I’m not a drinker. I mean, I enjoy the occasional rum and coke or a shot of Bailey’s in my coffee, but at a rate of less than one a week (and at times less than one a month), that hardly counts. And most alcohol is just icky and burny. Beer tastes like what I imagine pee must taste like, although that is not based on any practical evidence, if you know what I mean. Wine is just grape juice that tastes bad. So alcohol is not my vice. That doesn’t make me a bad writer, for the record. We don’t all have to be Hemingway. Continue reading →
I have a confession to make. I would get a lot more accomplished if I didn’t have a cat. Now, I would never not have a cat, possibly because I’m a masochist who doesn’t want to have nice things. But the point remains: without my cat, I would get so much more done in a day.
Let me give you just one example of what it is like living with a cat.
I am sitting, writing.
Things are going well.
And then, the cat suddenly appears at my feet. He stares at me. I try to ignore him.
One of the incredible things about writing is the astonishing variety of our language. So many diverse words and terms can be used to refer to the same thing, and can bring to the fore different aspects or elements of that thing. This can make choosing difficult, but it can be thrilling to delight in the options before me, to seek the one with the perfect nuances and connotations, and to try to pick the one that you – and future readers – will like best.
Everyone feels safe somewhere. A lot of people think that art is best when it comes from somewhere unsafe, somewhere on the brink, on the edge, and perhaps that’s true – that risk and trial and experience are all necessary in the life of an artist. But I think safety is necessary, to some degree, for creativity. To have a safe place in which to open up and be vulnerable without fear – or with fear, perhaps, but feeling comfortable enough to do it anyway. Enough safety at least to be able to think in terms of art, rather than merely survival. And with you, I will have to feel safe for our relationship to work, to be able to share this book I have written and open up and discuss it freely and honestly, to accept criticism of my baby and trust your input as I make changes. For that to happen, I need to feel comfortable, I need to feel safe.
Ptolemy rarely feels safe, on account of being the most highly strung animal I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. So maybe he can teach us something about creating a safe place in which to work together. Continue reading →
As promised, here are some other weird things about my cat:
He loves the ceiling, and is certain if he just gets the right angle on it, and jumps high enough, he could go up there and live on it like an upside down floor, and be the undisputed king of ceiling-land, now and forever. He will stare at it and crane his neck and meow thoughtfully and then try to shimmy up the wall by clapping at it with his paws or launch himself recklessly off high furniture.
He loves olives, which have a kind of catnippy effect on him, that results in him rubbing his face on old shoes and chewing on my fingers. Continue reading →
I’d like you to meet my boss, the big man, the one who makes all the of executive decisions in my life, the one for whom I toil, the one whom I aim to please in all I do, the one who orders me about at his whim, the one for whom I am on call, anytime, day or night, for any reason.
And here’s the thing: I really struggle with short stories.
I don’t like writing them. I don’t even like reading them, for the most part. All of the joy I normally get from writing becomes a mundane chore when I try to write short fiction. It becomes, “I guess I have to write this thing…or I could not, and take a nap”, instead of “OH BOY I GET TO WRITE, IT’S MY FAVOURITE”. So, basically, when I write short stories, I’m a cat. When I write novels, I’m a puppy. Continue reading →