The author at work

AS a writer I’m born under the sign of the cat. People born under other signs may have different characteristics but my inner feline knows I do my best work when asleep.

Waking in the early hours with an idea circling, sometimes fully formed, my challenge is to catch it all before it evaporates. I draw the line at sleeping 18hrs per day but eight hours with an hour of dosing does me fine. Spending time in the liminal, I’m in a kitty nap of awareness waiting for something to break cover.

Once I’ve located the nest of ideas, I return to watchfully stake them out and when one starts to run I’m after it. I bat it around, fling it in the air, try to bite its head off, bring it to land, and see what I have. They escape sometimes, scampering off into the undergrowth of sub-clauses. Some of them go flabby on me, others won’t run no matter how hard I poke them.

I would love to be born under the sign of the otter, playful and sociable, or a disciplined sure-footed goat. Have you seen those guys go? One day a jungle, and a month later a clearing with neat piles of manuscripts.

I believe the sign of the sea lion uses flow charts, the chimps storyboard and some weaver birds have the whole thing up in cards from beginning to end before they even begin to write.

But I’ve discovered that, just as walking is a controlled form of falling, language is a leap into the unknown. You know where one sentence starts but who knows where it will end?

After picking up the scent we cat writers just have to pounce. And leap and leap again.

Well that’s this piece killed. Now, if you’ll excuse me zzz….

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