Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! We’re two weeks into November, and this is our second week of writing about something that we can be thankful for since it is the season! Last week’s prompt asked you to think about your friends and how thankful you are for them, whether they are old friends, new friends, close friends, lost friends, etc. Last week’s prompt didn’t include one group of friends that I’m certainly thankful for: the four-legged friends. In my case it’s cats, but I’ve had dogs in the past and am certainly a fan of giving pets a good home.
I’ve always been cat crazy, even as a child – yet, I wasn’t allowed to have a cat (or any pet for that matter) until I was nearly ten years old. So, it was a dream come true to have a cat of my own, and my first one was named, Kitti Tom. As an adult, I didn’t own a cat for many years (exes that hated cats…and they’re long gone…the exes that is!), then the first one, Scribbles, came to me when I was thirty-one. Scribbles was with me for eighteen years, and she had many other cat siblings along the way. I’ve not been without a cat since, and never will. My cats (right now I have Graham, Tink, and Fiyero) give unconditional love, and are a great comfort to come home to after a long day at school. I’ve written about various cats in my life, but “Unexpected Visitor” was published in the book that I co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson: Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013), and was about one of my favorite cats of all time, Jonathon. He was another that lived to be eighteen years old! Here is that poem:
Lovers came and went,
but for eighteen years you graced my lap,
you slept next to me, and followed me
around the house. You didn’t care
if the dishes were done, or if
I gained a few pounds, or shed a few tears.
You were there, a purring anchor –
even as your spirit was leaving me.
Jonathon, you came to me
in a dream last night, strong,
healthy and handsome. You
ascended the wooden stairs
coming up out of the basement,
ran into my open arms.
You reveled in my touch,
I cried your name –
my one constant. (47)
My pastel portrait of Jonathon:
With your four-legged friend in mind, whether it be cat, dog, ferret, horse, rat, etc, here is your twentieth prompt:
1) In your daybook write down a list of every pet you can remember from your childhood until the present day. After you have your list, some will have pages, others will just have a few, write down the descriptions and some memories of each one. This will give you tons of writing to work with. You will also see that as you start working with your memories of your pets, other memories of that time period will come rushing back as well – write it all down. Then the next time you think you have a “writer’s block” (of which I don’t believe in as long as you write SOMETHING every day) then you’ll have a list of memories and subject matter to use anytime.
2) You should have a list of pets…even if it’s two or three, that’s enough. Now take that list and concentrate on writing about your favorite pet, the funniest pet, the pet with the best personality…or the worst, and as you write down certain traits other ideas about your four-legged friends will come to you, and jot those down as well. One of the hardest things to write about, yet is very rewarding, is writing about a beloved pet that has crossed over (like Jonathon). You will find a lot of tears while writing, but it’s nice to have a tangible memory of your pet when you’re finished.
3) Find photos of your pets, write to those photos. Who is in the photo with the pet? Where was the picture taken? What year? How old were you? Your pet(s)?
4) With your favorite genre in mind, take any of these prompts and write as much as you can for as long as the material is coming. When done, take your work and revise it – cut out unneeded words or memories that don’t fit in this particular piece (but make sure to save those memories somewhere as they might fit in some other future piece!) By the same token, add material/images, if needed. And just revise, revise, revise!
As with all writing, this “Fur-ever Friends” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.
Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!