Jeanette Bennett

The Blog of JEANETTE M. BENNETT - Indie Author from the Scablands of Eastern Washington

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Don't Kill the Kitten!

I had an odd dream last night. I usually don’t remember much of my dreams, but this seemed especially vivid. I ran into Mark Lindsay walking down a country road. Most of you don’t know who he is, but Mark was the lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders way back when. I had a crush on him at 14, I suppose because I felt a connection to him. He too is from the Pacific Northwest, a Pisces and part Cherokee.

Yeah, you are saying “fantasy old flame,” we know where this is leading, but it was nothing like that. Mark looked older than I remember him as a kid. He was wearing jeans, a flannel shirt and a serene expression. He seemed surprised that I remembered him, because so few do nowadays. But he wasn’t bitter. He said he didn’t have to be on top. We discussed the fleetingness of fame and how it wasn’t that important.

Scene change: I decide I better go back to work as a graphic artist. I create a form from a template which got printed wrong and I try to show my employer it was not the fault of my setup. For some reason the only way to correct this is to kill a kitten. I reluctantly give him poison, and hold the dying creature, trying to comfort him. As I watch him get weaker I decide I can’t go through with it. I shove my finger down his throat, getting him to throw up the poison and tell the print shop I work for that I quit. I go back to trying to save the kitten I had just tried to kill. At that point I wake up.

Now I was a graphic artist for about 25 years and I never had to kill a kitten. I asked my psyche-major husband what this all meant. He said it was simple. The kitten was my book.

Yeah, about twenty-five years ago I had tried to kill my need to write. I thought it was dead but it was just comatose. Five years ago I made it vomit up the poison and have worked hard to revive it into a lively kitten again. And I have felt guilty that I am playing with it, instead of getting rid of it and getting a real job. No, let the kitten live.

Yet so many of us feel we can’t be writers unless we are on the New York Times Best Seller’s List. I think that’s why Mark Lindsay showed up to act as Shaman. But why Mark Lindsay? Did my subconscious feel I was so shallow I would only listen to a cute guy? Or was there some other reason? The next day I Googled Mark Lindsay and found he hadn’t lied to me. After his star fell to earth, he just picked himself up and strolled off to find new adventures. He worked behind the scenes at record companies, wrote music scores for movies and did commercial jingles. He is currently performing around the country, letting older fans feel like teeny-boppers again and letting younger ones see what all the fuss was about. He looks content. So apparently Mark wasn’t lying to me. You don’t have to be number one to be successful. You just have to follow your bliss.

Maybe that’s why my writing career was a kitten. I thought it was because I love kittens, but perhaps it has a deeper meaning. Kittens can grow up to be cats but never tigers or lions. And that’s okay. Cats may be more common than tigers but they will never devour you. They are much easier to live with.

So whatever your dream, let it live. Don’t kill the kitten. Pet it until it purrs.

Of course kittens can grow up to be pretty dang big!

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