Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group for August 2013

Bamse, the kitten, born June 28th, 2013

Anna Nordeman


Pelle, the kitten, born June 28th, 2013

Rosetta, the kitten, born June 28th, 2013

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting Insecure Writer's Support Group.

This is my sixth post for IWSG.

Once again, I am NOT going to share my list of how-to-write books, but for those who would like to see it, please go here

For my August edition of IWSG I would like to return to Phyllis A. Whitney's delightful how-to-book, Guide to Fiction Writing (1982). See page 11f. She writes about working habits:
Men writers who are married to non-working wives - that is, wives who stay at home - have a certain advantage. Every writer needs a wife! - someone to stand guard, to cook meals, to deal with immediate problems of house and children, and keep them out of their husbands' hair. It's more difficult for women writers, who have to do all these chores plus their writing.

Amen Phyllis! I have reached a point now where I feel I'm drowning. I have too many practical problems to solve and the end is not in sight.

It started on the 9th of June when I found one dark kitten lying on the floor of Elisabet's bedroom. At first I did not know who the mother of that kitten was. But it became clear that Lill-Kajsa had given birth to one single kitten and hid it from us for perhaps as long as a week:

A secretive Lill-Kajsa and her kitten, Elsa

Kalle-Mathilda helped baby-sit her sister's kitten. 

Two sisters sharing the first kitten.

Kalle-Mathilda would soon have a family of her own. My daughter, Elisabet, woke me late at night on June 28th. We suddenly became midwives to Kalle-Mathilda, when she gave birth to her five kittens. Even Lill-Kajsa helped out by nursing the new-borns, while Kalle-Mathilda gave birth to more. 

Pelle, the kitten, with eyes closed and navel string still intact.

Kalle-Mathilda as the new mother of five.

In this recent photograph, lying on the kitchen floor, are six reasons why I have not been able to get much work done this summer. And very little creative writing. 

Kalle-Mathilda and her five kittens born on June 28th, 2013

Suddenly we had eleven cats to take care of instead of only five. And since I am the only adult in our household, I am also the only one who sees that the litter boxes are clean and that there is fresh water and proper food for all of the cats. I am also the only person who can cook meals and wash dishes, clean floors and do laundry.

We have the added problem that the cats declared war on July 12th. 

Lars, the cat, born August 21st, 2012

Since then, we have had to keep certain cats isolated in separate rooms. The children were very helpful when the cat-war broke out. Suddenly, Kalle-Mathilda went crazy and attacked her sister Lill-Kajsa as well as the ginger boy-cats, Lars and Sigge. At the same time the ginger twins attacked the other male cat, Peep. We had to act fast. We did not want any cat to be injured. So I grabbed Kalle-Mathilda and put her in a closed room. Erik deposited Peep into my bedroom/workroom because he is the only cat who is reliably house-broken. The girl-cats literally squirted urine as they fought. 

Sigge, the cat, born August 21st, 2012

Kalle-Mathilda bit my thumb as I was moving her into her new quarters, but it could have been worse. My son, Erik's hand was also bitten by one of the cats -- we don't know which -- and his hand became so swollen and infected, that he had to take antibiotics for ten days. Even though both Elisabet and I were bitten and scratched, we were, happily, not infected. 

I don't know why this happened other than that the cats probably felt that it was getting to be too crowded in our four-room apartment. But why did this happen when we had taken the ginger males to be neutered? The war broke out when we came home with them from this procedure. Or did the females suffer some kind of post-natal [post-partum] depression? I am going to ask the vet about this.

Kalle-Mathilda looking up at me while I am holding...


... her daughter Sara II.


In the meantime, I have put an ad in the local newspaper. As much as we love all of our cats, we have decided that we have to sell some of them - very fast. (The older cat, Peep, is staying temporarily with my former husband, the children's father.) The first to go are these two wonderful ginger boy cats, Lars and Sigge. Hope we can find a good home for them. They are really lovely and warm-hearted cats.

Elisabet and one of the ginger cats

This is why my post for RFW's Challenge 'Honeymoon' was so slim, only 60 words instead of a thousand!

The children and I have been working hard trying to solve our practical problems. I haven't slept well. But it will not always be like this. We will find solutions. It's just that it takes time and summer is so short.  And summer is so precious in Sweden. It's the time of year that everyone longs for and dreams about. Here in the North, it is in summer, that you plan to do all of those creative activities like crafts or photography -- anything that requires daylight.  Summer is the lightest and the most pleasant time of year. In the winter, when it is cold and dark, I just want to hibernate. I'll have almost nothing to show for at the end of this summer. A waste of good weather and sunlight!

How do all of you wonderful and inventive people deal with practical problems? Do you still find the time and peace of mind to sit down and write and be creative when things go wrong? What are your strategies?

