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.

Win a copy of Death al Dente

Ruff in windowThis week, the guitar takes over the Flathead Valley, as the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival and Workshop swings on to center stage. It’s a magical event, for music students like my hunny, who’s in the singer-songwriter class, and music lovers like me, out late every night at a concert to die for: Scott Tenant and the LA Guitar Quartet, Lee Rittenour and Robben Ford, the Pat Metheny Trio, Rittenour playing with Darryl Steurmer, and Saturday night, Livingston Taylor and Mac McInally.

Me, I’m treating Music Camp week as Writing Camp and getting back to the page. Yay! But you can read my article on recipes as story-telling in the new issue of 406 Woman, available free throughout the Flathead Valley — and don’t miss the piece on Linda Manzer, a Canadian luthier who’s here at the Festival this week. Metheny has more Grammies than any other musician — and Manzer makes his guitars!

This week, Mr. Sandburg — aka The Cat — talks about the move to Montana and his transition from City Cat to Country Cat on Killer Characters: Where the Cozy Characters Speak. Leave a comment on my post at Killer Characters for a chance to win a signed copy of Death al Dente; the cat will stick a paw in the fishbowl to pick a winner Wed evening.

Thanks for joining me on this amazing journey!