Any writer worth his syllables needs a muse, familiar or loyal companion. So where there is ink and a couple of quills, you’re as likely to find a cat and a bottle of whiskey. And, as the old English saying goes: “Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack.” I have two.
My black duet moved down from Sandton to join forces with Dax and his designer nguni hide in Hout Bay. Dax is allergic to cats which caused heavy negotiation and a series of serious compromises. The cats are not allowed in the main room and have to be fed in the guest bathroom (Dax has some weird OCD tendencies – I blame his mother - and claims the food smells too strongly to be kept in the kitchen) but I did manage to protect their right to remain in the house. I miss curling up to sleep with them at night (most especially as we approach winter), however it means I have something to look forward to when Dax goes away on retreat or I’m relegated to the guest room for a night. Eish.
One of a litany of famous authors with a penchant for pussy, the incorrigible Ernest Hemingway was crazy about cats (and whisky). I have a certain affinity for the man since we share a birthday (‘day of the tragic-comedic controversy’ or something equally insulting – along with Robin Williams and the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) and a love of felines, stiff drinks and the written word. His cats had wonderfully eccentric names: Skunk, Dilinger, Pilar and Ecstasy (I once had one called Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds) and I feel Morpheus and Tipareth can certainly hold their own with those names. Morpheus, a sleek sexy avatar of Dream, heralds from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series and has, along with the rest of The Endless, been a source of great inspiration. Tipareth is the 6th and central sphere of The Tree of Life, the sephiroth of the heart, harmony, beauty and the sun.
Following the sage advice of Aldous Huxley:
‘if you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is keep a pair of cats.’
This post is for them – twin dark hearts, my kindreds. You can see how iconic they are…