Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Random acts of kindness AND a writing lesson

The following is an excerpt from an email a friend sent me two winters ago:

“I have a little cat .13 years old: he's the boss. He spent the
morning rolling around
in a sunny spot in the dirt. He was so happy. It's been a long, cold
winter .... it made me happy
to see him so happy. We live in a little, secluded house surrounded
by woods

He (the cat) showed up when I first moved into the house I've been
living in. Wow .. it's been 12 years at the same place.
It turns out some Coast Guard guy lived in the neighborhood, got a
kitten for his daughter
then, abruptly, moved to the West coast. He left the kitten to fend
for itself (jerk!).

The cat lived in the woods here for about 6 months (I speculate) and
became pretty feral.
I'd see him up in trees fighting with the other cats in the area ...
pretty much trying to get away
and getting his ass whooped. I didn't know whose cat he was, but I'd
chase the other cats
away and try to coax him down from the trees. He'd just climb higher
into the trees.

He'd show up when I was grilling meat on the deck, acting really
freaked out. I knew he was hungry.
He looked like shit: all beat up and skinny, with splotchy fur.
Sometimes I'd come home from fishing
and catch him sleeping on my deck or on the roof. I guessed it was a
safe place for him to watch for coyotes.
This went on for a month or so. I asked around the neighborhood. Lots
of folks had seen him
but no one claimed him as theirs. They said they would throw out
scraps of meat to him.

That just attracted the coyotes. F-ing brilliant!
Anyway I started feeding him. I knew what that meant ... I was making
a commitment to take care of him.
What else could I do? I couldn't stand watching him suffer and
getting his ass kicked, he was
definitely coyote bait and he was obviously starving.

So I started giving him food, and gaining his trust.
The first time I let him in my house he took a crap right inside the
front door .... still can't figure that out.

Now he's fully--furred and really healthy. He's a really good
guy .... he's like a dog, in a way.
he doesn't go in the garbage, doesn't claw the furniture and he's
really good at identifying assholes: sucky people (he hides).
In the Winter he likes to stay in and sleep by the wood-stove, in the
Summer he likes to sleep on my
bed and keep an eye on me.”

I actually didn't realize the lesson part when I decided on posting this. And it's not really a lesson, it's more of an example of what voice can do. You'll notice I haven't mentioned a name, sex, age, or any identifying characteristics of my friend. But I'd be willing to wager you can tell a lot from that single email.

Care to have a go?

ps Sunny, bright, and pretty cold here; very little melting going on
and happy wednesday! I'm off and have nothing to do but write, or whatever I want all day until supper, which is at my mom's house. no doubt something yummy (she's a pro), probably with dessert, too. Yee Ha!


  1. I want to guess, but not until someone else goes first. Yep, I'm a chicken. That said, good for your friend!!!! Have fun at your Mom's!

  2. I had a hard enough time even making it through let alone dissecting it.

  3. Well I'm no FBI profiler, but I would guess this email was written by a single white male in his late 30s who lives alone, except for his cat. The voice just makes me picture that kind of person.

  4. I'd guess a guy, too, because of the grilling.

    It was an enjoyable e-mail to read.

  5. wc, you shoulda guessed! It was easy! The grilling and the fishing were the big clues.

    Matt and M Pax, you are both correct; it was a guy who wrote that email to me, an old friend from high school, a little older than 30 (no need for specifics here, right?) and at the time he did actually live with a roomate, another high school buddy. Thanks for stopping by :)


If you're interested in my blog I'm interested in your comments.