A writer and her familiar

I found the bathtub drain cover on the bedroom rug this morning, and the sweet little ceramic bowl from my morning yoga/meditation altar under the bed. I’ve had to delay my morning coffee and give up morning journal writing at my kitchen table. My desk is not my own, neither is my bed, the couch, or that same kitchen table where I used to write first thing in the morning.

Orlando has come to live with me.

Every writer needs her familiar, I know this to be true. Whether it’s a dog as many of my friends/colleagues believe (Jill, Betsy, Frank, Steve, Kristen and dozens more), or a kitty as Midge, Rick, Stacy, June, and many more writers know.)


I haven’t had a live-in furry companion since I lost sweet little Rumi more than six years ago.

But now Orlando.

Orlando and writing: I find I’m having to change my morning routine which has been, for nearly six years: get the coffee, light the candle, open the journal (write write write—there, that’s off my mind), open the notebook or open the computer and write write write. Then yoga then breakfast then “day job.”

Now, it’s an early wake up call—paw to mouth, paw to hair, paw to ear, and a chorus of kitten-sized mews that sound lion-sized to my still dream-fogged ears. Careful not to trip over kitty on way to bathroom where he leaps into the tub (hence the drain cover on the bedroom rug). Then kitchen where, before anything else, we open the can of kitty food. (Note: don’t get the hard-packed loaf kind, especially the trout; get the gravy kind, especially the tuna.) OK. Now we can brew the coffee.

But we can’t sit at the table. We can’t write in the journal. We must stand in the living room, cup of coffee in one hand and the other holding that little laser toy thingy, its red dot sliding up and down the hardwood floor while kitty galump galumps after it, back and forth, back and forth during entire the first cup of coffee. Finally, kitty in rest position, we can get the second cup, get the journal and the pen and sit in the chair in the corner and use the lap desk while we write notes about how much FUN it is to have a kitten.

As for the writing-writing—that is, writing the notebook draft of the memoir that has been a morning practice since mid-2016, well, we’re finding other ways. A writer must always find other ways. This is what our familiars teach us.

Do you have a furry critter living with you? More than one? How does that fit in with your writing? All suggestions are welcome.

Writers and Their Familiars

Somebody’s trying to tell me something. These are a couple of the cards I received for my recent birthday.









And this is the bag that contained a few birthday gifts.

kitty-bagFor several months now (has it been years?), I’ve been talking about getting another cat. I’ve been feline free since I lost my darling Rumi in 2012. I mean what kind of writer am I that I don’t have a cat?

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