Showing posts from April, 2014

The Ultimate Predator

In Everything Cat: What Kids Really Want To Know About Cats , Marty Crisp writes that "a cat facing illness or death is aware only that he is being threatened. He cannot find the source of the threat, but the instinctual response is to hide." This is the beginning of a response to the question "Why did our old cat disappear forever?" Crisp adds, "Unfortunately, you can't hide from death." I considered mentioning this children's book in an intellectual setting last week. At the Festival of Faith and Writing, I moderated a session on the task of writing on trauma and loss, and this cat fact seemed relevant. In what ways do we hide from death? How is loss felt as a threat? But memoirist Shannon Huffman Polson and National Book Award nominee Andrew Krivak were articulate panelists, and we had plenty to talk about without the mention of cats. Krivak's book The Sojourn had been described by The Washington Post as "packed with violence an

My Inspiration

We met at a Mexican restaurant, her choice but she'd never been there. "I heard it's good," she said, adjusting her pink hat and rosary necklace. The necklace was the only thing not pink about her, and I'd never seen her like this, with earrings and bright clothes. The last time we were together there was snow, and she wore five pairs of socks. Boots, knit cap, sweatshirt, all dark, drab colors, and just a hint of a smile. Today, Patty was smiling big. Patty used to be homeless. She stayed at the homeless shelter where I worked, though not when I was there, and we namedrop like old friends. I never knew her boyfriend, who died on the streets, but I can picture her, I must admit, as one of  them. And now she's in a category that doesn't have enough members. She's off the streets. She has an apartment. She's thriving as best as someone with limited resources can. And what she told me over her burrito and my tacos is that she's never going