Sunday, January 30, 2011

Writing Buddies Blog Carnival: The Shredder Edition

The typical writer's cat is content to curl up for hours at his owner's side, purring subliminal messages of comfort and peace; furry, faithful balm for a weary writer's soul.

And then there's Seamus O'Leary. To Seamus, being a writer's cat is a full-on competitive contact sport. Seamus has only three legs, yet he is undeterred in his pursuit of gymnastic excellence.

This is Seamus. These are his moves.

The Lap-Sit

Easily mastered even by kittens, the Lap-Sit is the foundation on which many of the more complex maneuvers are based. This move lulls the unsuspecting writer into a false sense of trusting companionship. From here, cat can easily segue into:

The Big Sleep

Cat leans toward desk until writer's view of keyboard is obstructed. This should successfully disrupt the work of the novice writer; however, experienced writers on a roll are unlikely to notice. In this case, the move is extended until full lateral contact with keyboard is attained, thus blocking writer's access to the space bar and all mid-keyboard letters. Bonus points if cat actually falls asleep in this position.

The Wrist-Breaker

Essential components of the successful Wrist-Breaker include: 1) forepaws and chest draped over writer's forearm, such that most of the cat's weight is concentrated in the writer's wrist; 2) an irritated stare at writer every time writer uses the mouse and joggles the cat; and 3) ignoring writer's complaints that if the cat would just go loll somewhere else, he wouldn't get joggled in the first place.

Bonus points if cat baps other cat in the head. Championship status if escalation of bapping results in other cat moving to a quieter location. If writer loses concentration and/or temper sufficiently to dump cat off lap onto floor, cat loses round and must immediately begin again.

The Time-Bomb


highly advanced maneuver requires not only agility but a pronounced degree of shamelessness. As there is no way to accomplish this move without attracting the writer's notice, the goal is to astonish writer such that she is willing to see if cat is actually going to go there. Phrases such as, "What the hell do you think you're doing" and "You can't possibly think this is going to work" will assure the committed cat that he is on the track to success.

"Time-bomb" refers to the possibly explosive response of the support-cat, as well as the likely reaction of the writer if one or both cats slip and utilize claws in a desperate effort to regain balance.

Due to extreme difficulty rating, successful completion automatically confers supreme championship status.

The Wrath-Slayer

Deceptively simple, the Wrath-Slayer is an essential move in any writer-cat's repertoire. Highly recommended anytime a previous move ends in disaster (for example: coffee spilled on keyboard; bloodshed. See under The Time Bomb.) When properly executed, the Wrath-Slayer confronts writer with cat's undeniable cuteness, thus ensuring that cat will not be permanently barred from writer's presence.

The Wrath-Slayer may also be utilized after a successful maneuver; before a difficult move is attempted; or anytime cat is in need of writer's adoration as well as restful sleep.

Although the Wrath-Slayer is essentially free-form, it is critical that cat position himself such that every time his writer glances down, she sees cat's innocently adorable sleepy-face. A view of the back of cat's head, for example, is far less effective. It should go without saying that this is not the time to flaunt one's backside.

A DVD with step-by-step instructions to these and other moves, plus tips and tricks from the master himself, Seamus O'Leary, will be available for the 2011 holiday season. In the meantime, to those writers' cats weary of endless boring days full of nothing but the clack of keyboard keys, remember: her office is your arena. Go forth, and excel.

Many thanks to Melissa for putting together the Writing Buddies Blog Carnival! For peeks at other, undoubtedly nicer writing buddies, click over to Melissa's blog, Writing with Style.


Anonymous said...

I have learned that cats have to pick the most inconvenient place to sleep. Even if there are three other open laps on the sofa, they always try to sit on me with the laptop. Silly kitties. :]

Lisa Nowak said...

Oh, this is a riot, and so very, very true. Keelan used to drape himself across my wrists, or curl up in my lap and then stretch out, pushing the keyboard away from me. Now he's content to wedge in between my butt and the back of the chair, though occasionally he has to scale the chair and perch on top, sharpening his claws.

Loki, meanwhile, waits patiently for an unattended laptop. They're quite warm, you know, and make a perfect bed. One time I returned to my laptop to find that he'd opened about 90 windows. Usually he just types several impressive lines of "q"s.

Christine Fletcher said...

Hi, Anon! It's true, cats go for the inconvenience factor--the higher, the better. Even when they look completely uncomfortable themselves. Thanks for stopping by!

Christine Fletcher said...

Lisa, I have a great mental picture of window after window popping up on your laptop while Loki snoozes...

Pushing away the laptop with stretching is something Seamus fortunately hasn't figured out. Although I don't normally work with the laptop on a desk, otherwise he might!

Melissa Amateis said...

LOVED this, Christine! Hahaha...and you're right. The cuteness factor makes us forgive them every time!

Valerie Boersma said...

I loved this-too funny! Seamus must have a whole closet full of gold medals by now-being the master that he is:)

When I am writing, Kona forces me to keep moving to higher ground-one swift swipe of her paw and the computer can get hung up in ways I didn't know were possible!

Christine Fletcher said...

Melissa, I simply CANNOT resist a kitty's sleepy-face...doesn't matter what they've just done, it still gets me right in the gooey part of my heart!

Christine Fletcher said...

Valerie, my dogs have almost wrecked my laptop by tripping across the power cord and yanking. Thankfully, neither of them are swipers (considering that they both weigh over 50 lb!)

Sally Nemeth said...

In her lifetime, Miss Violet mastered many of Seamus' moves except for the Time Bomb. She had no accomplice. My current Writing Buddy is Betty Jane Hen, who likes to hop the baby gate from the backyard into the office. Then I have to get up and, after holding her like a baby, immediately evict her. Can't housetrain a hen, after all.

Cathy said...

Oh, that's funny. When I had a cat, she used to crawl all over me and my computer to get attention. When are you coming out with another book?

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

Oh, this is funny! "Professional cat on a closed course" really made me laugh. Seamus sounds like the kind of pet who will never let you forget his presence for an instant. I like his name too.

Christine Fletcher said...

Sally--Re the Time Bomb, I'm not sure Molly was an accomplice so much as an innocent bystander. Getting sat on certainly wasn't HER idea. :)

Oh, Betty Jane Hen! Such a companionable bird. It's a shame about the whole housetraining thing, or she could cuddle up on your lap for hours. I bet she'd like that.

Christine Fletcher said...

Catherine, cats are persistent, aren't they? I think it's part of their charm. Which is how I know I'm going to be a crazy cat lady someday. (My boyfriend might say it's already happened.)

Don't know when the next book might be out...but when I do, blog readers will be among the first to find out!

Christine Fletcher said...

Elisabeth, I wish I could take credit for Seamus's name, but that's the work of my boyfriend. It does fit him remarkably well. And you're right, he does like to be the center of attention. :)

Walter Rowntree said...

Sherman is so sweet. If I pull over another chair he will leave the keyboard and curl up and sleep quietly next to me for as long as I want to geek. Apache, though is addicted to whatever rays are between a monitor screen and the operator's eyes, and must interpose himself.

Christine Fletcher said...

Walter--Love the concept of irresistible rays between computer monitor and operator's eyes. It does explain a lot of cat behavior. :)

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