Smudging My Words

Southeastern Virginia got hit with a bad snowstorm last week, one we locals are calling “Snowpocalypse 2018.” While I personally did not go outside with a ruler or anything, friends posted photos on Facebook where their yards were more than 12” deep in places. Those of you in more northern states may laugh and call us lightweights, but the truth is that our local area has no reasonable mass transit that can take the place of cars for most commuters, nor adequate equipment to mitigate bad road conditions for drivers so that business can proceed as usual. We just don’t get enough snow every year to make such purchases necessary. So when we do get the one (or maybe two) bad snows each winter that cover our roads with snow and ice for a day or two, many business just shut down.

Thus last Thursday and Friday turned into “snow leave” for my small office. Needless to say, I was as excited as a kid with a snow day, especially knowing I could use that time to work on my novel for four days straight. Then Smudge got sick on Saturday and despite the awful conditions of the roads, we ended up at the emergency vet, a twenty-minute drive that took us forty-five minutes to cover.

Don’t panic … all is well, now. But sheesh, when our boy is sick, I can’t think of anything else. Ya know?

I don’t have any two-legged children, though our grey furbaby demands his fair share of time and attention. He hates our office, with those metal clicky things (computers) that keep us so preoccupied that we don’t jump at his every meow. Sometimes it’s impossible to get anything done in the office, which is why I have a laptop. He is more amenable to my computer work if I am on the couch, where he can sleep next to me (touching my leg, if at all possible), or make pancakes on the cushion beside me. Every now and then he will wake and pat me with his paw to say, “Don’t forget me, mom,” or “I need hugs RIGHT NOW, mom.”

He’s a talker, too. If we ignore him too long, he’ll walk all through the apartment making his displeasure known to all (including the neighbors).

So when we left him at the vet yesterday, I planned to come home and use the time to get ahead of schedule. You know, type uninterrupted for as long as I could while he was otherwise occupied. But that’s not how it happened. I couldn’t stop worrying. He’s an old boy – almost 17 years – so at this point anything could go wrong, and take him from us before we’re ready. Instead of working Saturday, we spent the day on the couch distracting ourselves with mindless television, namely “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries,” on Netflix. Only Sunday morning, after the vet called to say he was better, did I get back to work. I did make my target word count for the day, but after we picked Smudge up that evening, we spent the rest of the evening with him. I’ll probably do the same thing tonight. He’s not back to himself just yet, and his need for comfort has to come first.

Writing is important, yes. I try to do it every day. But some things will win out every time over my characters’ voices. Family is at the top of that list, and Smudge is definitely family.

2 thoughts on “Smudging My Words”

  1. Also have a kitty-boy who is rather need in the attention department..loves to lie down in my lap, esp. when I am reading doing reading/research..! Presently do not have a computer at home on which to write, a real handicap, but he seems to know how to position himself JUST RIGHT so that the legal pad is almost out of reach. Can also safely say that IF I did have a computer or even typewriter, doubtless the critter would lay down in as close proximity to the keyboard as possible, making writing even more challenging..! Seems that many (most?) writers just have to have a cat companion..! LOVE your posts, F.Y.I. Very relatable – and encouraging!

    1. Smudge isn’t usually a lap-baby, though the night before the vet visit, he sat in mine for quite some time. Always a clue that something is wrong. He will try to nudge himself between me and a book, or between me and the keyboard, but he doesn’t try to actually get on the computer. I know he definitely hates it! Thanks for the kind words! I needed some encouragement of my own tonight — loooooong day.

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