Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm Not in MA Yet, But at Least There Are Cats

I start every scene with a plan in mind, and occasionally the characters behave, and the plan in mind becomes the scene on paper. But more often, I discover something I didn't realize about one of the characters, or an interaction doesn't play out with the particular type of feeling I thought it would, and the scene starts to go off course, and I have to chase after it, and pages get written and then crossed out, and I can't figure out what needs to happen, and I begin to get Extremely Grumpy and mope around under a storm cloud.

Happily, I'm at my parents' house right now, which means that a cat named Lickety comes by rather often to commiserate. Well, really, she comes by because she wants to make herself the center of my world and be petted forever. I was lying on the couch the other day in artistic despair when Lickety jumped up and threw herself against my hand, which only ever means one thing.

Me: [not petting her] Lickety, how come this relationship is so one-sided? I rub your ears, but when do you ever rub mine?

Lickety: [goes down to the other end of the couch and sits on my foot, usually the cue for me to scratch her with my toes]

Me: I'm not going to pet you. I've got nothing left to give.

Lickety: [walks up the length of the couch and throws herself against my face]

Me: No! Not petting you! I'm the one who needs comfort! [sneezes and splutters]

Lickety: [lies on my stomach, one eye closed, the other trained on me (feline eyeball hypnosis)]

Me: [with great pathos] O, Lickety, why does writing have to be so hard?

Lickety: [stabs me with all her claws at once]

"Oh, you stupid cat," I say, laughing, and then I pet the stupid cat.

At least if my goal is to please the cat, success is easy.

How is your work going?

15 comments:

A. Grey said...

*sigh*

Thank goodness for cats! I've been trying to get the last of my second ms transcribed onto the computer, and I've had several furry secretaries over the last couple of days 'helping' me. I wouldn't be so distressed over my efforts except that a plethera of odds and ends have kept me from getting any writing, and little editing done recently, and nothing at all prepared to send out.

And then I took a good hard look at my thirt ms and acknowledged that there's simply too much left to write, to have it all fit in one book. So that means adding a book where I hadn't planned on having one. That, or the world altering war occurs neatly within only a few paragraphs, which ain't happening because too many things are affected by it. So now I've got to wrap up book three, and begin book four, which is bubbling inside my head with no regard for the fact that book three hasn't been squared off yet.

Again, *sigh*

At least the cats don't mind drama, as long as there's and hand, or foot left to rub them. Oh, and I have to tell you, Lickety could be my Ari's long lost relative! For a moment, my over-taxed mind was trying to reason how you got into a photo with my cat! :)

Natasha said...

And this is why cats are some awesome. They make us smile, despite everything. :-)

itdependsontheday said...

*SOB* uve made me miss my cat tiger. she was just like that. except 4 the claw stabbing cause she had no front claws n rarely used her back. but she didn't die. u see, she was an outdoor cat who wanted to be indoors. so some family (we do no know who. she just randomly dissapeared n came back 1 day with a collar, n even fatter than before) adopted her n now shes happy! but i miss her all the same *SOB*

haha the stupid word verification thingy is fartagan. haha.

Glynis said...

Well Fluff has decided that if she winds the 4 dogs up enough, they make enough noise to wake the dead.When I get up to settle them down, she has taken over the role of writer by sitting in my seat.
How is my work? Much like yours I think,I have a few areas to pull together.
Sorry got to go, the dogs are bar....purr, purrrrrrr

ICQB said...

My family just got back from a trip of a lifetime. We all had cameras and while three of us have pictures of things like the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, Windsor castle, my daughter's pictures are of every cat (and Ferrari) she encountered every step of the way.

MelissaKeaster said...

My book is going slower than I would like. I knew when I began a few weeks ago it would be slow because I have a four-month-old son, but I wasn't yet anticipating the looming challenges of teething and general gassyness. I now have a baby who needs lots of attention during the day and is too uncomfortable to sleep through the night. Needless to say, I'm not sleeping either, so when I actually DO sit down to write, the creative part of my brain refuses to work. It just sits there, stagnant and pouting and feeling sorry for itself because it also has to get up six times a night and work hard throughout the day, coming up with various ideas to get my son's mind off of his inflamed little gums.

Also, my book is set in a real location that I will be visiting this weekend. I feel that I need to let this place speak to me, tell me its story before I can move on. I'm bringing reinforcements to help with the baby so the place will have its chance to say all it needs to say. So this week, I'm in the Suessian waiting place, just waiting. And I am really hoping to get enough rest so the creative part of my brain will be awake enough to hear and interpret all that will be said.

