Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cats and Writing

Lots of writers have cats; I'm curious about whether they contribute to the process. As for myself, I need to have living things around (plants, critters); I can't function in a dead environment. Also, I think I have undiagnosed adult ADD, so I need to have some occasional flashes of movement.

Kurt and I have two cats, a black-and-white stumpy Cymric named Boris and a brown tabby longhair named Pyewacket. Pye was named after the Siamese in the movie Bell, Book and Candle; Boris was named by his foster mom. He had a sister, a calico rumpy Manx named Natasha. Pyewacket has been with us for a year and a half now. Before him, we had a wonderful orange tabby Maine Coon named Ziggy, a very bitchy morbidly obese black female named Ele Ele ("black" in Hawaiian), and Kurt's beloved calico Anais, named after Anais Nin. All three have since gone on to kitty heaven.

Personally, I find male cats more engaging than females. I also like how they will play with one another and stay out of my hair. I know that contradicts the first paragraph, but the females we've had in our lives are very jealous, and they attach themselves to one person and demand unquestioning nonstop loyalty from that one person, and frankly, I just don't have it in me. OTOH, Kurt misses the utter devotion he got from Anais, and I think we need to find that for him. But neither of us feels ready to get another cat. The big pitfall, of course, is that you expect the new cat to be just like the old cat, at least in personality; but cats are always so different in personality. So getting a new cat now, while the memory of Anais is so fresh, is probably a mistake.

Nevertheless, it's tempting to look at the shelter web sites and, isn't it? I just wish I didn't feel like an adulterer in doing so. But, truth to tell, I feel even guiltier when I look at adoptable dogs on those sites.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Is it werewolf weather?

Beautiful day. No more snow but a cold wind is blowing. I was working most of the day--work for pay, not werewolf-related novelizing. (And the power was off for several hours on south Bainbridge Island.) So now I feel guilty for getting no work done on the novel today. Tomorrow won't be much better. I suppose a person has to earn a living, though. Right?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Werewolves on Bainbridge Island

So what is this project I'm working on now? Well, it's a novel. About werewolves. On Bainbridge Island. No, actually, they are on a fictional island that shares some attributes of Bainbridge. That's probably all I should say. A screenwriter friend advised me not to tell anybody what I was working on "because people will steal [your] ideas." It's a sad comment on our times if that is so, but I suppose it's better not to take chances. And I suppose it's the reality of this business since it's certainly the reality of the American workplace in general, isn't it.

Bad Britton, bad! Far too cynical!

Anyway, I've never paid much attention to werewolves before because they just didn't interest me that much. If you asked me what kind of writing I dabbled at in my spare time, I would have said historical fiction since the one manuscript I did manage to complete was set in the 1920s. But this idea came to me involving werewolves, and somehow I felt compelled to pursue it.

So here I am, ten chapters into the second draft, and praying for the wisdom, talent, and discipline to finish it. I would like to have had vampires as my subject. Vampires are sexy. But no ideas presented themseves (leastwise, nothing that Anne Rice didn't do, and do way better than I ever could). So werewolves it is.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Enough with the White Christmas Already

Kurt and I shoveled the driveway--all 500 steep curving feet of it. And that took some doing, let me tell you. We shoveled it all, only to find the street is still not drivable without chains and four-wheel drive. Neither of which we have. So we're not heading out to spend Christmas with Kurt's family after all. And I don't mean to complain, because after all, it translates into more writing time for me.

But seriously. We haven't had a mail delivery in seven or eight days. We haven't had any TV reception in five days. The melting ice is so heavy, it's torn the gutters off the house and last night wrenched the satellite dish off the roof. The Bainbridge Review has made it through, but the only Seattle Times we've gotten in the last week has been the Sunday edition. Stir craziness has set in in a major way. We do have power, but we're keeping the heat down to conserve, and frankly, it's too cold to concentrate on writing. The saving grace is the beautiful redheaded woodpecker banging on the willow tree outside the dining room window, where I'm sitting now.

If you're on the island, or anywhere else in the Northwest, for that matter, you're probably experiencing similar weather. So let's imagine ourselves settling back in at our desks and grinding out another scene together for our respective novels. Maybe if you build a fire in the fireplace, the muse will come and sit a spell.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A White Christmas in the Northwest

Here it is, Christmas Eve 2008, and we are snowed in on Bainbridge Island, WA. My beautiful partner, Kurt, has just given me the thing I really wanted, the thing I wanted most, the sweatshirt of the Peanuts characters from the Signals catalog. We've just watched the Polar Express. What a great Christmas movie!

And we're lying on the bed with our two kitties, Boris and Pyewacket, both boys. We're debating whether they need a sister, since we've lost both our female kitties in the past year. We're looking at the Seattle/King County Humane Society Web site,

And the main thing on my mind is the novel I'm trying to write. I recently left my job because I received the message deep in my heart that it was time to get that book done. So that's what I'm currently all about. Merry Christmas, all! Details to follow.