Monday, March 30, 2015

Writer's Block OR How to Motivate Myself

Nasty writer's block.  My muse has been mysteriously absent.  I have a laundry list of things to write and people are writing me to tell me to hurry the eff up and my brain was saying, "I don't think so."  I like my brain, but sometimes it rules and I drool.

Writer's block: "Writing about writer's block is better than not writing at all." - Charles Bukowski.  I like this definition.  It pretty much describes what I'm doing.  Kevetching about writer's block.  I'll do it larger:


There.  It had to be said.  And in blue, because writer's block gives me the blues.

Don't tell Splotch the rescue cat.  He thinks if I'm not actually working, I should be providing a lap for him to sit upon.  He also thinks that the keyboard is his newest bestest friend.  I had to buy a kitty castle so he could park his tuckus upon while I work.

I found another quote while looking for stuff about writer's block:

"I don't believe in writer's block.  Do doctors have 'doctors block?' Do plumbers have plumbers' block?' No. We all have days when we don't feel like working, but why do writers turn that into something so damn special by giving it a faintly romantic name?" - Larry Kahaner.  I'm pretty sure the answer to that question is that writers are prima donnas.  Pretty darn sure.

Where was I?  Ah, writer's block, and also making up stuff.  I have a magazine on my desk with an article about black holes.  I've read the article three times because I didn't understand the first two times.  There's a comment about "confounding general relativity" and "particle physics" which gives me a headache kind of like the kind I get when I've been skipping drinking tea.  I should probably take the magazine off my desk, but it gives me a little cheap thrill to say something about it.  (Scientific American, which is probably something most people like me buy because it helps them feel smarter.  It doesn't make me feel smarter to read the same article three times, but I'm persistent.  Also I like making the fonts smaller in some sentences, just to see if people are paying attention.)

Ideas on how to break my block!

1.  I brainstorm everything in five minutes, even the silliest storyline imaginable.  That one involved radioactive clowns and geomagnetic t-rexes starting a detective's agency in Phoenix, Arizona in an alternative time where aliens helped George Washington discover his feminine side while crossing the Delaware.  I bet no one ever did that one.

2.  I hit my head with a mallet until stars appear.  Or until I wake up in the hospital.  Hospitals are always good for inspiration.  It's the drugs or sometimes the time spent in the ER waiting room where you meet people you will never meet anywhere else ever.  (And they don't give a damn if I change the font size.)

3.  I take a break.  Unfortunately this break lasted two months, but it's better than not ever writing again.  (Harper Lee's got her second book coming out after fifty years, which is essentially something she wrote before To Kill a Mockingbird, which is a different version of the same book.  So she wrote one book.  That's it.  Do you think she ever gets tired of people asking her why she didn't write another damn book?)  I lurve Gregory Peck.

Okay, I'm done.  I just wanted to write, er, expel, er, vomit out, er, rant about my brain for a while.  I actually outlined a whole novella today and worked out the next two outlines on my schedule, so I'm fairly happy.

Hope you all are happy too.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Contemplations of a Fat Cat OR I am Blogging About the Cat Again

In case you're new to this blog, I'm a writer/author/storyteller who publishes independently.  I often blog about whatever strikes my fancy.  My daughter has two cats.  One is Megaroy, the moron cat, a Maine Coon mix with all of the IQ of a box of rocks.  The other one is Splotch, our adopted stray who is now an inside cat.  I often make fun of Megaroy, because I have to, and mostly because it's super easy.

Tell me.  Who wouldn't make fun of that?
I can't count how many times I've used
this picture.  He's totally asking for it.
Of course, there are others because I haz a smart phone with a cameraz.
I also haz a autosketch program where I can do
what I want with captions.  This makes for
much amusement.  (Another photo which is
well-used.  After all, it's LadderCat, with his
ears all sideways.  You know he knows I'm
making fun of him.)
And since I'm on a roll.
Yes, I took a photo of the moron cat playing in
the potty.  I couldn't help
myself.  (There was a bug fluttering around
in the water, in case you were
But now, there's Splotch.
Splotch is our rescue cat.  He was a stray we
fed for about a year until I could get him
to trust me, which was a problem for him
when I scooped him up and shoved him
in a cat carrier to take to the vet.  But
he forgave me eventually.
Splotch is what I would call well-nourished.  Since he was an outside cat, I believe that his reasoning is to eat everything because it might get swiped.  Meanwhile, Megaroy is looking on with a puzzled expression on his face and the obvious thought that went through his little pea brain, "Hey, why ya eating the whole bowl?  It's not going anywhere."  Consequently, Splotch has become fat.  16 pounds at the last vet visit.  That conversation sits on me just about as well as when I have to go to the regular doctor.

Doc: Did you know your cat is overweight?
Me: That explains the back pain I have when I pick him up.
Doc: That's not healthy for cats.  Do you give him table scraps?
Me: I eat the table scraps.
Doc: Haha.  Don't give the cat table scraps.
Me: I don't give him table scraps.  He eats his food and then he eats Megaroy's food.  I don't know why Megaroy hasn't lost weight.  (13 pounds and I got a lecture about that, too.)
Doc: We might have to put him on a kitty diet.
Me: He howls in the middle of the night.  Do you know why?
Doc: Why?
Me: The dry food bowl has run dry.

Of course, this isn't Splotch, but it looks a lot like him.
I thought I had such a fun time going to the regular doctor and discussing weight issues.  Well, it's twice as much fun discussing the cat's weight with the vet.  Why you might ask?  Because I'm getting looked at like I deliberately made the cat eat his food and Megaroy's too.

I have never owned a fat cat before.  Or dog for that matter.  Or goldfish, guppy, parakeet, etc.  We've always subscribed to the keep the-kibble-full theorem.  The animals knew it was there; they didn't stress out.  However, Splotch has food issues.  It's not an issue if he eats it all.

Here's Splotchy in his second favorite locale, enjoying
human leg warmth.  Does that look like a fat ass?
(Don't worry, I don't think he reads.)
And yes, that's an exercise ball in the background.
For some reason, the cats don't want to use it.
Here's my other issue.  If Splotch were any other cat, I would just chase him around the house every day for exercise.  Good for him, good for me.  Win/win.  Problem: he's scared of people.  He trusts me but not if I try to play with him.  It's too threatening.  I can chase Megaroy around all the live long day, and he likes it.  I chase Splotch for about a foot and he goes to hide under the bed for the rest of the day, which is good because he's not eating but bad because the poor thing is scared.
One of Splotch's favorite floor spots near the kitchen.
When Splotch runs his belly swings from
side to side.  I wonder if it hurts.
So I try to get him to play by using string or a cat toy.  I drag it around.  Splotch watches it, bats at it, then falls over, and bats it from a prone position.  I think the cat knows I won't make him work for it, which means he's about ten times smarter than Megaroy.

Consequently, we have a moron cat and a meatloaf cat.  Anyone who knows their Kliban will recognize that, but here's the cartoon for the reminder:
Now I know how to put the cat on a diet.  I have to put Megaroy's food on the table because Splotchy is too fat to jump up there.  (That's going to be a vicious cycle.  Splotchy will lose weight, jump on the table and eat Meg's food, get fat again, and then won't be able to jump on the table again.)

Okay.  Fat Woman out.

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