Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bugsy Made Me Do It

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." ~ George Bernard Shaw

I played last night. Bugsy made me.

About the same time every night, at o' dark thirty, Bugsy must come inside. This six year-old feline rules my heart. But I am Alpha kitty, so he minds.

Every night for the last few weeks, he trots in and snarfs his treats. (Yes, I do know that these are the real reason he minds.) Then flops down on the floor, next to the chair where I commune with my laptop, and cleans himself. He's OCD like that. Must lick something on his body at least a thousand times a day.

When he's done licking, he sits on his haunches and meows. Tiny little 'let me out' mews. I tell him no and keep clacking, ignoring him. The mews crowd together, almost rapid-fire, and become full-on meows. I look at him and shake my head and tell him firmly, with attitude, "No!"

"Yeah right," he yeowls, intent on manifesting an open door, not quite understanding why this works the rest of the time, then all of a sudden it doesn't.

I call him over and he sidles up to my hand and pets it.

It was then that I heard him.

"Play with me." His eyes said it. His body said it.

It's oozing out of him, loud and clear, "Stop pecking on that thing for five minutes and play with me."

So I did. We played 'slap the mouse around' first. Then 'bat the string'. For twenty minutes he was the center of my Universe. We played. I took off my writing cap for twenty minutes and made my comrade, and me, happy.

I bought a clock the other day at the thrift store. It is painted wood, with a speckled trout on the front and an inscription that says,"Time to go fishing." While I'm not an avid fisherwoman, I love to put a minnow on a rod, cast it far out in to the lake, prop it in a holder, then sit back and watch the bobber. I know what that feels like, that lazy, hazy, hang out by the lake with nothing else better to do feeling.

I bought it to remind me to play. For my sake and my muse's. Now my cat's getting in on the act.

Do you stop to play? Do you have someone to remind you? What does your playtime look like?

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." ~ Plato


Jemi Fraser said...

Play time is important! I have kids and teach kids so that helps me remember to play :)

Aubrie said...

What a great clock! Too bad I'm allergic to cats *sniff sniff*

Walter Knight said...

It is good that you have at least one cat. You should probably get more, because it is a requirement that every successful writer own at least on cat. It's the law. I think it's written somewhere in the Constitution.

Myself, I own (rather have) 7 cats, one for each acre on my hilltop.

You would think that many cats would be certain to curry favor with the New York publishing establishment. I had dollar signs in my eyes. But no, I ended up signing with a small, but honest and talented, publisher from flyover country.

Olivia, I have concerns about your cat, though. Really really successful writers have FAT cats. You know, the kinds of cats that colloct dust from hardwood floors as they walk along.

Just saying.


Terry Stonecrop said...

Your cat sounds like fun!

I'm such a player, I have the opposite problem! Getting myself to work is a lot, lot harder. Luckily writing is play for me. When I start thinking of it as work, it grinds to a screeching halt. So I try not to do that.

Great post:)

Terry Stonecrop said...

...oh, and that clock is too cool!

VR Barkowski said...

How do you get to be Alpha kitty? I'm Alpha to my dog, but the two cats? Not a chance!

Lucyfur will not take no for an answer. She wants to play, I play, otherwise she bleats. Gracie just stares at me until I pick up her fishing pole toy. Cat stares are powerful motivators. The dog is more subtle, he drops toys at my feet until I break down and throw one. Yeah, I get plenty of play in.

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Jemi, kids, yes! They're even more imaginative in play than kitties.

Aubrie, know what's even cooler about that clock. I bought that clock last Friday and put the battery in it when I got home. It didn't work. But I liked it so much I decided to keep it.

Then, today, I took that picture and put up this post. And chuckled at myself that I would get so much pleasure out of a broken clock that I would actually write about it and share with you.

Within an hour or two of posting, and I swear, no lie, I realized the darn thing was ticking!! And the minute hand was making it's way around! It's now five or so hours later and still ticking and keeping (the wrong) time! Gotta love it. :D

Mary said...

Alas, allergies dictate no furry pets. So the grandchildren keep me playing until my daughter forces me back to reality. sigh

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Wally, Bugsy refuses to get fat! He loves his svelte physique and I often catch him standing in front of the mirror admiring his sleek self.

He snarfs all day. Seriously. Some days more than others. But he's maintained the same eleven pounds since he was about a year old. He's probably closer to twelve now because it's too hot to run around much. But, just saying. But, I promise the Bugmeister is spoiled rotten.

I would love to get him some playmates. There's a feral cat in the woods that's pal-ing him up lately. I hesitate to acquire too many due to my vagabond lifestyle.

But, dude, maybe NY is jealous 'cause our cats get to hang around outside and, therefore, won't count 'em?

Flyover County, huh? You flown over yet??


Olivia J. Herrell said...

Terry, thanks, I like it, too! And it even works now. :) I've recently found that, while I personally agree with you about writing, after days with my butt in the chair every spare minute and I haven't left the house in days...my kidself and my muse rebel.

That's when I go screaming from the house to the thrift store and find neat clocks for $4.00. :) Or take a ride and look at the waterfall. Or go to Walmart, lol. Playing with Bugsy last night felt good because I forget to do that.

Olivia J. Herrell said...

VR, I love your cat's name, Lucyfur! She's actually luckier than Bugsy I think. I'm pretty good at ignoring him and if he absolutely refuses to be ignored and I'm busy, I'll put him in the bedroom where he promptly lies down and goes to sleep. :) Maybe he's just fooling me in to thinking I'm Alpha. You think?

Mary, grandbabies are the best. Do you wind them up for their mama? :)


The Words Crafter said...

Kitty Boss will meow forever, more and more pitifully, until I play. Sometimes she just wants a few minutes, others, well, I just have to tell her that her daddy will play more when he gets home. She has a 'tree' we got her for Christmas. We put a string on it and she jumps to get it, climbs through hidey holes, etc, meowing all the while. She also likes to play hide and scare the crap out of mommy, chase with daddy, as well as wrestling with daddy. She's two and a half in people years...and she acts much like the three year olds in my class :) Aren't they great fun?

Olivia J. Herrell said...

You know, I need to buy something like that for Bugsy. He had a simple kitty condo that he loved playing in before we left CA. Kitty Boss sounds like a bundle of fun.


Elaine AM Smith said...

Playtime is manic: we are very physically, hands on here. :)


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