Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Cats Stay Indoors. Period.

You don’t participate on Facebook, no cookies for you. I owe responses to an awful lot of people. (Maybe not so many, but even a few are a daunting prospect.)

The (sort of) big news: I received an email yesterday from a literary agent whose name was given to me by a high school friend of Chip’s but is slowly (and magically?) becoming one of mine. No deep and meaningful conversations have arisen unless you consider a tête-à-tête about the fact that Debra Winger no longer looks like Debra Winger deep and meaningful. String enough of these chats together and something happens. (Or it doesn’t as the case may be.) I think something is, and it was she who gave me the name of a good friend who is a literary agent. I can now say that I have my very first response to my query letter for Since When. She’d (the agent) like to talk to me over the phone. I’m not getting my hopes up, but I could sure use good advice and I have a hunch she will be happy to supply me with that. We just have to wait and see. But having a friend in the making is really nice. It feels awfully good. Thank you!

I am on more of an even keel today. Hormones on the wane? Perhaps. Or maybe my big crash of the day is yet to come. Oh goody. That and the finale of America’s Next Top Model.

I’m reading what seems to be the book of the moment (or was the book of the moment), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was a gift. All my gifts are books, because besides listening to music, reading is pretty much all I can do. I’m enjoying the book. I don’t read much fiction, but this one’s intelligent and so far has kept me interested. Works for me. But I just hit a snag. The mutilation of animals. (Which had been discussed as a very Bad Thing earlier in the book. As we all know, children who hurt or kill animals will do much much worse once all grown up.) The nice red cat had been left at the door completely and utterly mutilated. I did not sign up for that.

A few years ago, before the Hodgkin’s Disease, before the ARDS, I cracked up. (“I don’t think it’s funny no more. Cracking up.”) Popped the cork. Walked the plank. Crapped in my shorts. Spat up the popcorn. Guys, I went nuts. Really blotto. And the stuff that set me off without fail were atrocities committed to children or animals. One of my little mini-sessions with the psychopharmacologist instantly digressed into an uncontrollable bout of sobbing babbling about the frozen cows in a Montana blizzard. And did I forget the drowning of kittens? (Brought to you in oh-so-graphic detail by the aptly named Judy Blunt in a book called Breaking Clean. Her discovery that she cannot, would not live as a Montana cattle rancher’s wife.) Fuck, I don’t blame her. There is no romance about life on the ranch. It is brutal and ugly and back- and spirit-breaking. Yes, it is a powerful book. But too powerful for me.

I stopped reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay after they shot their dog, For the hell of it. That’s it. Game over. No, I can no longer watch the Shackleton footage of his ship iced in and crushed in the seas surrounded Antarctica. To survive, he and his crewmen killed their beloved dogs one by one. Shackleton was a decent man, and he didn’t do this without a heavy heart. Every human made it out alive. But the dogs…That’s why I’m never going to Antarctica, and my cats will always stay indoors. They’re very happy here in the apartment. They are relaxed. They feel safe. They don’t need any more romping room. And they’ve both been fixed so there’s no issue of kittens to drown. (Good god.)

Hey, I can see adults drawn and quartered. Murdered. Mutilated. Tortured on the rack. (In movies, TV, and books of course.) Civil War battles. No problem. The aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Not so much. Actually, no fucking way. Seen more than enough of that. Beyond horrible. But don’t make me read about tortured pets who didn’t ask to be put on this earth. Or on a voyage to Antarctica. And don’t make me look at that little girl screaming, her clothes ripped off because she was hit with napalm. You get the idea.

I hate people.


  1. "I used to like it but I don't like it no more." -LS

  2. Fran---OMG!!! It's so nice having a friendship in the making, and it's such a nice surprise. Wow. I'm so dying of curiosity about your conversation with Janice P! How fab. Please keep me posted! Hmmm...I was going to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it really disturbing?
    TTYL, xoxox, Susan

  3. Susan- I just missed Janice's call. I do hope I hear back from her today.

    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo...I think there is a lot of gratuitous gross stuff (because thrillers are supposed to, yes?), but I think the book has much bigger problems than that. To me, the people in the story are used as devices. (Especially the girl.) There is zero character development. (I guess that's redundant.)
    If you don't think to hard about it, the book goes by in a nanosecond and can be entertaining. Just don't look for more.