Thursday, 29 July 2010

Teenage Kicks

Writing is, believe it or not, a tiring activity, and can also be emotionally draining. So having finally completed the first chapter of my memoires, I felt I owed myself a little R&R.

I started the evening by popping into the Marquis to find out who was around, and see if anyone was up for a big one. I ran into the usual Crabtree Lane suspects: Murphy (my on/off boyfriend), Blackie, and Molly. One thing led to another and before we knew it word had got round and we had something of an impromptu street party going on. One of the cats had the house to himself as his owners were away* so we all piled in through his cat flap and raided his kitchen. I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all (his owners always keep a well-stocked larder).

You know there's a point on any night out, when the evening could go either way? Kind of like a 'Sliding Doors' scenario where in one version everyone goes home to bed and wakes up fresh as a daisy the next morning, but in another version a collective decision is made to take the party to the next level? Well that happened to us last night, and let's just say we didn't decide to call it a night. Instead, some bright spark (it could well have been me) suggested that we do a 'house crawl' along Crabtree Lane to see if we could pick up any more cats, and possibly more munchies en route. Molly the tabby started moaning that we might get caught and decided to stay put - she's all fur coat and no knickers that one - but the rest of us set off in pursuit of good times.

As usual, I was de facto leader, so I slipped in through the conservatory door of Murphy's next door neighbour Kim. I've been in Kim's house loads of times before, and I know where she keeps the refreshments, so I headed straight for the kitchen. I turned round expecting to see my gang right behind me, but instead I realised (too late) that the door had been shut behind me and I was trapped. Not only that, but Kim was picking up the phone to call my owners (or the police, or possibly both).

I couldn't believe I'd been so stupid! Molly's words of caution were ringing in my ears, but yet again I'd let my heart rule my head, and now I was going to pay the price for it. I spent the next 10 minutes yowling in the kitchen, trying to warn my gang (who I knew were waiting for me outside) to leg it, but I also knew they probably couldn't hear me. Meanwhile I tried not to think about how much trouble I was going to be in with my owners. I was aware that I had not been home for a while (OK, two and a half days) and that they'd been trying to contact me. Anticipation of the inevitable telling-off, combined with the humiliation factor of having the party broken up by my owners, meant that this was not shaping up to be quite the evening I'd had planned.

Sure enough, before long I heard a car pulling up outside, followed by a knock on the door. I could hear my owner's voice thanking the Kim for calling, and apologising for my behaviour (slightly unnecessary, I thought - no one got hurt!). Next thing I knew the kitchen door was open and Kim was picking me up to hand me over to my owner. Obviously I did what any self-respecting party-cat would do and exploded into a frenzy of claws to try and escape. The shock of my reaction succeeded in loosening her grasp long enough for me to jump. If I'm honest I didn't really have a long-term plan, other than somehow to make my escape and then lie low until the dust settled. The plan didn't work though (damn those slippery tiled floors!) and I soon felt my owner's hands around my middle.

As predicted, all the gang were waiting outside the front door, to witness my final humiliation of being carried like a baby to my owner's car. Murphy made a futile show of solidarity by following us to the car (even sitting in front of the wheels by way of protest). Molly on the other hand was unbearably smug (as usual), observing proceedings with a look of 'I told you so' written all over her face. I let out an audible growl in her direction just to let her know I had noticed, but even this earned me a rebuke from my owner.

I was thrown, rather unceremoniously, into the back seat of the car, where I pressed my paws against the window as we drove off, watching the desolate faces of my friends disappear into the distance.

In my Sliding Doors alternative life, I am probably lying in a sunbeam right now, wondering what to do with myself today -who to visit, what adventures to have. Instead I am in the proverbial dog house, being told to get on with my writing and not cause any more mischief.

I know where I'd rather be.

*I'll preserve his anonymity so he doesn't get into trouble

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Writer's block

I have recently begun writing my memoirs. As Harpenden's premier celebrity cat I felt it was only right and proper, and I have made at least 3 advance book sales to Facebook friends alone.

However, I have discovered that the path to literary greatness is not an easy one. It's a lot more challenging than writing a status update, or even a blog (about 70,000 words more challenging, to be precise). The good news is that my agent tells me that what my book needs is 'a journey'. You've come to the right cat, I told her, journeys are my speciality. One time I even got as far as Wheathampstead. Turns out this wasn't quite the sort of journey she had in mind, but it's a start.

The main problem I'm facing at the moment is the perennial scourge of the author: writer's block. It's not so much that I don't know what to write, it's just that there are so many - dare I say it - more exciting things I could be doing with my time (all in the name of research, of course).

For instance, I started writing a chapter about my favourite Harpenden pub, when I suddenly realised I couldn't remember the exact layout of seating options there, and nor could I recall precisely the cupboard in the kitchen where the chef keeps the tuna. Among writers this is known as the 'tyranny of detail', and of course it meant that I had to pop down to aforesaid pub and sample both the seating and the tuna in order to be able to continue writing the chapter. If you can imagine this scene multiplied by a thousand, you will have some understanding of my current dilemma.

There are also the numerous distractions of writing at home to be overcome. My desk overlooks the back garden, which at this time of year is positively buzzing with activity: cats passing through, wildlife taunting me, sunbeams just waiting to be napped in. Plus I have to cope with the added distraction of the little people in the house who, when they are not trying to distract me with their toys, are pestering to use my computer themselves.

I am trying to console myself with the fact that JK Rowling managed to write Harry Potter during her baby daughter's naps. Clearly, where there's a will there's a way (although did JK also have a facebook page and a blog to maintain at the same time? I doubt it). But if JK can do it, so can I.

First, though, I think it's time for a nap.