Saturday, November 15, 2008

authors' mews

photo: Murdo Macleod

Today is turning out to be cat day. Here's a Guardian article about authors and their cats:

"The author lives in a converted barn in the West Country with her partner, who is a human rights lawyer, their two children, and four cats."

How many times have you read that, or something like it, in a writer's biography paragraph at the front of a book? How many author photographs have you seen with the distinguished man or woman of letters cuddling an unprotesting feline? Just what is it about cats that makes writers think we need to know they have an affinity with them?

What is it about cats and writers? That's easy. Cats encourage stillness. They settle on your lap when you're sitting on the sofa drinking a cup of tea; if you have no book to hand, you have to roam amongst your own thoughts rather than filling your mind with the thoughts of others. Cats creep onto your lap when you're at the keyboard and fall instantly asleep. You have to stay at the keyboard while they whiffle through their mice-hunting dreams; you end up writing an extra 300 hundred words.

I miss Zack.

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