Friday, June 13, 2008

Ellsworth Changes Her Mind


Winchester, you came down from the bookcase.

I was getting a nosebleed up there. I see you're still packing.

Just a few last minute things--my backpack, another teddy bear. You can't have too many teddy bears.

So you're really going through with it. Leave me the whole summer.

All summer is a long time, now that I think of it. What if there's nobody my age at Hollins University?

Or your size. Probably no students eight inches tall.

I bet the desks are too big.

And the chairs.

You're right. I won't have anybody to give me a boost. The Writer will be too busy. Well, if I can't sit in the chairs, I'm not going!

You're not?

I'm staying right here. With you!

Really? You're really staying home?

Yes, now help me unpack.

Right after we play Mousie.

Goodbye, everybody! See you in August!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Winchester Is Found


I can't find Winchester anywhere! I've looked in the kibble closet, the canned cat food pantry, under the bed and under the ottoman where he cowers during thunderstorms. I've looked in the garage, on the porch, and even the mailbox.

I went across the street and asked Zelda if she'd seen him, but she said no. She also said if he was gone, it was no great loss, which I don't think was very nice. I guess I'll go back in the library again. Maybe he's under the Big Green Chair and I missed him, though I don't see how. He's not exactly tiny.

Wait . . . I feel something . . . eyes! Something is staring at me. [Looks up] Winchester!

What?

What do you mean 'what?' You've been missing for two hours and forty-five minutes. I've been worried sick.
You got my note. I ran away.

On top of the bookcase?

I'm not allowed outside. This was the only place I could think of. It's not bad up here. These bears keep me company and I have my food dish and a bag of kib--

Will you please come down?

Will you stay home with me?

I can't. The Writer and I are leaving day after tomorrow.

Then here I stay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Winchester Runs Away


I haven't seen Winchester in a while. He's always either eating, sleeping on The Big Green Chair, or bugging somebody. I wonder where he is?

Oh, no! His food mat is perfectly clean. No crumbs. The kibble bucket lid is on the floor and his food dish is gone. He left this note.

Winchester has run away from home!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Case of the Missing Scratching Post


Yawn. That was a great nap. Guess I'll go dig the stairs some more. They're just about ruined. The Writer has yelled at me so much, she's hoarse. Hee-hee. Just what she deserves.

Wha?? What happened? Where's the carpet? The stairs are all wood! How long was I asleep? The Writer! She did this. She took away my lovely shredded carpet and replaced it with this horrible hard wood. My nice big scratching post is gone!

First The Writer is leaving to teach school and Ellsworth is going with her. Now she's taken away my stairs. That tears it. That's the feather that broke the cat's back! That's the bell on the collar!

I'll show her! I'll show them all!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Writing Monday: Secret Gardens

As The Writer works on her lesson plans for Hollins, she has been thinking about her student's work and her own. Writers have a funny habit of "saving" projects. The Writer does it herself. She gets an idea--maybe the most wonderful idea ever--but thinks she's not ready for it. She's not good enough to write it, or confident enough. She has too much work. She's busy traveling. She has to clean the house.

Yes, the seed of a wonderful new idea needs time to grow once it's sprouted. But if too much time passes, wonderful new ideas can wither. The Writer has found a way to keep those ideas growing. Think of a secret hiding place: it can be a treehouse or a secret room or a little house of your own. Now surround your secret hiding place with a garden. Imagine all your favorite flowers and bushes and trees. Go into your secret hiding place within your secret garden and work on your wonderful new idea. The secret hiding place and garden are always there, in your head. No one else can go there. And the only project you work on there is that new idea.

Take your private place wherever you go. Take it with you this summer on vacation or simply spending lazy days in the back yard. Go there and tend to your wonderful new idea.

This will be my and The Writer's last Writing Monday post until August. But Winchester and I will be blogging the rest of the week.

Don't bet the farm on it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Winchester's Revenge


Ellsworth and The Writer are upstairs packing. They think they're so smart, running off to the mountains this summer. I hear the campus at Hollins University is really pretty, with lots of birds and other stuff to catch.

This is all The Writer's fault. If she wasn't going away this summer, Ellsworth would stay home with me. I have get back at her. What can I do that gets on her nerves? She always says she has one nerve left and I'm plucking it. How can I send her over the edge?

Hmmm. The stairs are my good scratching post. I have other digging spots, but the stairs are the best. Thirteen steps with nice carpeting. I've scratched some of the steps down to the bare wood. It's some of my finest work. The Writer throws a fit when she hears me make the tiniest little dig. She practically has a stroke.

I think I'll go on a real scratching binge. I'll dig and claw and rip until the all the stairs are in shreds! That'll show her!

Claws unsheathed. . . let the shredding begin!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Winchester Pouts


Oh, there you are. Would you help me with this box? I can't lift it by myself.

[silence]

I said, will you help me?

[silence]

Winchester, what's the matter with you?

I'm not speaking to you.

You just did. Hee-hee.

You know what I mean. I'm mad at you for going away this summer.

I promise to call you every week.

You don't have fingers. How are you going to dial the phone?

The Writer will dial it for me. Okay? Are we friends now?

Go away. I'm not speaking to you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ellsworth Continues to Pack for Hollins U


Let's see...
camera. Check. Bun-bun. Check. Teddy. Check.

What are you doing?

What does it look like? I'm packing my toys to take to Hollins. Where was I? Blankie. Bun-bun's bed. Hard plastic doll The Writer thinks I like? Nah.

I thought you'd changed your mind.

I never said I wasn't going. The Writer is an associate professor. That makes me--an assistant associate professor.

I think you're letting this whole thing go to your cotton-stuffed head. Obviously loyalty doesn't count.

It's business, Winchester. Strictly business. Something you'd never understand. Bun-bun's carry case . . . pillow . . .

I understand you're not my best friend anymore. Don't expect me to throw you a going-away party.




Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ellsworth Packs for Hollins University


Let's see . . . I have my blue and white party dress. There are a lot of receptions at Hollins. Where are the matching shoes?

What are you doing?

Packing. I told you I'm going to Hollins with The Writer this summer.

You can't go!

The Writer is taking her laptop. I have to keep the blog going. We hit 200 posts yesterday, you know. Besides, The Writer needs me. I'm her best friend.

I'm your best friend! You can't do this to me! Who will play Mousie with me?

Maybe Zelda can come over and play.

Zelda threw me over. And now you are, too! I hope you have a nice summer, Ellsworth. Don't bother sending me a postcard.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Writing Monday: Teaching Others

The Writer has been giving a lot of thought to teaching since she will be a member of the faculty at Hollins University, teaching in their Children's Literature graduate program. She never took any creative writing courses herself. She learned to write by writing, starting at an early age. She wrote and wrote and wrote. And read and read and read. She studied a magazine called Writer's Digest, back when it really was a digest.

She learned to sell by submitting her work. She submitted and submitted and submitted. She learned how to improve her work by trial and error. Editors who wrote her rejection letters helped her as well. The best editors pointed out what was good about her manuscript, while offering suggestions on how to improve it.

Now that's she's been in the field of children's literature for 27 years, she wishes the MFA and MA programs in children's books were around when she needed them. So she is wondering what kind of teacher she should be.

She has decided she will be the world's kindest editor. One who will teach and guide. One who will nuture dreams while teaching craft. The type of editor all writers long to have. When she leaves for Hollins University for the summer, she will--

Hold the kitty litter! The Writer is leaving for the summer again? Oh, boy! Without her around, her husband will feed me a lot and you and me can play--

Sorry, Winchester. I'm going with her.