A. Cat passed on a couple of years ago. He was big and white and unruly and benignly despotic. I generally avoid euphemisms such as “passed on,” but I do not have a better phrase for what happened with him; for he simply disappeared, to my consternation and sorrow. But I occasionally saw him thereafter. The first time, he was big as life — I was making coffee and he came trotting out of the bedroom and loped through my kitchenette toward the sliding glass doors that led to the deck, steps and Long Island Sound … and he vanished into the near-blinding morning sun. It was so real that I followed him and, once again, looked everywhere for a cat who was no longer there.
Since then, I have mostly caught him on the edge of my peripheral vision, every once in a while. And I have heard him. He was a bit of a muse and I think that he knew that, and he will forever have a voice and a place in my head, no matter what other characters, real or imagined, walk about in there.
He helped me loads with my first short magazine piece after I returned to writing for print in 2004, enough so that I gave him the byline, which was rather less than he deserved if you look at it rationally, from his point of view. As though yours or mine mattered …
Cats know a thing or two about magic, and A. Cat knew a thing or two more than most cats. There is no doubt in my mind but that he will find his way back into print. I have a folder with his name on it and a dozen pieces in it, ranging from snippets and one liners to completed essays to the first chapter of what could be a somewhat lengthy work of fantasy fiction, which I don’t really write except when A. Cat is too much with me.
Enough foreplay, he’d say. Get on with it. And so … regarding Christmas: Continue reading