Writer’s Block

My paw taps on the computer desk, a staccato accompaniment to my brain’s attempts to unstop a persistent blockage.  All my creativity seems to have evaporated. Instead, thoughts mill around like a crowd of rebels that will not be forced into submission. I can feel my shoulders hunching tensely into the nape of my neck, which just won’t do at all. Giving up on the blog for the moment, I leap down to the chair and settle with folded elbows tucked snugly beneath me.

Recent memories of a less than satisfactory breakfast (hard kibble – again) bump up against hazy recollections of meals back in my home country, England. I was born in a barn on a Devonshire farm and my mother taught my siblings and me to hunt for mice up in the haylofts. I may live a cushy life in a new country now, but still enjoy a good hunting session now and then.

Other thoughts join the fray…a slight tangle with Periwinkle early this morning left both my fur and my feelings a bit ruffled and then, to top that off, I accidentally vomited on my favourite blanket when trying to catch a little late morning shut-eye. Sadly, no one was home to whisk it away and replace it with clean bedding. So now I sit here at the computer, in the rainy gloom of a coastal autumn day, fighting the urge to forget my blog and bury myself under the duvet of Jacob and Miranda’s bed.

However, experience has proven to me that writing out my thoughts is the first step toward clarity of mind so, without further contemplation, I position myself with new determination in front of the keyboard. The first thing that comes to mind is a word I discovered in an article I read the other day. Concatenation. Of course, I looked up the word in an on-line dictionary to find that it is pronounced exactly as written, with the stress on syllable two (oh joy!) For the last couple of days, I have been rolling the word around in my head, enjoying its complicated rhythm and cadence. The definition seems especially relevant to my present state of mind:

Con-cat-e-nation [kon-kat-n-ey-shuh n]: a series of interconnected or interdependent things or events.

“Why relevant to your state of mind?” you may ask. As I have mentioned, my breakfast this morning was as dull and unimaginative as possible. Kibble is fine, but day in and day out, morning after morning, month after month, is enough to insult the palate of any discerning cat. After a bite or two, I turned and marched toward the door to see if I could find better pickings out in the neighbourhood. Emerging from the cat flap, I noticed an appealing symphony of birdsong coming from the direction of the large tree next door. Our neighbour had thoughtfully hung a bird feeder full of seed on one of the branches.

Hunting instincts at full alert, I padded quietly to my spot behind the wheel of the neighbour’s car. Having settled there, I focused intently upon a few incautious birds that were swooping to the ground to pick up stray seeds. I was about ready to strike when who should come blundering around the corner of the house, but Periwinkle. With a distinctive lack of both finesse and brains, she leapt toward the tree. The whole flock of delectable creatures took off in a chattering cloud of alarm.

Periwinkle – the disgraced hunter

Looking surprised and disappointed, Periwinkle turned and headed in my direction. Driven by understandable frustration, I reached out with claws fully extended and swatted at her fluffy tail. She hissed and, to my surprise, reached under the car and pawed right back at me. It seemed politic to turn tail and trot briskly back to the serenity of my own home, where the kibble awaited. The subsequent vomiting was just icing on the proverbial cake.

Exhausted from these disruptions to my morning routine, I curled up on Jacob’s recliner chair. Before drifting off to sleep, I thought about Periwinkle’s attack on my person. It seemed quite out of character. Or was it? I don’t like to think I might be wrong in my character assessments, but had to face the possibility in this case. “Yes,” I admitted sleepily to myself, “I will have to re-think Periwinkle.”

Now, in the process of recording these incidences for your perusal, I remember one more thing from my early farm life. When my mother was showing my siblings and me how to hunt for our supper, she shared a piece of wisdom that has stuck with me over the years. Funny I should recall it now.  “Each creature sees itself as the centre of the universe. We assess everything from that viewpoint.”

She meant that we should try to see things from the point of view of our prey in order to better predict its movements. Right now I apply it to the concatenations of my morning. The wretched kibble got me thinking about hunting, which sent me outdoors earlier than usual, just in time to witness Periwinkle’s hunting mishap, which impacted my own plans considerably. This, in turn, was followed by our exchange of swats, hence the somewhat jarring realization that Periwinkle’s universe is not quite as I’d imagined.

The life of a thinking cat is not a simple one, is it?  On the bright side, my writer’s block has disappeared.

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Photo credits: 

Contemplative cat – http://www.flickr.com/photos/latzko/4425142410/

Birds –  http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunto/3273480015/

Periwinkle –  http://www.flickr.com/photos/netzanette/6100501480/

Upside-down cat –  http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexanderino/233669703/

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