May 2013

Writers write about their cats & dogs, but I’ve always been inclined to dismiss the idea as clichéd, or worse, cutesy. Then again, I ‘ve had an outline in my “possibles” folder for the past year called “Cats I’ve Known,” a list of cats–my own and others’–that have played a part in my life. The cats would be placeholders, a way to write about life events, rather than about the cats themselves. Maybe some day….

And maybe that’s why I chose to give this title to a little vignette, a musing about the way we see things when we’re traveling, out of our dailyness, the cat in question just a distant sighting. At first I thought of it as a fragment that I would incorporate into something else, but then I got attached to it as a stand-alone and sent it out.

So here’s “Orange Cat,” published in Quickly, a journal of brief works of any kind as long as it’s less than 703 (!) words. The piece was also published in this year’s San Diego City College print journal, City Works,  where I had the honor of being named the National Award Winner for another piece that I’ll be posting soon.

Hmmm, I’ve had three orange cats–want to hear about Rusty, Charlie and Sweetie?

Some of our memories are buried; others rest just below the surface. And then there are those that inhabit some nether world from which they’re chivvied out by a picture or a place, a familiar taste or a song, a word, a prompt from the unconscious. My “adventure” in the summer of 1980 was hiding under some bad times that I had no desire to recall, but once it popped into my head, I could hardly wait to write about it.

The other thing about memory that struck me as I worked on this piece in particular is that you may think you don’t remember much about a time or event, but once you start dredging it up, more and more detail surfaces, things you never expected to appear.

So here’s “Fruit Tramp” – a story that even my nearest & dearest haven’t heard. I couldn’t be happier that it was selected for publication in the University of San Francisco’s outstanding literary journal, Switchback.