Something funny happened on the way to the publisher. As a first-time fiction writer, I imagined that after writing a collection of short stories, the bulk of my work would be done. In this fantasy, I pictured myself finishing the novel I started and stopped a few years ago. That novel is the prequel to my new book Another Tomorrow.
As final editing neared a close, I experienced an unfortunate incident involving an orange tabby cat and a large plastic glass of diet soda. The tabby cat took a flying leap faster than I could move that laptop from the table. My nearly finished collection of stories were locked inside it, so to speak.
While finishing edits on a particular seventy-page story called “Back in Time,” I really did want to go back, just five minutes, to prevent the collision that unfolded. After drying off the laptop, burying it in rice, and setting it upright, eventually I returned to the keyboard. During my last ten pages, at first I lost the “l” key (that’s not so bad I thought), then the “m” key (I still felt I could maneuver around that obstacle), and then the worst, the comma went. I couldn’t live without the comma key.
Many dollars later, I’ve replaced that laptop and learned my lesson: don’t write near tabby cats. They prefer your full, undivided attention and don’t take “please, no!” as an excuse. My tabby persists in saying “meow,” which I imagine is really his mimicking “Me Now” to force me to stop what I’m doing and focus on him.
If you find yourself writing something that is important to you, such as your own fiction or that always on-deadline report for your boss or client, then watch out for tabbies. You’re better off if they remain shut in another location. If you must allow them in the same room while you’re working, just don’t put your soda or coffee anywhere near your keyboard.