Today we had to have one of our kitty-cats put down.  Whisper started losing her balance and falling over last week, and when we took her to the vet on Friday she was unable to stand or use her hind legs properly.  The two vets who checked her over felt it was a neurological problem and prescribed her drugs, although if we could have afforded the £1,000 bill for a neurological vet & MRI that would have been an additional option.  We watched over the weekend but she failed to respond to the antibiotics and was unable to use the litter, although she continued to drag herself around the front room to find the best place to sleep. But she was in so much pain, trembling, breathing heavily and wheezing with gaping mouth, pupils dilated. So the vet agreed that we had to end her suffering.

Our sadness continues but we know putting her to sleep was for the best. Hopefully Willow, her sister, will not pine too long for her and when we bring another kitty home she will have the company she now craves – when we’re exhausted or distracted.

Whisper was born on the 30th March 2011 on the farm at the B&B where we first stayed. So she would have been 1 year & 5 months at the end of the August, but in that short time she made an indelible impact on our lives, beginning with the moment we first met her as a tiny kitten.  A ball of fur that was shy and cold so wanted to bury herself in my clothes. She was always the shy one of the two sisters and neither boisterous nor mischievous like her sister.  But she would play, chasing balls or cat-nip mice, and catching flies or spiders; although it was without the nickel-driven exuberance of Willow.

Whisper was more refined in her behaviour, more demure and sedate with such silky thick tortoise-shell fur and a beautiful bushy tail.  We were always sure that she had Maine-Coon in her bloodline, in contrast to her slim Calico tomboy sister. Our little princess had her special habits like climbing up the ladder-back of the dining chairs and staring at my wife whenever we were going to go to bed. She also loved sleeping especially between my keyboard and monitor – although she outgrew the space.

Less endearing but memorable, was her inability to bury her poo in the litter, scraping the sides or cover but not the granules. I tried to show her the bury technique as did her sister but if I didn’t clean it up then Willow did the burying.  On reflection, we wonder whether this was the first sign of her neurological problem. Was it congenital and we missed the early clues? She had problems jumping onto the bed at first and there were times that she missed a target like the top of the toilet cistern.  But they were so occasional that it was easy to ignore them.  Not now, reflecting on her too short life. Now though she is at peace chasing butterflies by the Rainbow Bridge with my old cat Oliver and the much-loved dogs who went before them from both sides of the Atlantic.  Her ashes will sit in a kitten carving on our mantelpiece next to our daughter Carrie’s and Oliver’s.

I hope you all understand that I had to write about Whisper as a tribute to her and as catharsis. This has been another piece of stress that has added to our troubled lives and my MS triggers. I am hoping that I get prescribed with Gabapentin to ease the spasms but have yet to hear from the MS Nurse to say that she has contacted the doctor.  There are other difficulties and obstacles to tackle but hopefully in time we can move on, especially if we have the same strength that Whisper showed until the end.

How much time?

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writing

Please don’t think I’m lazy but apologies are due I believe. The unforeseen hiatus in posts was enforced by MS dragging me down. Anyway I am back to the Blogging again. However Time is a tough commodity to manage when living with spasms, stiffness and exhaustion, so no wild promises or resolutions this time.

When I started this Blog at the end of May, the dominant theme became Editing as that was the writing stage I had reached with my first novel.  After 12 years plus of working on Spiral of Hooves, I hoped that the end was in sight and only a couple of drafts were required to reach the finishing line.

Was I foolish thinking Editing would be so easy? 

Three months on from starting the edit I had reached a quagmire and quit three days ago. Identifying the dire marshes that trapped me is simple – word checking.  Was I reading too many posts about finding those ‘weasel words’ that grate and trying to eliminate them? I was spending day after day exterminating adverbs and expunging that/what/had/was or anything that was incorrect.  I began to hate the manuscript and believe that it was not good enough. Plus I craved the day when I could move on to a better novel and get out of the Dead Marshes.

English: A view of the Kepler Mire String Bog ...

English: A view of the Kepler Mire String Bog from the Mt York Road Southland New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia) [Used in LOTR films]

I abandoned the novel and put it back in the ‘bottom shelf’, deciding to move on and use a better manuscript as my first novel – the one I would use to get an agent. There was a mixture of frustration at my failure to finish Spiral of Hooves and relief at the thought of tackling Wyrm Bait, which already has a sequel hovering in the wings (called Wyrm Blood).

But was I wrong to give up so easily?

In the last few days two things happened that have possibly opened up clearer paths forward in my writing quest.  First, my grand-daughter Jessica – step- if I was being pedantic – passed me a link to a US publishing group run by writers: Perhaps they might be another route for a novel that needs a home – after a minor tinker.

Second, I read a repost by a US agent – – that made me realise that I could be following the rules too rigidly and stifling my creation before I had given it a chance. Thanks then to Rachelle Gardner for rekindling my belief in my creative process and putting the Editing in a context – not that I’m throwing out the rules that pulled me away from my worst writing excesses.

I need to learn from this journey through the Pedantry Marshes when I move on to Wyrm Bait and I must choose a more sensible approach.  I’ve learnt that writing a first draft isn’t so much of a burden as the Editing and I need to manage Time better.  I hope that I can do that and find enough Time to produce the other ideas that are crying out for creation.  On the cusp of 59 I wonder how much more writing I can manage before MS steals all the thoughts away.

How much Time does a novel require in your life? Do you juggle or manage?

"Writing on the wood is prohibited."...

“Writing on the wood is prohibited.” DSC07600 (Photo credit: Nicolas Karim)