this is a writer’s story….sort of
When my Grandmother would write, Insanity Jones, her cat, would sit on her shoulder and ” Inspire Her “.
Most of us hated it when she said told that story to the press because Insanity only inspired one thing in our family and that was loathing.
When he walked through a room the lights would flicker the air would turn cold and if Insanity looked up at you your first reaction would be to cry.
To be honest, it’s hard to love something that holds you in such low regard. I’m talking about our Grandmother, not the cat.
Or whatever it was.
As I started to tell you our Grandmother was a famous writer in her day and presently if you’ve ever been a student of literature you’ve probably stood in line somewhere buying a copy of ” Cliff’s Notes ” to one of her books.
In case you’re not familiar with them, my Grandmother’s books looked simple they sounded simple but they were far from being considered light reading.
Over the years there was lots of speculation about what inspired her to create her characters and what they really meant and of course she was famous for her ‘unique perspective’ about human nature and relationships.
People took this discussion very seriously.
There are College Classes dedicated to studying the works of Estrella Derrick. I’ve even heard that there are Estrella Derrick Societies and all they do is sit around and talk about the ‘true meaning’ of Grandmother’s stories and they even talk about how her life played a role in her writing.
I wonder then how these diligent students would feel if they were to find out that the reason for ‘unique perspective on human nature and relationships’ was coming from a cat.
It would explain a lot.
But it’s true- every book, every play every lecture ever written by Estrella Derrick- were all authored by a cat. When I started to put that idea to the rest of the family they said I was crazier then Insanity, but I was right all along.
I’ll prove it to you.
Our Grandmother threw Halloween Parties twice a year- one for the holiday itself and the other for her birthday which was actually in December.
Coming in from the outside you’d be impressed- Grandmother was an avid collector of skeletal remains- human skeletal remains and she even had two mummies- one from Egypt and the other from South America.
So along with the bones she had body parts in jars and lots of candles and lots of photographs of people all over her house.
Those photographs weren’t of us (of course). They were all dead people in coffins so I guess that looking back on it now it’s a relief that we weren’t in any of those pictures.
So anyway, Grandmother’s house was dark and moody and on the surface you’d think she went all out to welcome her guests.
Really, all she really did was to bring in a cleaning staff to dust and polish and she brought caterers in to do the food and the serving because domestic things had never been Grandmother’s ‘thing’. I mean her house always looked like Halloween anyway so it wasn’t a lot of work on her part.
But it certainly was on everybody else’s.
Just last Halloween it became pretty obvious that Grandmother and Insanity Jones were getting along in years. They both slept a lot and they both seemed too quiet and when they walked that Pirate Swagger they both had was gone.
I figured this conversation had to happen now because time was obviously working against us. So that evening I waited for Grandmother to go into her study and when I heard her chair slide up to her desk I went in without knocking.
She was reaching down for Insanity and she carefully put him up on her shoulder. When she saw me standing there and realized I had seen her lift Insanity up they both looked like the cat that had eaten the Canary.
Or the Eagle as it was in their case- neither one of those two ever did anything small.
” He’s the writer here, isn’t he? “
” Excuse me? ” my Grandmother snapped- and I do mean snapped I could hear her teeth click together and no- she did not where false ones.
” Don’t be an idiot, he can’t write, for Pete’s sake Akela he can’t even read.”
” So that line about him being your inspiration…”
” That is true. Insanity if very inspiring, or haven’t you noticed that yet?”
“So he didn’t tell you what to write.”
” He most certainly did not…the idea”
I guess I should have known better, my Grandmother who loved herself way more then anybody else ever did simply because she thought no one else could do that as well as she could was not exactly a candidate for the role of being a Ghost Writer.
” So a cat didn’t write your books…” I said as my face turned hot.
Suddenly I could see how foolish I must have looked to everyone I’d been talking to. On top of that my dear Grandmother would probably find a way to work my idea into one of her stories and now anyone I hadn’t got around to telling my idea to would know how nuts I was.
I figured on my way home tonight I’d take that Bridge, the badly lit one home and the next day they’d find me…
My Grandmother turned around in her chair and looked up at me with the perpetual smile that she always seemed to have on her face, even when she was angry. Then she turned around and went back to her writing and she said with that smile in her voice:
” I never said that Akela.”