Wicket Lake

When A Story Takes Writes Itself

So there we were…

I had worked since six o’clock the previous morning before making the ten hour drive to spend Thanksgiving at my future mother-in-law’s house. After a late (or early, rather) arrival and an even later bedtime, my alarm woke me at half-past five to enjoy Thanksgiving morning with my fiance and his sweet momma before the others arrived. To say I was tired would be an enormous mistake. I was fried harder than a yellow-belly chicky-wanna-be.

So there we were — my fella and me, alone for the first time in more than a month, just sitting together on the porch swing, watching the sun drive away the chill of early morning — when up the porch steps bounded a beautiful long-haired black and white kitty. She was too well-groomed to be a stray, we thought, so maybe just a neighbor cat saying hello. She hesitated only a moment before responding to my invitation, and then she was on our laps, begging for nose-to-tail pets, ear-scratches, neck snuggles, and undivided attention. It was a nice little surprise to the morning.

The next time we went out, she appeared again. And then the next time. And the next. Until finally, we determined she was not a neighbor cat, but probably an abandoned girl — just into her adulthood, after the “little kitten” magic has worn off — dumped far enough outside of town that no one would know. She was incredibly affectionate, though, and eagerly desiring human interaction. Every time I left the house, it seemed, she was out front, taking each step before me as if to say, “Where ya going? Huh? Can I come? No? Pet me first? Please? Huh?”

My fiance was fairly easily convinced that he should keep her around and feed her — we even gave her a name! And by the time I left, it was almost as if she had always been ours… or like she was meant to be ours.

It reminded me of another Cat that showed up with no warning, claimed its territory, and refusing to leave: Davon’s Cat. I thought how often that happens in writing: You think you know the story you’re creating, and out of nowhere some character or situation shows up that you aren’t expecting, and it refuses to leave. It demands your attention. It demands to be fed. And what can you do? You can ignore it and hope it goes away, but… if you’ve written it down, you’re already at the point where the cat has rubbed against your neck and claimed your heart. You might as well give it a name if it’s going to stick around, right?

Davon’s Cat is not going away. Try as I might, she is as relentless in her pursuit of Davon as our Thanksgiving kitty. It changes his story. Not enormously, but… enough. It changes what I had planned for Davon (though maybe that would be a welcome break — as I understand it, some folks think I’ve given him too much trouble already!). In a mess of uncertainty as I approach my next (and close to last) Davon chapter, I wonder whether it will even play out how I’ve planned. I cannot say for sure. It’s almost as if the story (at least in this aspect) is writing itself and I have completely lost control.

Don’t ever believe anyone who tells you that “an author is the god of their own universe.” It isn’t true. It isn’t even close.

All I know, at this point, is that Davon’s Cat is not leaving. She belongs with him, and he needs her. She has claimed him, so I’d better figure out why she jumped on board.

From the shores of Wicket Lake,

sem

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