Hey gentle readers, did you see that I had two pieces on the cover of Open Salon this month? One was a reworking of last year’s Mother’s Day post (which the editors chose to run under the heading “This Mother’s Day…treat yourself to some porn?”). The other was a book review of Emily Gould’s And the Heart Says Whatever. Which reminds me . . .
I don't remember the exact date of my blogiversary, but I think we're coming up on two years pretty soon. When I started, I hadn’t written anything in years (thanks to all those lucrative-but-mind-numbing jobs and all that not-so-lucrative-but-soul-consuming parenting of newborn babies). But I’d been reading a lot of memoirish stuff by writers my age or younger, including Gould’s infamous NYT Magazine piece. It was the sort of writing that people are always wringing their hands over: “Oh no, young women are writing about themselves! How dare they!”
I suppose there’s some inevitable and perfectly justifiable jealousy when someone gets a book deal for the same sort of stuff you couldn’t get away with in all those writing workshops. But instead of finding it discouraging, I was inspired. Not deluded into illusions of fame, you understand. Just really, truly inspired. I had all these hilarious coming-of-age “nothing happens” kind of stories floating around in my old journals, not good enough to spin into fiction. But maybe I could just . . . write them the way they were. And maybe people would actually read and enjoy them, just as I was reading and enjoying other women’s stories.
So, here we are. It’s hardly the stuff that 1980’s montages are made of, but I’ll take it. After all those years of struggling with it, I’ve found a medium that works for me and I’m simply writing again. I’ve loved having this little virtual open mic to try out my voice and share my thoughts. Thank you so much for reading. And stay tuned . . .
Thursday, May 6, 2010
“My cat’s breath smells like cat food.” – Ralph Wiggum
Oh, you knew there was a cat! How could there not be a cat? Mia’s been with me since the carefree Philly single days, and she turns 15 on Friday. (That’s right, I know my cat’s actual birthday.)
Anyway, I thought a few words might be in order to honor the little Brown-Brown. We’ve been through a lot together, we two. I was in my twenties when we joined forces, still relatively new in town, all underemployed and lonely, sharing a 20th-floor apartment with my sister. Getting a cat seemed like the next logical step.
And maybe it was a coincidence, but somehow my life took a dramatic turn for the better when Kitten Mia moved into that apartment. Sure, I still had my crazy-lady boss and disappointing attempts at dating. But now I also had this furry little anchor of sorts, always there to stick her paw up my nose to wake me up in the morning. Even sitting around watching “Dr. Katz” felt more exhilarating somehow with a kitten leaping all over the apartment or purring on my shoulder. She made it feel like home.
My sisters and I anthropomorphized the hell out of her, of course. She was more Beezus than Ramona, we decided; a bookworm and a student of science. Even the vet joined in, claiming that if Mia were on “Friends,” she’d be Monica. At some point we imagined she preferred Celine Dion to our music. And she had a red gun like Agent 99 on “Get Smart.” You know . . . to scare away the dogs.
As the year went on, my job got better and my social life started picking up. That summer my sister moved to DC and Mia and I moved to a new apartment on Antique Row. We had the whole second floor to ourselves, complete with wall-to-wall shag carpeting and lots of windows for her to chatter at the squirrels and stalk passing busses. Best of all, there were real mice! All we ever had at the old place was the occasional cockroach or centipede. But this place had a steady supply of mice for Mia to chase and – occasionally – catch, wound, and release to die in the walls somewhere. Good times.
Mr. Black showed up about a year later. Mia was no fan of his at first, but eventually he won her over with his ability to open a can of cat food. Next thing you know, we were moving to Seattle. I got on that plane with just three suitcases, a purse, and one very confused little Mia in her Sherpa bag (which fit neatly under the seat in front of me). Other than some frantic digging when the plane first took off, she traveled pretty well.
Everything kind of blends together after that. There was another apartment for a few years, and then the house we live in now. There were bad jobs and good jobs, some neighborhood riots, an earthquake, a wedding, and lots of lazy days in between. There were babies, which Mia has recently forgiven me for bringing into her home. She’s even come to grudgingly enjoy the little man-cubs:
And now the old girl’s about to turn 15. Which seems so old, but at the same time it kind of fits. She’s been with me for practically my whole adulthood – through all those friends and boyfriends coming and going, through all my different hair-colors and glasses frames, from cuddling with me after a bad date to cuddling with me after the kids are finally asleep. She was the first member to join this little nuclear family of mine. She’s seen it all.
Aaand now she’s squawking at me to turn on the bathroom faucet so she can have a drink. I guess that’s as good a place as any to conclude.
Happy birthday, little Mee-loo.