August 13th, 2010

Best post ever on dealing with a sagging middle!

Elizabeth Bear’s 13 Things to do When You Run Out of Plot.

[Full disclosure: I’m pretty sure we we used to share the best publicists ever at one of the major publishers. For one thing, he was 32, which is 112 in publicist years. When he left, he made sure his favorite authors were assigned to another publicist, one he picked out special for us. Who was later led away by security, sadly. I'm not sure what she did wrong, but she never measured up to him as a publicist]

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Cat O'Nine Tales

On Tuesday, the cat that I had dropped off at the shelter 30 miles away showed up at our house again. The shelter said the owner had come had gotten her. They also said that if he hadn't picked her up she was scheduled to be euthanized today, because she was elderly and in poor health, with broken teeth and a heart murmur.

[If you are just tuning in, my previous posts:]

Once I knew the cat had an owner, I decided I needed to stop feeding it. I figured the reason she was probably hanging around here was that I was buying her tastier meals than her real owner, plus feeding her bits of rotisserie chicken. She needed to go back to her real owner!

She needed to learn a lesson!

Only she refused to learn. She stayed on our porch or in our driveway. Anytime we went out, she was there. Yesterday, I broke down and gave her water.

Finally, by the end of the day, I decided I had to talk to the owner. I imagined an addled old woman. Maybe she was having trouble with money and I could start buying her cat food. I tucked the cat under one arm and walked up the block to these inexpensive condos where the shelter people had said her owner lived.

I found the address, but there was no cat food outside. The blinds were open in the dark living room, and the mail box was full. No one answered.

The condo across the way had a light, so I knocked. The older woman who answered made a face when I asked about the cat. She said the owner was a man who had two cats. And that when he went on business trips he made no provision for them.


They are on their own to find their own food. He depends on the kindness of strangers.

Reading between the lines, he sounded off in general.

So I guess the cat is now mine to feed. I mean, I can't let her starve. If I take her back to the shelter, Jerky Neighbor will either bail her out or she'll be put down, so that's not a good solution either.

My husband is already worried about winter, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Maybe the heart murmur will get her. Maybe the coyotes will. At least she will be fed.

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Making the world a better place

Nearly every weekday when I go running, I see a little old lady parking her car at the Multnomah Art Center on the dot of seven. She is a volunteer for one of the many services offered there. With a cloud of white hair, she looks to be well over 80, but she is always on time, always wearing a smile. When I saw her this morning, she was stooping over to do some impromptu weeding on her way into the building.

And then on the tail end of my run, I saw a guy running fast, and holding a clear plastic bag in his right hand. It took me a minute to figure out what was in the nearly full bag, but then I saw him scramble up an embankment and snag a discarded red McDonalds french fry box. Every thirty or so steps he added another piece of discarded paper or plastic.

There is so much wrong with the world that it can seem overwhelming. Yet both of these people have dedicated themselves to making a difference, no matter how small.

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