Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Flying off in Weird Directions

Man, last week's post was weird and this week's post is even weirder. It's basically what I learned from cats, dogs and other animals. Because it relates to writing, or maybe it shows how truly twisted I really am.

I got the idea because I was sitting at my computer when my dog snarled. He caught sight of one of the cats who had crept up, wanting to jump into my lap. The dog, although not sitting my lap (because he's *way* too big) objected to the cat doing so.

However, the cat, being the unfazed male that he is, jumped up anyway. On the same theory, one supposes, as those little guys you see in bars who always seem to get drunk, get in a fight, and get the holy heck beaten out of them.

Because you see, after I thought about this incident, I figured out why it seems like woman often have cats for pets and men often have dogs. Because cats exhibit many of the same traits as men and dogs exhibit many of the same traits as women.

And a lot of men like women; and a lot of women like men.

So--back to the guy in the bar.
That guy--he's sort of like my orange cat, Psycho, who completely ignored the dog's growl and did what he wanted to do, anyway. But then, that's why we called him Psycho--he has no sense of self preservation--or any sense, for that matter.

So here are a few generalities. Like any good generalities, exceptions prove the rules.

How Are Cats Like Men?
  • They are frequently aloof and patronizing. They show few emotions and often prefer just to be left alone to sit in their chair at night, watching tv and drinking a beer
  • They rarely come when called (just where *is* your husband, anyway, when you try to call him for dinner?)
  • They're independent and do what they want, when they want to do it (Honey, can you fix the back door? I'll get to it, dear...)
  • They moan and whine for food but when you've got dinner ready on the table, it's not exactly what they want and they just pick at it
  • They want affection when they want affection and it's basically a rub here, a rub there, and then they're gone
  • They're up all night wandering around and howling while they expect you to be right there at home when they manage to drag their sorry behinds back to the house
  • No matter what they look like, they think they're the best looking thing in existance and everyone really wants them
  • They occassionally bring home the odd present, thinking it makes everything okay and proves they're wonderful, big, strong providers

How Are Dogs Like Women?

  • They're always happy to get any attention at all
  • They want to be with you
  • They greet you at the door when you get home from work and they're eager to go out (particularly out for dinner!)
  • They love rides in the car
  • They'll eat anything
  • They're affectionate
  • They come when called
  • They'll do their best to get you out of a jamb or protect you from the big bad police that just arrested you for drunk & disorderly
  • If they get something nice, they'll bury it to save it for the future
  • They can be very chatty
  • They're eager to please and sociable. They're often the peacemaker in the family and are often the ones who find and attract new friends when you go out to places like the park
  • They like to run around in pairs or packs, particularly when going to the bathroom
  • The longer you rub them, the more they like it

Now that you realize how totally true this is, you can use it to your advantage in your writing, the next time you're trying to develop a character.

I mean, when I need to write about some cool hero, I'll just use Psycho, our little orange cat, as the model. We never wanted Psycho. We didn't go out looking for a cat. We just heard a lot of barking one day and found this little orange nutjob--er--male cat sitting in our dog wood tree, observing the dogs going insane because this cat had had the nerve to walk into the yard with 3 strange dogs and eat their food. And then, he had the balls to blithely come down out of the tree and glom on to us humans, not showing the least concern that the dogs totally hated his guts. He could not have cared less. Sort of like that little guy in the bar who is always getting beaten up and can't figure out why.

And this darn Psycho refuses to leave.

He also refuses to listen to anything anyone says or does. If he wants to sit in a lap, he sits in a lap and doesn't care if that lap is busy at the time or if other animals in the vicinity wanted to sit in the lap or are mad that he is sitting in the lap.

He's also toothless, has a split-scared lower lip, and has the worst breath on the planet. His tongue hangs out of his mouth like some kind of drooling, inbred, Deliverance cat. He's ugly, too, no way around that one. But does he realize it? No. He thinks he's the best looking cat around.

Sound familiar? Like that pot-bellied, 60 year old guy with a bad toupee riding around in a red ragtop thinking all the 20 year old babes are just dying to go for a ride with him? Oh, yeah, baby. Psycho.

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