 miles away.

Perhaps our year will be next year.

Chester doesn’t think so. Halfway through the third period, he walks off, the internet giving up the ghost. We all know how this end, don’t we, he says.

Yes. We do. The food you hate the most is in your tray.

Revenge doesn’t sound as good as it did in my head a few minutes ago.

Triple Damn.

Past conversations with my cat – 41

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This is Chester. He had been shocked by my transformation into someone he least likely expected to find in his domain.

After a chastisement, I told him he could expect more shocks in the days to follow.

Why he asks. All I want is a peaceful life lying in the sun by the window, and no pesky mice to chase.

Sorry, I say. I’m playing roles for my next book. Trying to get the feel for the character.

A drunk, a fool, and a man who does household chores. You’re failed in all three, just in case you want to know what I think.

I don’t.

The cat doesn’t have a sense of humour, or if he does, I’m not seeing it.

I think you’ve got it wrong. Not a drunk, a man with physical disabilities, not a fool but a clown who’s lost his will to perform, and yes, I am the one who does the cooking and cleaning,

And who’s in charge of feeding you?  Anything else you care to add?

Looking good, keep up the good work, but how about fresh fish rather than that packet stuff.

Trying to pick up the pieces

I can see how it is that a writer’s life is one that, at times, has to be shut off from the outside world.

It’s a bit hard to keep a stream of thoughts going when in one ear is some banal detective show, and in the other, a conversation that you have to keep up with.  I know how hard it is because I’ve tried doing three things at once, and failed miserably in all three.

So, out I slink to the writing room and start by re-reading the previous chapters, to get back into the plot.  I should remember where I am, and get straight to it, but the devil is in the detail.

Going back, quite often I revise, and a plotline is tweaked, and a whole new window is opened.  God, I wish I didn’t do that!

Then I get to the blank page, ready to go, and…

The phone rings.

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

Phone answered, back to the blank page, no, it’s gone, got yo go back, blast, another revision, and back to the blank page.

Half an hour shot to pieces.

The phone rings again.

Blast scam callers.  I nearly rip the cord out of the wall.

All through this the cat just watches, and, is that a knowing smile?

It can’t be, I’ve just learned that cats can’t smile, or make any sort of face.

I’m sure his thoughts are not a vague or scrambled, or wrestling with the ploys of several stories on the go, getting locations right, getting characters to think and do their thing with a fair degree of continuity.

The cat’s world is one of which chair to lie on, where is that elusive mouse be it real or otherwise, and is this fool going to feed me, and please, please, don’t let it be the lasagna.  I am not that cat!

Unlike other professions, it’s a steady, sometimes frustrating, slog where you can’t just walk away, have a great time, and come back and pick up where you left off.  Stories have to be written from beginning to end, not a bit here and a bit there.

It’s a bit like running a marathon.  You are in a zone, the first few miles are the hardest, the middle is just getting the rhythm and breathing under control, and then you hope you get to the end because it can seem that you’ve been going forever and the end is never in sight.

But, when you reach the end, oh, isn’t the feeling one of pure joy and relief.

Sorry, not there yet.

And no comment is required from the cat gallery, thankyou!

 

Conversations with my cat – 79

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This is Chester.  Now we’ve cleaned up the room there’s nowhere to hide.

That might just become a real problem for our furry friend.

The girls are on a mission, as we’ve set them a series of tasks in order to earn some pocket money during the school holidays.  And keep them out of mischief.

But, what does Chester think of all of this?

Not happy at all.

He was apprehensive at their arrival as he always is, and tries to hide away while they are here, but all that rummaging and boxes moving hither and thither, it’s not long before he comes out to see what’s happening.

The office is clean, the hiding spots are gone.  I watch him slink from spot to spot, the look of dismay lengthening.

This is wrong, he says, coming up and sitting at my feet.  You know I need to get away from time to time, spend some alone time to contemplate new ways to catch mice.

Right.

There were seven different spots where I know Chester hides away, and these are spots in cupboards and under beds, places that need cleaning and we can’t get to.

His ears prick up, hearing a noise from the other end of the house, and he’s off like the flash.  A few minutes later he’s back.  Another hiding spot is gone.

Absolutely not happy now.

Past conversations with my cat – 40

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This is Chester. He’s pretending to be wise.

We’re having a discussion about perspective. I’m trying to explain that it is different for every person.

He reckons from his perspective, I’ve lost the plot.

So, I say, this is how it goes.

Imagine you’re arrested for a crime you didn’t commit. All the evidence is circumstantial, your gun is missing, and only two people know the combination, you can’t get corroboration on your whereabouts at the time of the crime, and you were heard to say you wanted to kill the victim.

A measured look of thoughtfulness followed by, he’s guilty of course.

Why I ask.

Give a man a gun and it’s bound to go off.  That’s the problem with you humans.  You need to figure out how to get along with each other without having a gun to back you up.  Have you ever seen a cat with a gun?  No, I didn’t think so.

How did this get to be about guns and not perspective? I ask.

Leave the gun out of the equation, then it’s only circumstantial.  Just saying.

I shake my head.  Why am I talking to a cat?

Past conversations with my cat – 39

 

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This is Chester.  He’s amused by the new Google Home device we have.

It sits on the table next to the dining table, and only today did he discover we talk to it.

You know, you say “Hey Google” and it listens and fairly accurately types out the voice request you’ve made, such as,  “Hey Google, play some Creedence Clearwater Revival”.

Of course, Chester doesn’t like their songs, and all but covers his ears when he hears it.  It might be the reason why I request it often, but

Sometimes he’ll sit in front of it, waiting.  I suspect he thinks it will work on thought transference, and it will play ‘the meowing of a thousand cats’, to get his revenge.

Sorry, great minds don’t think alike in your case.

Then play something I would like.”

Right.

I ask google to play the Pastoral Symphony.  Not exactly Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but it has it’s moments, like turning up the volume and waiting for the cannon fire.

Scares him every time.

But that was last week.  This week he’s requesting Ravel’s Bolero.  I think he’s been watching late-night movies again.

I say, “Hey Google, play Ravel’s Bolero.”

Instead of music, I get the instruction to reinstall Spotify.  It seems my subscription has run out.

Ugh, technology at it’s finest!

 

Conversations with my cat – 78

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This is Chester.  He doesn’t like stormy weather, particularly at night.

We’ve been having a lot of hot days with no relief in temperatures.  From mid-morning, the air conditioning had been running until midnight.

But, Chester’s usual hiding place has been in the non-aircoditioned part of the house, so he’s had to come down to join me.

There’s been no rain for weeks and although some days are cloudy all it does is worsen the humidity which at times even the airconditioning can’t relieve.

But when the storms come, after a long dry period, they are intense, and when the lightning strikes the thunder is particularly loud, and the cat jumps.

Never let a scaredy-cat sit on your lap in a storm.  I did.  Once.  Never again.

I put him on the chair next to me and covered him up.  It helps.

An hour later the storm has passed, and he goes back to lying on the floor.

Oops, was that another crack of lightning?