Now available at the Kindle Bookstore with much love and gratitude in memoriam for my dearest editor and friend Elizabeth Roberts. For an excerpt click on “Rocketing To My Grave”. up there in the menu bar.
Meow-Meow came out of a box in a parking lot near the shores of Gray’s Harbor Washington. The lady holding the box said that she’d had her shots and was of Siamese and Calico descent. Pastel Calico at that. We didn’t know about the other part yet.
She had this cute little pinkish patch on one side and a smudge a smidge darker, and larger, over her back. Her not-quite-black tipped tail looked as if she’d gotten too close to a campfire. Of the four choice kittens in the bunch it was agreed that she was the most adorable.
The lady had said that the litter was weened and had suffered their kitten shots and but for a weepy little squint in her left eye she was perfect. She came home with us. She complained the whole fifteen minutes in the car ride home.
Meow-Meow enjoyed her first birthday in soggy Aberdeen, a harbor town that literally floats on the engineered tidal sands built up way back when. There she had seen her first snow. I had fashioned a small platform in an east window for her to languish in the sun; On those rare occasions when the sun actually burned through the harbor fog that is.
The lady of the house was just not happy with the atmospheric situation of the times. One chilly winter morning, outside the two picture windows in the living room, the snow was falling gently in wet gobs of wonder. At least it seemed to the cat. She didn’t much care for it on her paws though. The out-of-doors frightened her.
While I was at the mouth of the wood stove taking care of business, Fuzzy (her current pet name) was on her perch in the window sill swatting and pawing at the snowflakes falling just beyond her reach outside. She was adorable—I had to grab my camera. Now that she’s gone I’m extra glad for that camera.
As Meow-Meow grew into our lives the climate took it’s toll on the lady of the house. The times reminded me of that old saw “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” The cat was almost a full year old when the decision came to escape the harbor’s gloom for cheerier skies down south. We celebrated her first birthday in sunny Arizona.
The Fur (one of several developing pet names) HATES road trips and she made the point very, very adamantly. She was quite satisfied to be anywhere but on the road. That was no surprise, but we were in for a few there in Arizona.
It turns out that Meow-Meow wasn’t such a chicken after all. In Sun City we had wild wabbits. Lot’s and lots of wabbits too. I enjoyed the quiet early morning hours watching her watching outside the sliding glass door to the patio as the sun rose: Her eyes darting and tail tip flicking excitedly, just wanting to play with whatever that was out there.
Our area was on the outskirts of town along the “New River” bed—coyote country. We weren’t keen on letting her out and the Home Owners Association weren’t either. Meow-Meow had a different view on the subject however.
The lady of the house wasn’t as light on her feet as the cat and there were two exterior doors between the living area and the laundry room. It didn’t take long for Fur-Fur (who is neither the “lady of the house” nor I) to figure this one out.
Once the seal was broken I never could fix it. She devised strategies involving hideouts and deceptions that I thought much too tactically sound for an ordinary cat. It’s one thing to be a sly and crafty predator. Watching her develop tactics and strategies to defeat the hand that feeds became laughable.
There was more to her. Like for instance—she sometimes would just not shut up. Some say Siamese are a little mouthy by nature and I had come to think that perhaps her Calico part was also half Siamese. Now that she was a year old, her pink spot had developed an orange spot in it, and the dark spots on her side and tail were getting darker. She was really a good looking cat: everyone said so.
Meow-Meow never quit loving to run around under the bed-covers, hide under anything that wasn’t nailed down, or crawl into a box, a bag, or a bucket. The only thing she liked better was escaping to the great outdoors. I wasn’t happy about that and neither was the lady of the house.
The first time The Fuzz didn’t come home after escaping we agreed that she was probably in process of becoming coyote dung. Their baying often came from a nearby golf course and the wild dogs had been reported to move around among the unfenced yards.
Well lo-and-behold the next morning I found her on the roof. That critter was a fine example of feline fur. She was quick and she was strong. She made up for her diminutive stature with the weight of her wits.
After a couple of complaints from the old codgers in the area it was deemed improper for Meow-Meow to go outside. She had started using a neighbor’s horseshoe pits as a litter box. She didn’t get the memo. We offered to clean the pits twice a week but unfortunately it turned out to be unnecessary.
Like the unsinkable Molly Brown, she floated to and fro as she saw fit; and if you don’t like it try to catch me – Ha! Her time in Arizona wasn’t to be long. The lady of the house was beginning to come out of a funk that began a couple of years past. Her husband died then her mother passed on shortly after.
I had seen her to Aberdeen and made repairs to the home and grounds. Meow-Meow and I had seen her to Arizona and made repairs to the home and grounds. It was time to move on so the lady of the house could find her happiness.
