Monday, June 29, 2015

Sometimes The Cat You Need Is Not Always The Cat You Want

This is Squirrel. She's a rescue I took in four or five years ago. At the time, she was a bedraggled, sickly, love-starved little hairball less than a year old. She's filled out quite a bit since then.

Squirrel is not the cat I would've chosen for myself. She's a gray tabby - ordinary in every way, shape and form. Compared to my older cat, she's not as smart, not as graceful, and not as pretty. Also, she's female and I prefer male cats.

This is Figaro. He's a 13-year-old black manx I hand-picked from a litter of fluffy, healthy farm cats. Figaro is very smart, very patient (most of the time), and very independent. He owns me as much as I own him and has been with me through college, grad school, and many other life stages. While he's a beautiful, healthy, active kitty, he's never been a lap cat and he's not about to start now.

The closest he comes to sharing my space is perching on the back of the couch above me, or on the back of my chair when I'm sitting in it. He often nudges me for a belly rub when he's curled up next to me on the couch.

Though Figaro is particular about the attention he gets, he's social and likes to be around when visitors (including nephews) are over. Squirrel is not social. When visitors come by, they'll never see her, because she hides. She can spend whole days hidden, and only comes out when the voices and footsteps of strangers have gone.

For as shy as Squirrel is, she's very much a lap cat, and has adopted me as her human. This means only I can pet and cuddle her. Only I can call her and she'll come. When I'm around, she sticks to me like glue, and showers me with all the kitty affection in her furry body. I make her feel safe, and I'm very glad I do.

When I rescued Squirrel, she had acquired a disease that attacked her immune system, made her fur fall out and her coat greasy. It made her gums sore, and eventually made all her teeth fall out. I took her to different vets, paid quite a bit of money, but they all said the same thing. The only thing they could do was give her steroid shots, and when those caused her to become diabetic, I'd have to put her down.

I began to pray for Squirrel. When she'd paw at her face because of the pain, when she'd drool smelly saliva over my blankets, when her jaws were so swollen her tongue poked out of her mouth, I'd pray for her. I kept praying and I started seeing improvements.

First, she stopped shedding so much. Then she stopped drooling. Her jaws weren't swollen anymore, and she stopped pawing at her face. Eventually, she was as healthy as you see her in that picture.

However God touched my cat, I'm thankful. I didn't choose her, but she chose me, and loves me unconditionally. While my manx boy is protective, my tabby girl is loving. I'm glad I have both - the cat I wanted, and the cat I need.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Why I Stopped Praying To Get An Agent This Year

What I discovered in a year that made me come to this conclusion:

  • There is no one way to become a successful author/illustrator.
  • Flash and short stories are quick, fun little nuggets of entertainment, and the market for them is nothing to sneeze at. 
  • Maybe I'd rather be an illustrator first.
  • My novel needs revising.
  • I don't like revising larger works and need to learn how to motivate myself
  • Procrastinating results in a lot of valid work that is not a novel. 
  • I can submit that work to magazines.
  • I don't need pressure from editors right now.
  • Balancing my drawing and writing is not easy and I need time to figure it out.
  • I have a million things to do outside of working on my novel.
  • There's something better for me than what I thought I wanted.

That last one is the biggest of all.

Recently, I submitted a story only to later discover a higher-paying opportunity I couldn't take. This taught me not to be hasty and not to assume the first thing I see is the best thing out there. Taking hits from query rejections and stressing over finding an agent isn't the only way to become traditionally published. That's not to say I won't ever query again, but I'm going to be smarter about it when I do.

Have you changed your mind about a big goal you once had?

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