Friday, February 13, 2009

My Writing Buddy

I have two cats, Mayan and Squeak. I sometimes refer to them as black but, if you see them lying in a patch of sunlight, you notice that there is actually a complex mix of brown and black in their fur. They are able to diaappear into the shadows, but this also lets them seem almost invisible lying in a patch of brown leaves.

Anyway, Squeak tends it ignore me when I am on the computer. Such things as writing are beneath her notice when there are better ways to spend her time, such as sleeping on the end of the sofa, washing herself, sleeping under the coffee table, chasing Mayan, sleeping on the china cabinet, letting Mayan chase her, sleeping under the kitchen probably get the idea.

Mayan, on the other hand likes writing. More precisely, he likes spending time with me when I'm writing. He usually announces his presence by meowing. If that fails to get more then a 'hello' and a quick head scratch he will, very gently, sink his claws into the back of my calf. He's gotten good at startling me without ever breaking the skin.

He's learning that I have a low tolerance for this and he will be shut out of the room if he persists too long, so the next step is to hop up on the desk and talk to me. His favorite place to stand is directly in front of the screen. When I move him to the side he has several options. He may perch sphinx-like on the desk, and watch me with unconcealed disapproval. Alternatively, he may amuse himself by sliding various objects to the edge and watch them fall (the game is so interesting that he can play for hours).

He has discovered that the most comfortable place to lie is directly on top of my mouse (the irony of a cat on my mouse hasn't escaped me). He curls up on the hard lump of plastic with boneless grace and purrs contentedly. His face looks so innocent as if he's saying, "Hey, I'm just a cat looking for a place to nap. I couldn't possibly understand how this is interfering with you, could I?"

Sometimes he will even help me type. I have to say that, as smart as Mayan is, his writing is not very sophisticated, and contains many errors. Still, there is a certain elegance to a sentence like, ;loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo';

Mayan's favorite place to nap is in my chair. He waits until I'm leaning forward to make his move, and manages to slide into the very narrow space between my back and the back of the chair. He snuggles down until he is as tightly wedged in as possible and begins to purr. I welcome these moments and reach pack to pet him before resuming my work. He gets the closeness he wants so much, and I get a lot more done. I also find his warmth of him against the small of my back, and the drone of his purr soothing.

It's not efficient to have a writing buddy like mine, but it can be very nice.


Bobbie Metevier said...

Well written, Matthew, but I though I was your writing buddy!

Psst, if you toss some sinister activities into this post, you can send it off to Cat Tales Magazine.

Matthew Baugh said...

LOL! So I have two writing buddies, and one doesn't shove things off my desk :)

Cat Tales sounds fun. I'll have to write something for them.

Victorya said...

Every writer needs a cat, it's a law or something. Purfurably a Hemingway polydactyl I hear. And isn't the tale that Mark Twain named all his cats (a copious amount) after satan?

Mine used to like to lie on the keyboard, she knew how to innocently put paws on CTRl/ALT/DEL at the same time. All accidental of course:)

Sounds like you've got a great partnership there, congrats on that.