Pre-Nano restlessness.

I am on the cusp of greatness. Or the opposite of that, I’m not yet sure which. What I do know is that November is mere hours away from taking over my life, and I’m feeling about 83% prepared for it, which is a billion times higher on the preparedness scale than I was last year. And last year I won! I’m not big on math, but I think all the calculations lead to imminent success. 

This year, I’ve got it all: an outline, well-defined characters, and a plot that has to end up at a very specific point. Not to mention all the technology! Last year, all I had was a limited supply of moxy. And technology. I can’t help but doubt myself, though; all this ambition coursing through my weak little veins is glaringly reminiscient of First Day of School Eve, when you’re high on the smell of a brand new Trapper Keeper and the luxury of a clean slate. The world is my oyster. Or maybe my novel is an oyster? I don’t like oysters. I’m in trouble.

I’m also well aware of how quickly things can get out of control. Until I actually reach the 50,000 word landmark I like to call Winnersville, I’m only a few lazy days away from washing up on the shores of Totally Fuckedmonton. I want the anticipation to be over. I want to be in the middle of it, so I’m that much closer to the end. I want a good excuse to carry our iPad around with me wherever I go (which I can assure you will not be far). I want to start. Starting is my specialty. Come on, November.

Kitty!

It’s National Cat Day (thank you, Oatmeal tweets), which is a delightful coincidence because I was already thinking about my cat! I do that often, though. I meant to do this on the anniversary of adopting my cat, but I have a terrible habit of not doing things I love doing, so I missed it by months. Now’s my chance!

A year and a half ago, our home was entirely catless, which is a sad thing, not only because Scott and I love animals, but also because our neighbourhood is teeming with them. The nice adjacent-balcony family has a big black fluffy one, and some of the nearby cats visit our ground-floor patio now and then. But we didn’t want other peoples’ cats. Visitors are lovely, but we wanted a resident.

I turned to online shopping (textbook Brandy), and scanned the BC SPCA’s listings, and found this little fluffball named Max. He was listed as a Domestic Medium Hair, which didn’t really fall under my criteria of big ’n’ fluffy. I was willing to compromise, though, because Max was also described as being from Quesnel (Scott’s hometown), raised by a family who had surrendered him, good with children, and about a year old. Children don’t factor into our lives often, but the last thing I want is a cat looking down on me on my flights of childlike fancy, so that boded well. Boded? Merriam-Webster says yes! Good.

We were open to a lot of qualities in our prospective new buddy, but a friendly, affectionate, fluffy-ish youngster just old enough to be out of the kitten phase sounded perfect. We couldn’t be sure, though, until meeting him in person (cat?), and the anticipation of that was nerve-wracking. What if he didn’t like us? What if we didn’t like him? What if he was whisked away by someone else before we could get there? All of these superficial worries crowded up my excitement, and were totally wrong. Meeting Max at the SPCA was magic, even before we made eye contact.

He was sitting on top of a cat tree, smack in the middle of the common room where he was hanging out with the other shelter kitties. He squeaked out a little “over here, guys” meow and greeted us with headbutts and kisses on our noses. If we didn’t have jobs, we’d probably still be there, stuck in a loop of affection. But we do have jobs (which really comes in handy what with cat food costing money), and we did eventually go home, and so did Max. 

If you’re thinking about adopting a cat (and I recommend it—go now!), you need to prepare yourself for some heartbreak, because surrounding that perfect pet for you are all the runners-up. And the shelter you visit will be full of animals who are just as loving, adorable, and eager for a home as the one you choose. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll have a hard time dealing with the reality of not being able to adopt every kitty making googly-eyes at you. I still do; the Vancouver SPCA is along my commute, and every time I walk by, I peek in the window of the room where Max and I first locked eyes and foreheads, and I feel a twinge of bittersweetness. 

And this cat? Sheesh, y’all. He’s the best cat ever! He’s warm, and friendly and fluffy and cute. He snuggles with us frequently, and he’s even made friends with some of the cats who visit our patio. And he has bizarre quirks that I talk about constantly, including his obsession with bananas. Did I mention that he loves bananas? Oh hey, I certainly did. I take pictures of him all the time, even though he keeps looking the same. I even started a Facebook page.

Since last September, every day has been Cat Day: my favourite day ever. 

Bananowrimo.

Firstly: I have finally captured my cat’s love for bananas. If you’ve ever met me, you’ve heard about my cat because I’m a crazy cat lady and have little else to talk about. And when I talk about my cat, I have to bring up the bananas, because it’s impossible to enjoy a banana in the presence of this cat without him muscling in on your territory and stealing a lick. By the way, my vet says this is perfectly fine. Weird, but fine. That’s Max for you.

Secondly: November’s coming, and that means that it’s time for me to write my second shitty novel. I’ve attempted National Novel Writing Month a few times over the years, but up until 2010 I failed every time. Now that I’ve done it once, my goal is to write a somewhat less shitty novel, and the worn-out excuse that I’m too busy is not going to fly.

Last year, I was working six days a week at two jobs. Now I’m down to a forgiving four days at one job, so time isn’t an issue. I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to make it an issue, but I’ll be lying. I’m also arming myself with an outline. I’m taking it semi-seriously, because I have these characters and I know about all these horrible things that are going to happen to them and I’m going to spend November trying to put it into (a minimum of fifty thousand) words.

There you go. An actual blog post. Get used to it?

No promises.