Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Rum-Tum-Tugger is a Curious Cat...

It's hilarious how blogging trends will trend away. One person starts something and it is like the Common Cold--it spreads around and around and around. I suppose this is a confession. I stole something from Abigail this evening: I have never told you about this certain personage before, merely because she is not crizackly the type that immediately says: "Writing", but I will tell you about her now.

Her name is Cricket, and she is what I describe as my "Supercilious Black Pussy."

This phenomenon is half-Siamese and half-something-or-other. She is solid black with goldy-green eyes, rather long, and rather plump, and rather consequential in her own right. You see, she belongs to a species called "Rum-Tum-Tugger"... [and I quote]
"The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat:
If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse.
If you put him in a house he would much prefer a flat,
If you put him in a flat then he'd rather have a house.
If you set him on a mouse then he only wants a rat,
If you set him on a rat then he'd rather chase a mouse.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat--
And there isn't any call for me to shout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there's no doing anything about it!

The Rum Tum Tugger is a terrible bore:
When you let him in, then he wants to be out;
He's always on the wrong side of every door,
And as soon as he's at home, then he'd like to get about.
He likes to lie in the bureau drawer,
But he makes such a fuss if he can't get out.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat--
And there isn't any use for you to doubt it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there's no doing anything about it!

The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious beast:
His disobliging ways are a matter of habit.
If you offer him fish then he always wants a feast;
When there isn't any fish then he won't eat rabbit.
If you offer him cream then he sniffs and sneers,
For he only likes what he finds for himself;
So you'll catch him in it right up to the ears,
If you put it away on the larder shelf.
The Rum Tum Tugger is artful and knowing,
The Rum Tum Tugger doesn't care for a cuddle;
But he'll leap on your lap in the middle of your sewing,
For there's nothing he enjoys like a horrible muddle.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat--
And there isn't any need for me to spout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there's no doing anything about it!"
-T. S. Elliot

This is a faithful portrait of my Cricketer, beyond being a particularly charming poem. Cricket is essential to my writing inspiration, I believe, for she does the darndest things. If I am particularly uninspired, this naughty vixen will come and plop herself down on the keyboard as if she is the most interesting thing since the Fall of Rome. That is her strategy, you see, to keep me writing. For no sooner does she sit down than I decide I had rather write after all and I push her off.

She kneads bread-dough on my pink lap-blanket.

She brings me balls of yarn and plastic army-men and anything else portable and yowls at me till I lay aside my book or pen and properly congratulate her on the brilliancy of her catch. [This, you will understand, includes petting her and praising her aloud (to at least one other person) before she will quieten.]

She knocks over glasses of water and crystal vases and breaks them right in the best scenes of my book or my story and therefore adds sound-effects. Does your cat do this? I thought not.

She puts her arms around my neck and gives me a cleaning at least once a day.

She jumps at me and bats my ankles when I walk down the hall.

She purrs like a Civil-War army drummer's...drum. :D

She catches moths.

She take sun-baths.

She drapes herself around my neck and shoulders like a real life mink-stole. :)

She is my alter-ego, I believe.

This is Cricket. Swear fealty or die. ;)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When the dawn opened.

Gladly the dreads I felt, too dire to tell,
The hopeless, pathless, lightless hours forgot,
I turn my tale to that which next befell,
When the dawn opened, and the night was not.  
-Dante's Inferno

Every person has a religion. Generally I avoid that term like the plague--it carries such a horrid feeling of dry-bones and long tradition and deadness with it. But I use the term in lieu of the fact that I haven't found a better one that is so all-encompassing.
 That explained, it's a fact, despite the myriads of human beings who deny their allegiance to any sort of "religion" in the general sense. I would boldly declare [again] that everyone has a religion. Your religion may be the Religion of No-Religion. But Man was created to worship and whether it is worshiping Jesus Christ, as it should be, or whether it is worshiping your own ideas of no-worship, it happens. It's built into the very fiber of our being. We need to understand that in order to live in this world--it's a fundamental truth that is often overlooked. And this is issue no less important than in literature. I know that many authors have done far better and more thorough jobs of the topic in longer posts, but I thought I'd just tell you a bit about where my Scarlettania and Gildnoir lies in this plethora of rabbit-trails.

Gildnoir worships neither God, nor any other sort of material idols. They reverence battle, warriors, skill with the sword, and allegiance to one's country and clan. That is the long and short of the doctrine of Gildnoir. Most obey it and bend knee to this god of War but others, namely a certain Diccon Quarry--are not content with this life and they almost unconsciously refute this War-god by forsaking their clan and breaking allegiance with their country. Diccon cautions Fitz-Hughes not to swear by the Hand that made him, for he will find the Hand's punishment far worse than that Diccon proffers. It's a primitive scheme, but rather powerful--even the Greeks and Romans had bouts with such a god in their day.

Scarlettania is a bit different--as it is essentially a fairy-tale world, it mirrors closely our own. There are church-men, there is truth, there is light. The Light is not exactly clearly named, for it filters into that world from our own and a little something is lost in the translation, but they are, like the places in Pilgrim's Progress, beautiful and just and noble. They crave light and live in the light and, did they live in our world, they would be God-followers. There is no definitive mention of Christianity in Scarlettania and Gildnoir, and yet I have made certain to keep Darkness and Light separate, meaning for the light to be from the one True Light: Jesus.

Diccon Quarry comes out of Darkness craving...he knows not what...and yet he is drawn to Scarlettania as if by an invisible hand and he finds Light. He finds purity and honor and love and truth. It's a beautiful paradox that I never grow tired of.

You see, I am not finished thrashing out all the details yet, but Christianity gets to this world shadow-like. Enough to cause one of the characters to wistfully remark to one of the Macefield bunch that at least earth-folk have an unerring Hand working in their lives. Thus it is that the Macefields learn to turn to the Author who is perfect.

And this is where things get muddled-er, if that's a word. Because you see, since Scarlettania is a make-believe country full of make-believe people who are all dictated to by Mr. Adoniram Woolcott Macefield, he is, in essence, their god. Not that they worship him--oh no. But he is writing their story just as God has written ours. Everything, truly, revolves around the Pen of Macefield. They swear by it and their oath is concrete after having that mighty name before it. They wait for his inky decrees as pilgrims wait for a sign on high. So you can imagine their delight, slight trepidation, and awe when a whole covey of sons and daughters of Macefield drop into their laps. The Scarlettanians frequently mention the fact that they are celebrities:

"Never let it be said that I let a daughter of Macefield wear rags when there are gossamine gowns at hand..."

Charlotte says she finds it uncomfortable to be in the position of a sort of demigod and looked upon with such reverence and awe.

Comments like that pepper the book and provide amusement on one hand and a slight bitter-sweet flavor on the other...I am not sure I am making much sense, but I was trying to extract from the annals of my mind just what was going on with religion and my Gypsy-Song.
But one thing is certain: as I write this book and realize how erring the hand of an authoress really is, I am ever more thankful that Jesus has written my story with perfect precision. There will be no rewriting and no editing is required. I've got the real deal in my Savior. He is Author, Editor, and Publisher all rolled into one....yes. We earth-folk have a blessed existence indeed.