Or…Things I’ve learned from my cats.
Observation is a key component in writing. It would be almost impossible to create a scene for the reader without having observed it first. I’m not talking about just being able to see something. I’m talking about touch, taste, smell and sound also. Our five senses. And don’t forget about the sixth one. I call it my gut instinct. That thing most of us have learned to ignore.
For those that have indoor cats, you’ll probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Heck, even dogs can be used for this purpose if you’re not a “cat person”. I had a Shar-Pei that I could tell from her barks exactly who had pulled into our driveway or if coyotes were skirting the outer fenceline.
Today, I’ll focus on the feline side of life. Since Murphy and Charlie do their best to keep us on our toes, it’s only fitting I “use” them to help with my writing. Heck, anything to keep them off of the keyboard is a great help. It’s fun to watch them. The wiggling back end right before a big pounce, the frantic swish of a tail signaling either you’re about to be pounced or that they’re severely ticked off at the moment. Or even the rumble of a contented purr and the signal that all is well-the lowered eyelids.
These little tells can be found in every person we know. If we take the time to slow down and observe. The kittehs have helped me in this aspect. I’ve had to slow down and watch. We play hide and seek around the corners of the kitchen and bedroom doors. I’ve had to watch for the tells that they’re about to pounce and try a sneak attack of my own. Their collars sound slightly different when their name tag hits the clasp and I can (usually) tell without looking which kitteh is somewhere they shouldn’t be. They’re weight distribution is different, so I can mostly distinguish which one is walking on me at o’dark-thirty wanting to be fed.
And they’ve helped me become a better writer. I’m able to put more of the observation in than before. One of my favorite parts about writing is taking the time to sit and watch or listen or feel or just be. Right now in the background, I hear the jingle of Charlie’s collar as he scratches his neck and the tinkling sound of the new ceramic water fountain/bowl for the kittehs. It’s soothing and makes writing this post that much more intense. I’m catching the small sounds around me, which helps create the worlds my written characters live in.
I give you license to sit and be for just a little while; writer or not. If nothing else, use the time to simply relax and refocus. It’s amazing what you’ll observe when you let yourself.