Whiskertips’ Return, 2017: Unashamedly Catcentric

When I opened Whiskertips, I intended to write about “Books, Cats, and Life in General.” Before long, however, the blog became catcentric, so I created a second blog, Telling the Truth, Mainly,” and left Whiskertips to float in cyberspace for the pleasure (I hoped) of any reader who happened to drop in.

Now I find Telling the Truth, Mainly, where I planned to write about writing and life in general, is following in Whiskertips’ steps, becoming catty.

Today it came to me: What’s wrong with a catcentric blog? That’s life, too. My friends describe me as “the woman whose slacks are covered with cat hair.”

So in honor of all my cats, past and present, I’m reopening Whiskertips. I begin by reintroducing my feline family.

I have no pictures of Tinker, Miss Kitty, Ten-Thirty, Wimple, Ashley, Mr. Peyton, and Christabel, but here are pictures of immediate past and current CEOs.

Chloe, ca. 2005


Alice B Toeclaws, ca. 2005


William, ca. 2012


Ernest, ca. 2012

For the latest on William and Ernest…

For the latest on William and Ernest, please see “Back in the slammer again” on my other blog, to write is to write is to write.

When I created Whiskertips, I didn’t intend to write about cats. The title was a last-ditch effort to find a name not already in use.

I tried Synecdoche, Metonymy, and Contrariwise (a term some people say suits me to a T). I tried Words, Words, Words. In short, I ran through Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, and The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms.

All those years when I didn’t even know what a blog was, people who did were grabbing all the good stuff.

Then, in my moment of desperation, Alice B Toeclaws, resident Muse, jumped into my lap. Voila! A blog was born.

But note the subtitle: Cats, books, and life in general. I expected to do book reviews, family stories, opinion pieces. I wanted to write about whatever came to mind. And for a while I did.

As time went on, however, whatever came to mind became, increasingly, cats.

When I was too tired to write, or when I had nothing to say, I uploaded pictures of William and Ernest.

Then one day, I backed off and took a good look at my creation.

And I didn’t like what I saw.

I was well on my way to being pigeonholed as a Cat Lady.

I am not a Cat Lady.

Yes, I tell stories about the cute things William and Ernest do. Yes, I have chronic backache from scrunching into one-quarter of the bed so William and Ernest don’t miss their REM sleep. Yes, baby-talk is my second language. Yes, I wear cat hair as an accessory. And yes, I post their pictures and write about them as if they were human.

But I am not a Cat Lady.

I am a Writer.

To make that clear, I created the second blog, dedicated to writing.

And I managed to go two whole months without mentioning cats. Then I snapped.

But–and this is important–in that post, I connected William and Ernest to writing.

That made it legal.

But it’s a slippery slope. I know what happens when cats stray in. I feed them. They stay. Sometimes they have kittens.

But not this time. If William and Ernest want Cat Chow, they’ll have to stay on the Whiskertips side of the fence.

Unless they have a very good excuse for trespassing.

The cats of April

Today Ernest and William display their respective attitudes toward photography. Ernest stares wide-eyed. William squints.

I don’t know whether William finds the flash unpleasant or whether he wants to project a macho image, but whatever the reason, in most of his shots he comes out looking fierce, disgusted, or bored. Nothing could be further from reality. His usual expression smacks of deceptive innocence. I think this pose makes him look  like an owl.

Ernest, on the other hand, loves the camera. He keeps his baby greens wide open. Today’s shot catches him resting his head in David’s hand. If Ernest had his way, he would spend his life in that position.

I titled this blog Whiskertips in honor of William and Ernest’s immediate predecessors, Christabel, Chloe, and Alice B Toeclaws, who were for many years our dear companions. I didn’t, however, intend to write solely about cats. Under most circumstances, I would leave a decent interval between cat posts.

Last night, however, I had distressing news. My laptop’s hard drive is on the way out. It is corrupt. Actually, a file has been corrupted, but the other way sounds better.

When the external hard drive, which I should have had two years ago, arrives, and files are properly backed up, a technician will come to my house and install a new hard drive. I shall then send the corrupt drive to the manufacturer and go on my merry way.

Until then, I shall sit in this amazingly uncomfortable chair (a relic of the service station my grandfather, my father, my great-uncle, and various others operated between 1915 and 1970) and work at the desktop. Fortunately, I  e-mailed myself a draft of my WIP before corruption became evident. (I also saved it to a thumb drive. I may be crazy, but I’m not completely witless.)

That’s what I really wanted to write about today. But if I’d announced my misfortune in the first paragraph, it might have seemed like whining. So I started with cats, always an attention-getter, and then segued into unpleasantness. That’s how it’s done. One of my high school seniors phrased it best: “When you’re writing an essay, always start with something that has nothing to do with what you’re writing about.”

Having said what I have to say, I note that this post is about neither cats nor hard drives, but about writing.

It’s amazing how some of these posts meander. If I had time, there’s no telling where we’d end up.

But I’ve spent as much time in this chair as my body can stand. And I still have to deal with the WIP.

And Ernest has just made a nest in a pile of towels still warm from the dryer.

Here we are, back to cats.

Thus are the unities preserved.