Writing With Pets = Imagination Insurance

I write full time at home with five cats who provide me with companionship and imagination insurance. I’ll discuss that in brief after a round of feline introductions. Meet my feline overlords:

‘Belle - don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, hate me because you’re not
Meglet - who is a very small animal
Ashbless - poetry in motion…Limerick
Leith – I’m old dammit, show some respect
Jordan – I used to be a cute kitten, now I’m a fat thug
So, how is this a writing post?

Well, because pets and writers seem to go together like fire and smoke or some other equally trite pairing. Part of this is of course due to us human types being social apes. We’re wired for group interactions and pets provide people who work in solitude with the illusion of having coworkers, or a pack if you prefer.

That’s a part of it, but not the most important part, at least not for writers. For us they provide imagination insurance. What’s that you ask? Well, pretty much by definition fiction writers are endowed with overactive imaginations.

We are prone to wild flights of fancy, especially us speculative fiction types. In shadows we see ghouls and imps. Dragons hide in our garages. And trolls demand tolls when we take the laundry to the basement.

This is by and large a wonderful way to live. Except, of course, when it’s not. Like when the house settles with a horrible screech at three a.m. or when the bats start crawling about in the walls just after sundown. At those times it’s all too easy to people the shadows with things of malign intent.

That’s where the cats come in. With five, there’s always at least one who’s out of sight somewhere. In a house with cats you don’t need to imagine what’s making that noise. You know. Any horrendous sound anywhere in the house, no matter how horrible or loud, was made by a cat. No trolls. No dragons. No axe-wielding maniacs. Just cute fuzzy creatures who can be safely ignored while you finish that paragraph.

Imagination Insurance. What kind do you have?

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There are 8 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho

    I live in an apartment, so any sounds get attributed to the neighbors.

    (Cats? Love ‘em, but am allergic to ‘em.)

  2. 2. Barry Holmes

    We have four cats. With them, it’s not so much that when you hear a noise and wonder what’s going on, but rather when one comes charging into the room hissing and growling at an apparently empty corner.

    I’d love to know what they see, but I figure I’m probably better off not knowing.

  3. 3. Marie Brennan

    They’re hunting greeblingz, of course.

  4. 4. Barry Holmes

    Yip, better off not knowing. :)

    I may have to write something up now about the hunting of the greeblingz.

  5. 5. Radish

    I’ve succeeded in convincing myself that whenever something goes bump! in the night it’s the cats,… if not, then the cats — in the interest of guarding their turf — will attend any invaders.

    The number of rampaging socks they can hunt and kill in the course of one night is impressive.

  6. 6. Kelly McCullough

    Oh, Marie, that’s a fabulous link. Love it.

    Barry, I salute your mighty greeblingz hunters.

    Radish, well with socks you can never be too careful. The ones that sneak out of the washer and dryer have to be going somewhere and a mob of vicious socks is always a danger.

  7. 7. Radish

    Kelly, it’s the unwashed socks that are the most dangerous — foul, dirty things, they are. But these tightly-knitted fiends unravel easily when one knows their weaknesses.

  8. 8. Michele Conti

    And here I thought I was a crazy cat lady with four cats. Guess I’m not the only cat nut. I’d love more, but, that’s expensive and requires more space.

    Ahhh…when I have my acreage I shall start a little rescue kitty foundation or something. Yeah, that’ll go over well with the boyfriend.

Author Information

Kelly McCullough

Kelly McCullough is a fantasy and science fiction author. He lives in Wisconsin with his physics professor wife and a small herd of cats. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series—Penguin/ACE. His short fiction has appeared in numerous venues including Writers of the Future and Weird Tales. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star—part of an NSF-funded science curriculum—and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp, which he co-authored and co-edited—funding provided by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. Visit site.

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