I'm not expecting the floodgates to magically open after this visit because when I leave, I will still have a beautiful baby boy who is my primary responsibility. However, I do believe that I will see the shape of the story I want to tell. Maybe with a little of this coming sleep I've been repeatedly promised, I will begin to witness that beautiful and illusive thing "they" call progress.

Rebecca said...

I'm taking courses in Algebraic Topology and Ordered Sets through this program: www.gwu.edu/~spwm/

It's going well. The days are long, but the material is fun.

Angie said...

Your work is much more challenging than mine as I'm officially 'off' for the summer. This is why I love being a teacher - terrible pay, wonderful children, and terrific vacation!

Right now my only job is to play with my 2 1/2 yr old son, pull grape tomatoes, banana & jalapenos from the garden, read books, drink good wine, grill, and relax.

Of course Ziggie and Zoe, my clawed and furry friends, need lots of lovin' and I'm sure that job will not get a vacation this summer!

Jennifer said...

Wow, who knew cats could need so much attention? I personally love cats, but unfortunately I am allergic, therefore I cannot live with one. I mean I'm ok around them, but if I get all of those cat hairs on me it messes up my allergies really bad. So treasure any cat-time you can get, because I don't get as much as I want. I have actually considered writing, but I just have so many ideas jumbled up in my head that I don't know where to start; I had actually started one previously, but I just couldn't seem to get through it so I've put it on hold. Lucky for me I don't have a dedline or anything along those lines!

Caroline said...

Cats are awesome, but when they fight in the middle of the night, they are not so awesome. My cat always comes and sits on my lap when I work on the computer, and that always improves my mood (until he attempts to sit on the keyboard!) Oh yeah, Kristen, why were you up at four in the morning posting? I can't even think of getting up so early! ; )

Through a Glass Darkly said...

I have actually made some progress on my writing. Such an amazing feat it was that I had to sit and look at my screen in awe for several minutes. Words were actually typed that formed sentences! Whether good or bad sentences will be left for later to be judged. Random thoughts that have been lounging around finally coalesced into a couple of characters and the beginning I've been trying to form.

My cats (Cole and Lugana) looked at me from their positions to either side of me with relief, "Finally! She will pet us! We must attack her hands and face with haste lest she again begins using them on this metal contraption that seems attached to her lap!"

I do love the dears, we've been together almost a year. They have great patience with me, most of the time.

Sometimes they just stare at me with a look that says, "What on -Earth- are you doing? Do you not see this magnificent tummy I am offering you for scratching? Silly human, the way to true happiness lies in petting me. It's really not that hard of a concept..."

tinkandalissa said...

Oh the work to be done. Why is it that no matter how much "free" time one has to write, there are always so many things that need doing and not enough hours in the day to do them all? I had a four day weekend and had such big plans for writing. I am editing as I go and changing/rearranging things. Also changing the POV, which is an enormous pain in my ass. Alas, I barely got any writing done, zero editing, and definitly didn't squeeze in the naptime I thought I would. What does all that boil down to? Me sulky and grumpy. So, I sympathize for you. And Yay! cats. For the short time that I was able to devote to writing this weekend, I had my kitty bff "helping". Mostly he just sees that I am writing in my notebook versus petting him and plants his big, fat, hairy butt down in the middle of my work. (he loves to lay on paper). Silly cat.

Anonymous said...

A scientist/doctor who specializes in sound made an interesting discovery. She wondered why cats purr. It takes extra energy, so it ought to have a benefit. Turns out the vibration rate of purrs has therapeutic benefits for the cat and those of us lucky enough to be around them! There is an old saying, it seems, about putting a cat in a room full of broken bones to heal them (the bones, that is). Libby-in FL

Anonymous said...

Kitti Says:

I can understand, we have people in our cat house. Five cats to two humans, they outrank us completely, thus own us. Demand attention at three in the morning and bite your toes, fingers and nose. -^_^- all because they love you loving them

And we can never win against them, they are just too darned cute!

kristin cashore said...

Hey, thanks for all your comments, everyone. And my sympathies to everyone who's struggling with their writing! Melissa, I'm sure that even if you're exhausted and feel uncreative this weekend, the place will work its way in and trickle through in ways you don't realize are happening. One day you'll finally wake up, your baby will be sleeping through the night, things will start clicking again, and none of that time sitting in front of a blank page will be wasted!

Through a Glass Darkly, do you take your name from the Bergman film?

Libby, that's a great little fact :o)

And Alissa, I have to say a change in POV does sound like a TOTAL pain in the ass, and also, I completely understand about the disappearing time. I'm a full-time writer. And ever since I became a full-time writer, I find I have less time to write than I did before. Sigh...

Everyone, I am typing my first comment from my new home in MA! :o)