Once again we found ourselves on the road. “Gattita” was her nom de retard for this evolution. Well, that is, along with all of the others. She didn’t seem to care what I called her. I could call her monkey and if she felt like coming over for a yank on the tail she would. If not….
The sunny north San Diego county foothills are where we set up house keeping when it was all said and done. A cat’s paradise–where it rarely rains and the summer time is hard to beat; anywhere in the world.
(End of Part 1)
What at first looked like paradise soon became a little less for the fuzz. My beloved kitty wasn’t keen on dogs and there were three BIG DOGS at our new digs.
My friend had invited me to stay with he and his wife while I got situated in our new village of Fallbrook, California. It’s quite an idyllic little place. I kind of snuck that cat in under the radar for the first week.
I had returned to Arizona to pick up a load of my stuff and when I returned Meow Meow was missing. My room was tossed too. The mattress was sideways and the covers where all askew. It didn’t look good.
That dang cat went missing for a week and I thought sure she was a goner.
One morning I went out and called to her and danged if she didn’t magically appear a hundred feet down the road at the dead end. She was skittish and it took me a few minutes to get my hands on her.
My Lord she was a mess! She had mud all over and stunk to high heaven. It seemed she had been hiding out in a small culvert that emptied into the barranca (geological drainage) behind the property.
When I headed to the house Kitty Cat wasn’t to happy. It was a struggle getting her past the dogs. I had to carry her by the scruff of the neck so as not to get clawed. Meow-Meow wouldn’t go out of her window for a long time.
The very last time she went missing she was gone about three weeks. I decided to check the neighborhood to the west. The street was blocked by a neighbor’s fence so I drove about a mile to the street in question. Serendipity was on my side as I lucked into meeting a tenant at her mailbox.
When I explained that my pastel Calico kitty had gone missing the lady affirmed that she was staying here at her neighbor’s home. I knocked on the door: no answer.
I returned the next day, later in the day, and met the folks who took her in. The man of the house was taken by that little shit and it looked like she liked it there. There were no dogs present.
Meow-Meow came out of the house and into the garage via the big garage door. She came to me and let me pick her up and pet her…for a moment anyway and then she wanted down.
I let her down and she proceeded to walk over to the food and water dishes to give them a sniff and looked up at me. Then she strolled over to her litter box and did the same motions. The icing on the cake was when she walked back over to me standing just inside the garage door.
She plopped down right next to the line where the inside edge of the door came down and with tail wagging took a look at me and then generally surveyed the scene. It was clear that she was calling this home now.
I told her new family that I would bring the Kitty kennel, food and water bowls, brush, and whatever else was for her. I did so the next day and as I walked away some tears formed and trickled down my cheek making it hard to thank the new owner for permission to visit from time to time.
The family moved miles away not to long after and I still think about that dang cat years later.
It’s nice that these artists had a day in the sun, don’t you think?
Thud! That’s how it felt. That realization that after having given very serious thought–even to the point of getting meditative for weeks and weeks–that realization was that something had to change NOW.
That lonely road out of the barren, dry, dusty, void that had come to be a “safe harbor” would be my route to salvation. I say safe harbor because, after all, nobody was shooting at me. Nobody was knocking on my door in the wee hours seeking to drag me off into the darkness like in some Druid ritual. There were no things-that-go-bump-in-the-night keeping me up at all hours.
What there was however was the fact that I had dropped over twenty pounds in the last few months and if something didn’t give my friends were going to start talking behind my back. No, no, no-I wasn’t on some kind of “Program”. I just wasn’t eating right. There was no money.
After a lifetime of working in the service industry, whether as an electrician–HVAC/R technician–handyman–or some type of sales, I found myself slowly starving. I had dropped two pant sizes and was forced to punch new holes in my belts.
There were weeks on end during which time I have a few coins in my pocket and enough fuel in my rig to get me to a job site and back. The roof over my head is a gift.
What had happened was this, about seven years earlier I had made a promise to myself (I never promise to anybody else) that henceforth I would be “Independent”. No more J-O-B or slavish takings. The Captain of my own ship now was I. And that was the beginning of a brand new life.
Trouble is a word. It should be a four letter word. Like love and hate and push and pull but much more troubling. The trouble was that the economy went in the tank and all the life giving water had drained out of my safe harbor and I was hard aground with nowhere to go but up (I could see no sign of an incoming tide either).
Hell! I want more out of life I told myself. After all, I was used to getting what I wanted. In my twenties I wanted to be a musician and play in a band-for money. That went pretty much according to plan.
The next big idea? I’m going to be a marine electrician and work on the waterfront. I like boats. The money’s pretty good too I hear. The next thing I knew I was the only electrician at a successful boat building company in Southern California.
These were nice BIG boats. The four that I wired were all around 100′ length overall. Over three and a half years I got pretty good at it too. Innovative as well some would say. Then BOOM!! The wife-the divorce-the dismal failures all came crashing down.