Best wishes,

[P.S. Wrote this text during the night between July 31st and August 1st, 2013]

First Commenter:
Duck and Wheel With String


Lin said...

I'm guessing they attacked the cat returning from the vet because he had strange smells on him and they didn't recognize him because of that.

I agree, I think you have to thin the herd. Not only for your work load, but for the health and well-being of everyone in that apartment.

It will be okay. They will get nice homes. You can't keep all those cats and live a life.

I've been busy this summer too and my blogging has suffered. I'm busy at work writing all day, so the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer and write more when i get home. There will be more time for that come winter.

I hope you get all your problems solved, Anna! I am thinking of you. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I believe Lin is right why the cat was attacked. And also right that finding stable homes for a few of those cats will be kind for them and for you.

Prioritizing problems is a help. List down the immediate problems. Stagger them in order of importance. Pick a problem that can be dealt with in short order and do that -- one less problem to worry about. Inch by inch and you will the journey a cinch or at least doable. As the picture to my own Insecure Writer's post states: The Impossible can be done if you break it down into possible segments.

My prayers are with you, Roland

Unknown said...

Dear Lin,

Thanks for taking the time to comment on this problem when you have so much writing to do. You are a gem!

I think you're right. Cats live in a world of smells. It is a part of good 'cat-etiquette' to smell each other as a part of a greeting. One of the reasons for this procedure was to get rid of the strong smell of tomcat-urine. This has now greatly improved. The girl cats must not have recognised the smell of the ginger cats.


Dear Roland,

Thank you for your suggestions about writing lists to decide what is most urgent.

As you may guess, the cats are not the only problem I have right now; but I cannot write openly about the other problems on my blog. The problem with the cats is a good place to start because it is very concrete and cannot be ignored. It started as a result of me not paying enough attention to the needs of my cats. I was so busy taking this course at the university. If I had had the boy-cats neutered in February, when they should have been, I would not have these problems.

I just did not want to go back to this snooty vet. Happily, I have found another veterinarian who was kind enough to let the children as well as my Ex and me help out during the operation. She was wonderful! She talked to the children and explained what she was doing. I think this helped us a lot.

You are also right about breaking an impossible thing into possible smaller segments. I have been trying to get things done that can be done. I have no money to buy things, but cleaning requires no money, just 'elbow-grease'; so I have spent a lot of time cleaning and sorting things from the move after the divorce. After two years, I still have boxes of stuff that I don't know where to put. But lately, I've unpack and sorted at least one box a day; and it is starting to show.

One of my son's friends came by a week ago when Erik wasn't at home. I gave him some ice cream and we chatted. This sweet boy (eleven years old) said that he thought it looked better now than when he visited a month ago. And just because he said that, I could unpack and sort more boxes!

Thank you so much for writing, Roland. You are in my prayers too.

Best wishes & hugs to you both, You truly wonderful people!


Yolanda Renée said...

Oh my gosh, you are one busy lady. 11 cats - and even with the kids help that is a lot. I hope you find great homes for all of them! But yes you do have a lot on your plate, I'm sure you'll find your time and place, and all these distractions will add up to some very interesting writing. So, take a moment and breath, enjoy the moments you can, and file it all away for the minute you find for writing. Most likely when the sun has finally gone down.

M Pax said...

I agree with Lin's assessment of what happened. The kittens are so cute.

I only have two, but they're very demanding, so I understand the workload.

Yes, we need wives!!! I shall tell my husband unit that. lol

Huntress said...

Whoa! What a party! Not!!

I love my cats but I'm still amazed at how each has their own unique personality.

Denise Covey said...

11 cats is a lot of cats! They have been beautifully cared for, I'm sure and you'll miss them when you sell them. I hope you have managed to thin the numbers somewhat. How many cats do you want to end up with?

Actually getting a Honeymoon entry in was quite a feat, when you had all those cats under your feet.

Once they're all settled you'll be ready for a vacation lol!


Denise Covey said...

Oh and thanks for publicising WEP in your sidebar Anna. Much appreciated. We have 20 so far, and that's without a couple I know will be posting, so looking like a good start.

Tanya. said...

Hi Anna, I have just been trying to catch up with everyone. Your pictures are adorable and I bet you must be sad to have to pick some cats to leave you, I hope you find some nice homes for them. We are now down to just one cat as Toby who was coming up to 16 was put to sleep just a couple of weeks ago. We are looking into getting a dog though which will be nice as it is so long since our other dog passed away.
As for the fighting, I would say it was overcrowding...but then again who really knows anything about cats...we can only try to guess what they are thinking, they always remain their own boss. Maybe it was the sent of the vets as the boys came home?? Anyway I wish you luck in finding them new homes and gaining a little space back into the apartment for yourself and the children. x

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