Random thoughts from an animal-loving French prof / mom of three on things she finds beautiful, funny, sad, or strange.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why the black cat?

Some of you are probably asking, "what black cat?"

Others probably figured it was the black cat in the blog's photo. (You're on the right track.)

Still others are probably just now realizing this blog even has a cat in the title, black or otherwise. After all, I promised the blog would be in English... and promptly decided to keep its original French title.

Anyway.  The black cat.  Le chat noir.  The one having all the deep thoughts, a.k.a. les pensées.

The black cat of the title reflects two of my great lifelong affections: all things French, especially Paris, and cats. Well, I actually love all animals and can truly claim to be both a dog person and a cat person (not to mention a horse person, a wolf person, a cow person, a lemur person... pretty much anything but a snake person). Cats, however, seem to take up a large chunk of my life both physically and emotionally.

This particular black cat, the one in the title, is actually an amalgam of two black cats. One is the stylized feline of elongated whiskers and eyelashes in the Tournée du chat noir poster that can be found on pretty much every souvenir stand in Paris. It might be ubiquitous to the point of cliché, but I can't say as I care.  I like what I like, and a huge copy of that poster graces my living room.

Opposite it, infinitely more precious to me, is a needlework replica lovingly stitched by none other than my incredibly creative and talented mother. If only I had her skill and patience!

And next to this, you'll find the black cat's friend and soulmate, a spectacular blue cat I found in New Orleans.

There are other cats too, some in posters and some whom I have loved and who live on in photos and in my heart.  One of those is the title's other black cat, my handsome short fellow in a tux. His name is Lucky and he is the one in the blog's cover photo.  He is the first pet I owned as an adult. Although he was by no means the first animal to own me, it was the first time I'd experienced owning only and above all each other, there being no one else around to force either of us to share.  In fact, when we first met, I briefly considered naming him Napoleon for the way he marched into my apartment and appropriated my favorite wing chair for his own personal use. But a friend suggested the more prosaic name of Lucky, which stuck, though I was just as likely to use the nickname "Boof," which accompanied him like an invisible cloud. Anyway.  He was, still is, even all these years after crossing the Rainbow Bridge, my Lucky, a piece of good fortune covered in silky fur.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Return of the black cat

I started, then stopped, this blog in 2009.  I started because I love to write and sometimes it seems like people enjoy reading what I have to say.  I stopped because I felt like I was creating a virtual persona and because I caught myself writing for revenge, which is never a very good reason to do much of anything, especially write (I have since deleted those posts).

So why am I back?

Good question. Mostly, it's because I still love to write and I think I'm getting better at it.  I'm even taking classes, attending workshops, attempting a memoir.  I'm also back because I'm currently on the outs with Facebook and have never been interested in other social media except for a brief flirtation with Tumblr.  At the same time, part of me loves the sense of worldwide community and connection the Internet can provide (on its good days, anyway). I'm thinking, perhaps wishfully, that this blog can help me plug into that.

Things are going to be different this time around, though. I originally started the blog to talk about what it's like to raise a troubled child. I'll still write about that sometimes because it matters and because we don't talk about mental illness enough. But there are some people out there already doing that, and often doing it better than I ever could. Try these two for starters:

Home, A Soft Place to Fall
Welcome to My Brain

More than that, however, is a realization that my life, and my child's, is about so much more than his mental illness. We live in a wonderful and strange world full of its own unique joys and sorrows. That's what I want to write about, from here in my little corner of the Kentucky mountains.