After I drew the doodle and sent it to the Hoffmanns, however, something strange happened. Jilanne’s son, Liam (the fellow who wanted that cat pic), and I developed a correspondence. In so doing, I slowly learned that he and the entire Hoffmann family – despite their cat fancier instincts – are lovely people.
This knowledge has helped me to grow significantly as a person. And I am grateful.
As a sign of this newfound friendship, I offered to draw the Hoffmann’s another doodle.
Jilanne replied: “Oh, you are too kind! Liam is very excited. When I asked him if he had a request, he immediately grinned and said, ‘a very naughty kitten to go with the naughty stamp-shredding cat.'”
Are you people trying to get back on my Enemies List?
I love the idea of sitting in an Adirondack chair on a sunny day with a pad and a pen. There’s something so romantic, so wonderful about writing in nature. So, once in a while, I give it a try.
And then the pollen goes up my nose. And the bugs bite. And the sun get too hot and my hands get sweaty, and, since I’m a lefty, I smear the ink with my sweaty hand – which is not such a big deal because I’m not writing anything worth keeping anyway, because every time a leaf crinkles, I look up in eager anticipation of finding that feral cat that I oh, so wanna hit with a rock because NO ONE menaces my squirrels without hearing from me, buddy!
So I guess what I’m saying is that, when I try to write in it, nature distracts and annoys me.
Otherwise nature and I have no real problems. It often delights me. When the weather is right, I could stand around in nature all day interacting with it in the most genial and stupid ways. For example, the other day I caught myself waving at a squirrel. He didn’t wave back – that would be asking too much, I suppose – but he did seem to take the gesture in the spirit in which it was given and that pleased me no end.
Better still, I have discoverd that actions such as these improve my writing.
I have the bad habit of chaining myself to my desk. Even when my brain refuses to work, I stay put. In general this could be defined as good self-discipline. You can’t just sit around and wait for the muse, after all. It never shows up when you want it to. Since the words aren’t going to write themselves, I muscle through.
But every writer reaches a point when good self-discipline evolves into something that looks a whole lot more like masochism. Nothing’s gonna come no matter how hard you try.
So I pry myself away and tell myself it’s not procrastination if I deliver myself back to the desk eventually. Then I take a walk and wave at squirrels. Doing so restores my overall sense of well-being. It provides the second wind I need to get back to my awful, awful writing and make something that at least resembles progress.
Better yet, such a walk allows me to pursue my new hobby: feral cat chasing. In the grand scheme of things, saving a squirrel is always more important than a well-written paragraph.