Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Mascot

There was a commercial some time ago that, as part of the montage of scenes, featured a cat jumping on to the keyboard. In a classic case of Hollywood realism, the person at the key board made no attempt to shoo the cat off, or gave any sign that the cat had just typed gibberish into whatever the person had been typing just seconds before. No, instead the human just reached down and scratched the cat's ears, all lovey-dovey. It might have been a cat food commercial, now that I think on it.

Of course, that sort of help would still be far more welcome than that "Clippy" character from whatever incarnation of MS Office that was.

My own feline assistant doesn't put paw to keyboard all that often. In what's either a reflection on the state of my desk, or the training of my cat, she stays off the top of my desk. Despite being a lap cat, my office chair is not one she's inclined to share with me, either. Mind you, I'm not complaining about that, but the commercial did get me thinking about the unofficial role my cat plays as my writing mascot.

She has a bed in my office, and during the day that's where she'll curl up while I sit pounding away at the keys. She may not offer much in the way of constructive criticism - unless I so interpret her attempts to trip me coming down the steps - but she does keep me company. Which is nice, because writing is for the most part a somewhat solitary occupation. There is an online community to which I belong and participate it, but that's not the same as having an actual physical presence here in the house. (Especially once summer vacation is over.)

I'm not the only author with a cat, and certainly not the most famous author with a fondness for felines (mine has the normal amount of toes). But I think I'd rather be a writer with a cat, than without. Or a dog, or just something to keep me company and for me to bounce the occasional idea off of, even if that bouncing doesn't get me much more than a twitched ear. It's nice knowing no matter how frustrated I get at times, there's a fuzzy ball of stress relief over in the corner.

Just so long as she stays there, and not on my keyboard.

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