Saturday Creativity Quote — on cats and writing

Squirt, supervisor

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.”

— Muriel Spark, in A Far Cry from Kensington, quoted by my friend Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen

I don’t know whether Spark was being literal or ironic. My own cat loves my desk chair — he’s about the same color as the leather, creating a hazard for us both — and he’s been known to stomp across my desk and step on the keyboard, even sending an email full of periods once. And I regularly apologize on Zoom calls for the loud cries of the cat protesting being shut out of the room. But mostly, he reads (with his eyes shut) or supervises. Could I do the work without him? Maybe, but I’d rather not try.

5 thoughts on “Saturday Creativity Quote — on cats and writing

  1. Roscoe, my musecat, strolls my desktop and sends folders sliding to the floor. He demands that I stop frequently to pet him, which is amusing and sometimes annoying. I have moved one of his cushy cat beds into the room and what do you think? Yes, he is ignoring it, preferring my papers for his napping spot.

    We love cats in spite of it all, don’t we?

    “If there were to be a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr.” – Barbara L. Diamond

  2. Our dining room table is where I write, and yes there are big fat folders full of edits, research, etc. piled there. But Scoop know he has to sleep in his box–a cardboard flat that once held cat food. However, the fact that he knows this does not regulate his behavior in the slightest. I’m sure my Beta readers will find cat hair. =^.^=

  3. I write at the dining room table. Yes, there are files filled with paperwork everywhere–edits, research, floor plans of the murder location, you name it. Scoop knows perfectly well he’s suppose to sleep in his box–a cardboard flat that once held cans of cats food. Does this regulate his behavior? OF COARSE NOT! lol… =^.^=

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