Monday, March 11, 2013

Here Kitty, Kitty

The mind of a writer
I have come to the realization that I am a crazy cat lady.

I'm still slowly working my way through Bradbury's essays, although I'm almost done. I've got one more essay and then what appears to be a collection of poetry. It's one hell of a read and one I recommend for every aspiring writer. He talks about his experiences writing everything from short stories to screenplays, and at the very least, you end up with the knowledge that the way you feel about your work isn't wrong. Or maybe it's just me, but in any event...

The last one I read was an interview regarding his rewriting of one of his short stories that became a full story, then several adaptations for film and stage. While the talk of changing the story and some serious editing was interesting and informative, the bit that stuck out the most to me from this essay was his comments on how he writes. He said if a story was being troublesome, if an idea wouldn't give him more information, he WOULD NOT work on it. He'd turn his back and go do something else. Ideas, he said, are like cats. If you chase after them, they will ignore you or run from you, but if you let them be, they'll come to you and let you create them.

Could any analogy be more appropriate? Ideas are generally refered to as plotbunnies in some circles, but that's not really accurate, is it? We want our ideas to be like dogs. We want them to be happy to see us, to bring us all their favorite toys, drop them at our feet and then roll over for belly rubs before settling down to never leave our side, leaping up at the slightest sign of us giving them attention. We are their master and they our devoted worshipper. But they're not. Oh no, they are not. We are the peasants in their kingdom, the slave to their whims. We work on THEIR time. They will come and go as they please and you never know when or if they'll come back. If you catch them at the right moment, you may see them playing with a toy and pretending you don't exist (and god forbid you catch them, you won't see them for hours after that.) And if you happen to WANT to give them attention, you may get lucky and the idea will ALLOW you to bask in its glory and maybe you can pet its tummy or it'll sit on your lap. Or it'll bite you and bolt off before dashing in and out of the room at random intervals teasing you with the briefest of glimpses.

And yet, AND YET. You still keep bringing in the others you find because you can't turn down an idea looking for a warm head to settle into.

My fellow writers, we are all crazy cat ladies, and there is nothing we can do about it. We need these cats. At least they don't wreck up the place like the real ones...not until someone invents a way to see inside our heads. Scary thought.


  1. This analogy made me giggle. It is really fitting too. I wish my ideas were more like my cat. She thinks she is a dog. She greets me at the door and follows me around all day.

  2. This is one of my most interesting posts about ideas and things like this that I've read. That is a wonderful analogy, though if ideas were like my dog, they'd sit on me so I can't move until I give them all my attention and get angry when strangers come nearby which would make it difficult to get other things done!

  3. Crazy cat ladies unite!

    I wonder what mine really is. It's a plot hydra which calls itself a bunny still, with a mind like a box of cats.

    I don't even know where to start with the tentacles.