Up here in the north country of New Hampshire, we’re well out of the glorious fall colors and moving into the grey-and-brown of late autumn and early winter — fitting weather for enduring the tail end of a particularly debilitating cold, and for contemplating revisions and similar work.
None of it is made any easier by having a large, plushy cat draped across my forearms as I’m trying to type. Having me gone for over a week in mid-month appears to have made her inconveniently affectionate. On the other hand, she’s warm, which will be a decided plus if her new behavior hasn’t moderated itself come January.
Cats, by and large, make good writer’s pets. They’re emotionally self-sufficient, which means that they aren’t going to go into a decline if the human of the household spends a week or so in a deadline-induced fugue (but they’re perfectly capable of demanding attention for necessary things like food — quite ruthlessly, if need be.) They don’t regard the human of the household as a minor god, or even the alpha of the pack; at best they appear to regard humans as mentally challenged, peculiarly-shaped kittens who can, with patience, be taught to understand simple commands. This is good for keeping the writer’s ego in check. And they can catch mice, which — considering the sorts of places writers often have to live — is a positive contribution to household morale.