Although I generally eschew the “writer” tag (when it is applied to me) I must accept it and its baggage while I am actually writing because technically I am a writer while I am writing.
Although I generally cringe at the idea of a writer working on his “craft” I sometimes aspire to being somebody who has a craft to work on.
It is said, by writers and people who talk about writers, that a writer only has one or two stories to tell and it is those one or two stories that he will tell over and over, banging his head against the wall of self-deprecation because he can imagine the story much better than he can tell it.
So I have this story I have told several times now over the last week, mostly verbal recitation but also written once to a friend in Oakland, and it is about my life as a catbox fabricator. I sit down to write about something else, or while standing up, or sleeping, or eating, or walking, or talking and thinking about sitting down to write, and I cannot think of anything to say because I cannot get past this one story, the story of my decline; or is it an ascension? that has me falling off the high horse of idealism.
My previous lifestyle, in New Orleans, although undeniably too cloistered, too “all by myself”, perhaps not rich enough, and needing some improvement, was at least simpler (and therefore better)? in the sense that I didn’t have to tell too many lies to maintain it. I was what I was and that’s all that I was. And Shorty accepted that.
Now by “lies” I am not talking about the stuff of Peyton Place but more the stuff that just might fall under the category of mis-communication or lies of omission, or lies of convenience. I have slung the meaner, more accusatory word “duplicity” around while talking about this idea, mainly because it’s hard not to consider the global situation right now and how that lying we grownups all accept as somewhat necessary has gotten us, as a country, into, I’m sorry but it’s time to complete that “high horse” metaphor above–a heap of shit. At one point I was putting myself on the other side of the fence from it, duplicity that is, implying that my ideals protected me from such weak behaviour.
All that though was before I became a catbox fabricator. Before I took that paint stick and made cat prints in the fine, deodorized sand of expensive cat litter to hide the fact that I had been keeping Herman outside all night, providing him, although against the wishes of his owners, with an autonomy I thought he might like.
That feeling, brief though it was, of satisfaction, at the realism of my fake cat prints and the added sense of job well done at the authenticity I created by flicking some litter onto the floor, was the beginning of my remaking from whoever the hell it was I brought here. Slim, are you still with me?
Anyway, it could be said that I am happy, much as I am capable of it, and Herman, who now spends his nights up on Christine’s bed, seems really happy too.