Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November IWSG

Good morning, writers! Are you ready for the Christmas season? Every year, stores start throwing out their Christmas wares earlier and earlier, but this year was the first that I saw Christmas being pushed a full week before Halloween! And it wasn't just stores. My kids' orthodontist had her office completely decorated for Christmas. What's the rush, peeps?

Anyway, it's time once again to share our insecurities via the monthly IWSG. A big Ho, Ho, Ho to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his merry band of elves co-hosts:  Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

This month's optional question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

I was somewhat creative before I started writing. I took fine arts courses in college for sculpting, drawing, and painting. I liked to decorate. 

Writing, however, makes me stop and consider how to relate the world and my experiences in it with all the words stored in my brain. (Unfortunately, some of them tend to get lost these days.)

For example, this past month has been difficult. My dear cat, Mr. M, passed away after a long battle with thyroid disease. Our family is devastated. 

Mr. M is the third cat I've lost to old age and illness in the past five years, yet his passing really threw me deep into the dumps. Why is that? Unlike my other two kitties, I didn't pick Mr. M out from a shelter. He introduced himself to us shortly after we moved into our house waaay back in 2003. He showed up at the front door, peering in, and, being a cat lover, I couldn't have been more delighted than if a unicorn had appeared. 

I started leaving out food for this magical cat, and he repaid our kindness by staring into our windows and sliding glass doors with an eerie, Buddha-like calm, until our indoor kitty, Sidney, would wake us all from a deep slumber, yowling as if some fiend had broken into the kitchen and was chopping her into pieces with a hatchet.

After a few years, our fluffy moocher earned a name: Mr. Mistoffelees. Eventually, he decided we were trustworthy enough to pet him. But it had to be on his terms. I stopped petting him one day in the yard and turned my back to resume some yard work. Well, let's just say he went full-on assassin ninja with his claws and teeth into my bare legs.

At the seven year mark, I started letting him into our house. Or rather, he decided to grace us with his magnificent presence. Winters in Rochester can be very bitter and nothing pleased me more than seeing him snuggled up on the couch with one of my daughters.

As the years passed, he became more calm and less bitey around us. In fact, he became a total lap cat. I would lay down on my bed, bringing the covers up to my chin. He would crawl the length of my body and settle down on my chest, his nose two inches from mine, his claws kneading my neck. I'd rub behind his ears, along his cheeks, and under his chin until drops of smelly, tuna-scented drool plunked down on my face. Sometimes he would rub his nose all over mine. 

Good times. Great times.

He could have done some serious damage to my eyes or face, but he didn't. I trusted him, and apparently, he trusted me. This cat was well known throughout the neighborhood and had many fans, feeders, and providers of outdoor cat homes. Our neighbors have stories and memories of his visits dating back to 2000. (He once slid open someone's screen door, to let their cats escape.) He was Jasper. He was "The Mayor." 

Yet, for some reason, we were the lucky ones. He picked us as his home and I am so grateful that he did.