Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Side Effect of Being an Author

I've had a rough weekend: my cat, Mack Fu, the one in the picture that looks so much like Mr. Bond from Madison, got sick on Friday. Technically, I believe he started getting sick on Wednesday, and by Friday, it was definitely time to go to the vet. They discovered blood in his urine and now he's on a prescription diet and lots of wet food so that he doesn't develop crystals in his urine, get blocked up, and have to have surgery (and I don't even want to go into what they do in surgery to male cats so that they can pee again). I've had the joy of watching him every time he goes to the litter box, and a abnormal excitement when he actually goes to the bathroom (I'm sure parents can understand this--at least I hope you can; it's such an odd thing to get excited about!).

There's a couple of things you must understand about me for this post to make sense (and why I'm divulging information about my cat's urine with this is supposed to be a post about writing). First off, I don't particularly like western medicine. It has its uses, but I'd prefer another route, if available. So going to a vet rather than a homeopath for my cat was an emotionally wrought decision (one that I had to make over an over again with each procedure the vet suggested). Second, the moment my cats become ill, I go from being an optimist to embracing doom--in all aspects of my life. Which makes me a real fun person to be around and leads to much weeping and unnecessary stress about everything (mainly about the poor cat that is sick, but it can include everything from bills, the environment, politics, work, etc.). The combination of those two things tends to make rational thought scarce. And yet, no matter how stressed or upset, no matter how indecisive or decisive, excited or angry I got during this entire process, there was always this little voice in the back of my head saying, "Remember this [emotion/situation/phrase/color/painting/person]. You can use it later."

I call this the side effect of being an author. It doesn't ever turn off. It doesn't ever stop, not if you're really driven to write. There's always a part of you that is observing and nearly unconsciously redrafting reality into fiction.

Already, I know there are things I'll be changing in the first Madison book during my final rewrite--scenes with Dr. Love, Mr. Bond's vet--and new information that I "learned" about Dr. Love for future books. (There is also a video that shows in cartoonish detail the way fleas feed off cats that I will never forget either. Who knows, that might make it into a book, too.)

1 comment:

Kate said...

First: I'm glad Mack Fu is feeling better now! (And that you are, too.)

I think it's a great coping strategy for very tough times--to know that at some point, you'll be past the ordeal, and that at least something good might come out of it. (In your case, some material.)

I remember an interview on Oprah with Jim Carrey a LONG time ago, and he was talking about some very emotionally fraught period of his life, when he was sobbing and very depressed, just wandering around his house and crying, but he walked past a mirror and stopped to notice how his face looked. Then he continued crying again and wandering around the house. But I think it's a very similar impulse. And things turned out well for him. :)