This morning, as I conducted my morning routine of dressing and eating, my cat, Sundae, tracked me down multiple times, yowling like a wrongly-convicted felon. I had to carry her down to her food (I don’t know how she became such a Diva) and stroke her back while she ate. As soon as I’d leave, she’d follow me and begin pestering me again until I repeated the process.
I later ran into an article that compared a writer’s inspiration to a cat. Inspiration is unlike a dog, who, regardless the circumstance, is always ready to play if given a toy and an active audience. A cat, however, controls any situation or relationship, and will choose to invade a lap, keyboard, or book when (and only when) it chooses. Taming the feline species if it desires freedom, on the other hand, never ends well, and may well result in numerous injuries. Similarly, when inspiration strikes, it is undeniable and takes willpower to postpone, but when it hides, very few attempts to lure it out will come to fruition.
Despite the inconsistency surrounding inspiration, I find that the most difficult part of writing comes not in finding inspiration, which exists in even the most commonplace item, but in deciding among the vast buffet of inspiring occasions. This comes through not only in writing, but in all forms of art, or any decision making process in life. Imagine a single pet nuzzling up to your side, seeking affection. Now add a second to your other side: you have one for each hand and can keep everyone happy, though it probably redirects your attention from any other activities you may have been involved in. What do you do when another creature comes up to sit in your lap, while three more jump at your back, and the cute dog at your right hand is trampled by a larger one fighting for a chance at your loving touch?
To give the yipping chihuahua at my feet some attention, I did manage to get my college essays out last week, and they certainly fit the model of the crazy cat lady. I had a prompt to respond to by “petting my cat” and sharing a tradition I challenged, but there were many cats pushing against my skin as the applications of my central action affected each classroom I sat in last year. I wrote a paragraph for each stage and every setting, and finally settled on one kitten to let into my lap as I perfected the story of the physics classroom. Often, choosing to jot notes or write short blurbs about everything satisfies inspiration without letting it go to waste or absorb the presence of all else in the world.
To please the calm calico in my arms, I’ve added one of my older (crafted when I was younger?) works that I submitted to a middle school program about 5 years ago. I’ve neglected the art concentration that I had promised early on. It hasn’t acted out to seek my attention, but its presence has tugged at my consciousness for a while.
Finally, to care for the horse nuzzling the back of my neck: the saddle sores will not last. The abuse from the other jockeys cannot take down a strong, free mustang. I apologize for the tacky mascot use, but it truly does fit. For every story I hear and read of another high school student and classmate hurting, I see strength and resilience coming out in great individuals that have set their minds to doing something with their lives, whether that be finding their own direction or taking the time out to care for a friend. The sense of community that can be found is profound as individuals find the strength to share their pain and reach out for help, then others find the confidence to add words of encouragement, wisdom, and understanding. My prayer is that through deep connections we may all come closer together as the season of transition and celebration (and I suppose finals) takes control of our lives for a short time, before relinquishing it back to our struggle to retain the best normal possible.
Keep keeping those kittens, puppies, parrots, stallions, and all else satisfied!