Write On: Grooving Like Jane Austen
So, I’m sitting here today with my daughter’s cat, Luna, curled in my lap—a happy circumstance. Luna is an adolescent in cat years, and just at that stage where she sleeps a third of the day and spends the other two-thirds racing up and down the stairs and all around the house as if a swarm of wasps buzzed on her tail. She makes quirky little noises, high-pitched trills, and has a sweet meow that almost—almost—helps me forget what a domestic terrorist she is. But today, for this moment in time, she is warming my legs and purring with contentment. Life is comfy for both of us.
I’m supposed to be working on a children’s story for an educational market, a tale about Polar bears, but it’s tough to focus on the Arctic when everything outside my window is a thousand shades of green and singing an ode to Spring.
Luna and I have been joined now by Rigby, our yellow Lab, who is stretched out at my feet and snoring—we’re talking jet engine caliber here. Between his snores and Luna’s purrs my kitchen sounds like a machine shop.
Hey, look out the window. A yellow-headed finch!
I really need to work on that Polar bear story. Did you know that Polar bears range in weight from 800-1700 pounds for males and half that for females, but the cubs only weigh about 1-2 pounds when they’re born? How cute is that?
I’m sitting with Charlotte (my laptop) at the kitchen table, lulled a bit by the snores and purrs of my fur-babies, and watching the birds flutter in the trees and flap over to nosh at the feeder, which is literally only three feet away through the window. Thanks to the slope of my yard I’m 2+ stories up with a close-up view of the activity in the trees, so I can see the lineup of birds before they flutter to the feeder. Right now a couple of chickadees are munching, but a cardinal is getting ready to join the buffet. Yesterday a woodpecker dove in for a landing and shook the place up. He’s beautiful, with his orange-red head and polka-dotted wings, but he’s huge compared to the other birds and doesn’t fit on the feeder very well, not that this discourages him. He’s the big guy in town and he knows it. When he lands his big butt on the feeder, he owns it until he’s ready to leave. That’s one benefit to being less than svelte, right?
Speaking of less than svelte, female Polar bears gain up to 400-500 pounds during pregnancy! That factoid makes me glad I’m not a bear. *stares out the window*
Two squirrels just jumped from the roof to one of the branches in front of the birdfeeder. They can’t get to the feeder, but they’ll stare at it for a while trying to figure it out. Something about their activity woke Luna. The purring stopped and she’s attempting mind control on the birds who remain unaware and focused on their plentiful snack. Rigby just figured out it’s after five and past his dinnertime, so he’s standing now with his head resting on my thigh, tail wagging back and forth like a metronome set to high speed. He’s so adorable, but dang, look at all that fur cascading to the floor. Remember Pigpen from Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” cartoons? Everywhere Pigpen went a cloud of dirt followed him. That’s Rigby, except in his case the fur is what follows him because, damn, the boy can shed!
I wonder if Polar bears shed? Probably not because, well, why would they? I better look that up. Also, did you know that male Polar bears have hairier legs than the females, and that the more hair they have the more attractive they are to potential mates? Okay, and now my mind is cataloging the myriad off-color jokes to which I could veer regarding that hairy leg fact, none appropriate for children. That’s okay, though. It’s all coming together (in a way totally acceptable for second graders, of course). My brain is on the move. All it took was a cat, a dog, a pair of misguided squirrels, multiple birds, and writing about it all to light the fuse.
Point is, I’m on my way, Buttercup—ready to roll. Thanks for sticking with me. And in the inimitable words of Jane Austen: Write on.
So how goes it with you when you have something that needs doing but your brain isn’t fully engaged? If you’re a writer, do you, well . . . write on? If you have a task unrelated to writing, how do you get in the groove? What makes it happen for you?
See you next week for more of the naked truth! Have a great Wednesday. And be glad you aren’t a Polar bear. 🙂