Dusting myself off and taking a look around I had this bright idea: Hey! I’m a darn good marine electrician and I think I need a break from all of this T-R-O-U-B-L-E. I was so arrogant that I had no regard for the possibility of failure so I made the decision. Later in life I learned that that arrogance was actually self confidence with a little pride mixed in. I gave the pride a heave-ho a few years back.
A few days later I had a little stack of seven resumes all dolled up in clear presentation folders complete with a nautical motif ready to announce to the BIG BOYS in the yachting community that I’m ready to bring my special magic to their dreary lives aboard those floating hotels.
There is much to be said about thinking big. You know, “Aim for the stars and hit the moon” and all that. About two weeks after mailing my packages to all seven yacht brokers world-wide the telephone rings…
On the other end is Rick. Rick says that while waiting for his girlfriend to finish up at the yacht brokerage office on their way out to lunch, he happened to thumb through my resume. Naturally I’m thinking this is some kind of joke.
Rick goes on to say that he knows a boat in Fiji that would probably like to have me as Second Engineer-would I be interested in cruising up to Newport Beach California to talk about it. Let me check my calendar–right?
A couple of months later I’m standing in the dawn’s early light in Nadi, Fiji with two quarts of smuggled in peanut butter by request of the crew. What a magnificent Yacht! Around a hundred and fifty feet in length. That little excursion took me around the world to some very exotic places. On a whim-or was it willed?
I‘ve gotten a little off track here. Some say I suffer from attention deficit. I think I’m glad to be alive. So back to starvation and the exit strategy.
My unpublished book resided quietly among the zeros and ones of several different storage devices. My several blogs have helped me understand a little bit about the potential of the internet. And now I find myself seeking to understand whether or not I have what it takes to ramp it up a notch and actually DO SOMETHING.
BOOM!! That was months ago and I have to say that I have never worked so hard and so long for free. Holy smokes! Day after day–night after night 8-10-15 hours at a stretch. And why not? My phone’s wasn’t ringing and nobody was beating a path to my inbox. Thankfully that all changed as if a secret switch was flipped.
Now it’s time to wrap this up with what I really wanted to say to start with. After digging around, and clicking, and saving, and reading–and reading–and reading some more it occurs to me that I’m wasting some valuable time. Here’s why:
- Over the course of the last several months I have studied the works of too many noted authors, copywriters, creative writers, and other kinds of writers to remember.
- My “writing resources” bookmarks folder links to well over 100 sites.
- My desktop writing folders now have hundreds of articles written by dozens of acclaimed authors-SEO experts-copy writers-email composers-splash page makers-editors and MORE!
- Of the many websites out there available for freelance hook-ups I’ve signed up with a few and am offering proposals. The best of all is that the book is ready for Kindle, People are buying my writing, and readers are liking what they’re reading. What’s not to like about that?
- Printed material I pick up at the store, the library, the barber shop–all of it presents an opportunity to think about how it affects me–how I might do it differently. It’s not so just about the story anymore. It’s the content-the punctuation-the layout.
- One thing most of the authorities agree on is this. If you want to be a writer, start writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll never stop exploring all of the new ways to succeed as a writer. Copy-writing is very appealing. I started with creative writing and slid into legal writing out of necessity.
I don’t know how this is going to flow but it feels pretty darn good so I think I’ll see where it leads me. Thanks for taking your time to read through to the end. Now it’s history. I have to write now.
To your Bliss,
Attention Serious Thinkers:
I’m a no-nonsense kind of guy. If you ask me, nonsense is for nonsensical kinds of people. Do you remember how much fun it was being a kid just full of nonsense?
When my son was a small child he would get all wrapped up in his own little world of nonsense-sometimes driving me to the point of aggravation. That’s when nonsense is for the birds.
Of course we all know that there is a time and place for this mind-set. The nonsensical goes a long way to enlivening a fantasy film. What childish cartoon would be complete without a double dollop of nonsense anyway? And then there’s politics.
Now when you get down to talking about scientific writing it’s a sure thing, and I do mean a-sure-thing, that the audience will flat-out shun any hint of nonsense.
How might one attempt to foist even a shred of credibility when espousing the charms of space capsules painted pink or purple when everyone knows that space capsules are white for goodness sake. Well…maybe silver on rare occasions.
Wouldn’t you admit that no one’s getting far into their trek to the peak of Everest with a mixture of Nitrous Oxide in their breathing apparatus. The team might have a few laughs along the way but don’t look for any monuments testifying to your pinnacle achievement-right?
So…you think you want to get something done. That’s outstanding. Let’s get started. And remember my personal favorite mantra–“Lead, Follow, or get out of the way”!
Sometimes people get put off by my no-nonsense approach but you know what I tell ’em?
I’m only kidding!