Yes, There Are Cats: My Creative Mews

Because there has to be a cat page, doesn’t there?

When My Mews Major Works
1954-1972
Cushing Road,
Camden NJ

Spooky

Spook–my mother’s cat. She got her name from her habit of hiding behind furniture and pouncing on passing feet. Her favorite toy was a piece of paper folded accordion-style and tied in the middle with a string–she would determinedly chase, catch and shred them.

Scamper

Scamper–my older sister’s cat. Small, skittish, and conflict-adverse, she earned her name darting through the back alleys and shadowed corners of our house. She stayed behind when Sue moved to San Diego in 1975, eventually becoming the matriarch of my mother’s house.

A letter to the editor, published in the Camden Courier-Post.

Short stories published in Impressions, the student newspaper at St. Joe’s High.

1973
Armstrong Hall,
Michigan State University
1973-10-05_16850737001_o

Amelia (1973-?)

Amelia–adopted from someone in the MSU psych department near the end of my freshman year. My R.A. looked the other way until Amy was spotted climbing the window screens of my room. Amelia went home to New Jersey to live, and adopted my younger sister and my father as her buddies.

Stories for ENG 228A, the only
creative writing class I’ve ever taken.
1974-1976
Delta Arms Apts.,
East Lansing MI
No pets allowed. The Open Face of Heaven
(unpublished novel)
Summer of 1976
Northwind Apts.,
East Lansing MI

Charlie (1976-1978)

Charlie–Karla and I adopted him as an adult cat from the Ingham County Humane Society. He was an adrenalin junkie and aerialist–he loved to be tossed on a blanket, or dropped off the Briarwood balcony onto the living room couch.

Resumes and cover letters.
Fall of 1976
Susan Street,
Sturgis MI
Charlie Lesson plans for my science and math students at Heritage Middle School.
Winter of 1977
South Main Street,
Goshen IN
Charlie More lesson plans.
1977-1978
Briarwood Apartments,
Goshen IN
Charlie slipped out of the house during a snowstorm one day, and we never saw him again. We told ourselves he’d gone over to the farm next door, found a barn full of girl-cats, and decided to stay. Still more lesson plans.”Memory” (Asimov’s, 9/83)

“The Inevitable Conclusion” (Amazing Stories, 8/79 – first sale)

“Addressee Unknown” (Amazing Stories, 3/81)

1978-1986
Sunset Boulevard,
Goshen IN
Amanda–the cat, not the daughter. We adopted her as an older kitten from the Elkhart County Humane Society. I remember that she loved to sit in the pool of afternoon sunlight on my yellow office carpet. Alas, she didn’t take well to Lazi’s (see Yes, Dogs, Too) arrival in the household, and started peeing in that sunny spot on my yellow office carpet by way of protest. Nothing we did could persuade her to adapt, and in the end we had to return her to the shelter. But I thought of her on every sunny day for years afterward. Matthew

Many short stories.

Novels Emprise, Enigma, Empery

Robot City: Odyssey

Photon: Thieves of Light

1986-1995
Briarcliffe Apartments,
Lansing MI

Arro (1988-1994)

Arro – Gwen’s calico tripod, and the haughty grande dame of her household for more than 27 years. They moved in with me in June, 1988, and we finally said good-bye to her in May, 1994. We have many Arro stories, because she was a cat of great character, with both endearing and annoying quirks.

Dr. “Levi” Gray (1988-2003)

Shadow – Gwen adopted Shadow as a young adult while she was living in Louisville, and he came to Michigan with her in 1986. He was leonine in face and bearing, and entered a room as though he owned it.
Dr. Levi Gray – the runt of a litter born at Gwen’s sister’s house in Georgia. Doc and his Russian Blue genes were originally destined for Gwen’s parents’ house, but Shadow had begun bullying the aging Arro. So we worked a trade in October 1988–Shadow got to be King Cat at the Zaks’, and gentle, plush Doc came to live with us. He was ever a lover, not a fighter, and a favorite of young Amanda. Doc passed away in April, 2003.

Captain Black (1990-2001)

Captain Black – came to us from the wild, appearing on our doorstep one afternoon in 1990. We were heading out to Ann Arbor, and he was fleeing several children who’d put a plastic rope leash on him. We opened the door, and he leaped from the top of the charcoal grille into Gwen’s arms. He was lean and beautiful, but he remained a rover–always had to have a door into summer.

Amanda

GEnie and CompuServe posts

Alternities

The Quiet Pools

Exile

Vectors (begun 1992)

1995- present
Cherry Hill Drive
Meridian Twp. MI
Captain loved the new neighborhood, with voles and the occasional rabbit in our fenced and usually overgrown back yard. But a mysterious neurological affliction took him from us in July, 2001.

Phoenix (2001-2010)

Phoenix – a shelter rescue, adopted as a four-year-old in August, 2001. We suspect her previous owner punished her for asking for attention; it took a while before she started to allow more than a tummy or cheek scritch every so often. But she became the most aggressively social of our cats – the most likely to talk to us, and to invite herself onto laps and beds. Much of the transformation happened when Matt came home from college for that Yule–because for whatever reason, Phoenix just loved him.

Gryffin (2001-2012)

Gryffin – a medical rescue, adopted in August, 2001. Gwen had a dream about a yellow cat, and the next day spotted Gryffin at a local pet shop. But because of a major heart murmur, he was likely to be discarded. We decided to roll the dice on his health (and his aggressive biting), and our faith was rewarded. Gavin became his primary human–he could pick him up and not pay in blood before anyone else–but the neighborhood was Gryffin’s world. He made friends next door, across the street, and down at the corner. We often didn’t see him for days at a time, even in winter. Gryffin fell ill in 2012 and left us that November.

Miss Bob (2003-present)

Miss Bob – one of two guest cats who moved in along with a friend in the fall of 2003. Bob (yes, she’s a girl, named after the planet) looked to Gryffin as her role model, but she can’t quite get it right. She’s much more of a homebody, much more nervous, and kind of a klutz. Like Gryffin, she loves the rooftop. As our huntress, she brings us presents–dead birds and field mice, live birds and field mice. She became a permanent member of the household when our friend went home to Pennsylvania.

Celeste (2011-present)

Celeste – adopted April 2011 from the Ingham County Animal Shelter. Celeste was the smallest cat in the shelter at the time, hiding in the back of a cat cubby. Amanda fell for her at once, and we expect Celeste will presently accompany Amanda into her adult life. In the meantime, she is queen of the basement during the day, joining us upstairs in the evenings. She would spend more time upstairs if the dogs weren’t so eagerly curious about her when she appears.

Othello (2011-present)

Othello – adopted along with Celeste in April 2011 from Ingham County Animal Shelter. They were having a two-for-one sale on adoption fees. ☺ Othello is a Bombay, or ‘parlor panther”–sleek, long-limbed, and social. Unlike with most cats, his active tail means he’s happy. It’s a nightly ritual for Othello to come curl up under Gwen’s chin and demand her full attention for a few minutes.

Gavin

My web site

Star Wars: Before the Storm

Star Wars: Shield of Lies

Star Wars: Tyrant’s Test

The Trigger

Vectors (completed 2001)

Fragments (work in progress)