Take 15

“Like brushing our teeth, we’re supposed to just do it.” Writing for 15 minutes a day, that is. And like coal miners who can’t sit around all day and complain about how hard their work is, whining gets us nowhere. We’re just supposed to write.

The admonishment to do creative writing for a quarter of an hour must prevent us from wining. Any grossing about writing would chew up most of our 15 minutes. If we spend our time complaining the work never gets done. Good strategy.

But what to write about? We write about what we know. However, there’s a lot I don’t know but I can’t have a page full of lists of things about which I know nothing. That would end up looking like baseball or hockey statistics or population demographics on fleas or South American cockroaches. Oddly, anyone one of those would draw rabid interest of researchers in those fields. But if I had nothing to say about baseball, hockey or cockroaches, nobody would be drawn to lists documenting my ignorance.

Perhaps, though, a researcher studying “The Things People Don’t Know” would be interested. They’d probably make some money on it. Would a compilation of  disinterest help Google save money in steering their search engines away from searches in which there would be less interest?

One of the existences I find mysterious is the cat we just brought home from the shelter. His name was said to be “Cookie” but that sounds like a name a 12 year old would give to a feline whom she dresses up in doll clothes.

Merlin seems more fitting. This cat can do magic and create potions, as far as I know. He must be magical because he figured out how to get a pad in Los Angeles for 2 grand a month, all the food and massages he wants and unlimited sleep time. And he doesn’t even have a job. Go figure.

He has also appeared on Instagram, Facebook and has a Medium account, writing under my name.  He said he’d attribute co-authorship with me if he was ever ever able to sell a piece.

Today Merlin told me he reads minds and knows what I’m going to say, even before I speak. This is a little disconcerting. Sometimes I’m thinking about telling him to be a little tidier in his litter box (which I clean out at least once a day). Add that to the list of perks for this being. His waste flushed for him.

I’m minding my own business and he pads up to me and says “What do you expect of an animal whom you confine to your puny apartment with no friends or social life?”

I told Merlin that he should unconditionally overlook all of my weaknesses like my impatience and neurotic striving for cleanliness. I say that all of us make our mistakes from fear. That we mostly are afraid of not being accepted. I worry that strangers might come into our living space and judge me as disorderly and unkempt, too unclean and unorganized. I’m afraid I’ll be judged as unworthy of being a rightful member of the middle class in American society. At least some “class” that passes as worthy enough to own an indoor cat.

I asked him if the world of cats has classes.

He said “I knew you were going to ask that!” He had me there.

I said “I knew you were going to say that, even before you meowed it” I shot back quickly.

Merlin said, “OK, if you’re so clairvoyant, how come you worry more than me? I can sit here and nap all day and I don’t worry about anything! So much for you being an authentic, self-actuated life form.”

“Now look, Merlin.” I replied. “Zen out a little here. There’s an ancient oriental proverb that suggests ‘Don’t put down the lifeform that feeds you!'”

Merlin pauses and sits back on his haunch. Next, he intently licks his right paw and thoughtfully washes the fur on his right cheek with his newly slobbered paw. Then he looks me in the eye and says, “you got me on that one.”

“So Merlin,” I say after an equally thought out pause, “would you help me figure out some writing topics for my blog? I’m thinking that with both of us working on it, maybe we can come up with some interesting topics other than Merlin the house-bound cat.”

Merlin asks cautiously, “Are we going to make any money out of it?”

“There’s absolutely no chance!” I say, “but I think you’ll get a lot of ‘likes.’ In fact, I like you. So how’s that?” I say.

Merlin rolls over on his back and says, “Ok, but scratch my tummy a little here” he says pointing with his paw. “I like that a lot.”

“So it’s a deal?” I say.

“Yup” he says. “Let’s go for as many likes as we can get. Maybe I’ll make Pet Fancy Magazine someday.”




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