For a brief moment of time many years ago in what feels like an alternate universe, I had my dream job. I was paid to go to people’s homes and businesses in a quaint, touristy town and ask semi-nosey questions and then write about it. It wasn’t steady work and it paid like a side job, but I loved meeting new people and hearing how each one opened up in an hour’s time.

The retiring Persian rug shop owner was my first and gentlest. I never did crack the all-business veneer of the upscale coffee barista. My favorite interview was probably the bubbly flight attendant who ran a feral cat rescue from her home and drank from both her coffee cup and mine during what felt more like a meeting with an old, hyperactive friend.

At one point, the flight attendant/cat rescue lady shared an idea she had for a book about a beloved stray who stopped by for breakfast every morning and then headed off to a boatyard in an adjacent lot like it was his job to chase birds and probably nap a lot. We agreed it might make a cute story to set some photographs and text in what would have been a zine or blog post before either of those things were invented.

The problem was she wasn’t a writer and didn’t own a camera, so this woman I’d just met basically handed me the perfect opportunity to try something creative and outside my comfort zone. And I nodded enthusiastically and agreed it was a terrific idea and I went home and wrote a glowing piece about her and her rescue cats, leaving out the part about her drinking from my coffee mug, and I never spoke to her again.

Yesterday I was reminded of this regret after falling in love with Horace and Agnes on account of the absurdist anthropomorphism, and of course those sharp photographs. 

I thought it might be fun to have my daughters pose favorite stuffed animals in a Toy Story meets Marwencol photo shoot and make up a little story about the characters. I swear this idea seemed less psychotic earlier, but now we’re in the middle of another snowstorm and psychosis is starting to feel like an old friend bearing milk and eggs and trashy magazines.

We posed the stuffed cat and panda by a cardboard house I swear neither of the cats normally pay any mind to.

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A story unfolded before our eyes, but it wasn’t the one I was expecting.

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What started out as a seemingly innocent visit to what was believed to be an abandoned beach cottage turned into a courageous battle by one cat to defend his home against malevolent intruders.

A cat’s gotta tell his story. There’s no way around it.

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30 thoughts on “Revisiting an old regret

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  1. I am going to say right off the bat, I don’t normally dig cat pics. Love cats to death. Just not pics. But this…this was awesome. I love that slow-motion take down by kitty there. Hilarious and sweet…what a gas. The Horace and Agnes is fantastic – my first time seeing that. Very cool. And yes, the pics are quite amazing…lots of work involved in those, I can tell you. I just want to know where they got those masks / heads.

    Amazing how this whole regret thing turns things around? Photography was something I regret not conintuing to pursue. But that doesn’t stop me from trying new things with my own camera. And you did something that is wonderful and in the spirit of that which you felt you laid aside for all those years. This could be the start of something else. It seems like you had a lot of fun with it, and doing it with your daughters must have been great.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this – just loved all of it. Great start to my day. Even better now would to get that first coffee…lol.

    Paul

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  2. This was really fun! 🙂 my favorite picture was the 2nd to last one – where the single eye is staring out — but all work so week together -snow and cabin fever has some creative byproducts!

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      1. Hi again, well for some reason this post KEPT reminding me of this book about a cat – A Man and Hist Hat” by Letitia Parr – and so I had to come back and give you the link – because I SO think you need to make a children’s book. Maybe even a lift-the-flap one. Okay, well maybe not that 😉 – but this photo shoot may be the catalyst for more unfolding ideas.

        Below is the link – and in this book, the author uses clay figures and takes shots of scenes as the old man cannot find his hat (spoiler alert – the cat is lying on it) and in his search for it – well the author uses simple sentences that are just fun!

        I have used it in the art room a few times and the students always soaked up the story and then enjoyed making clay figures afterwards….

        http://www.amazon.com/Man-His-Hat-Letitia-Parr/dp/0399222553/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392784242&sr=1-1&keywords=0399222553
        ~y.

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      2. I got that book yesterday and adore it. Love the somehow real looking elderly couple and the short, simple rhymes. Read it to my 5 year old last night and even my older daughter wanted to hear how it turned out. Thanks again for the recommendation. It’s a special book.

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  3. Cats, difficult to describe their attraction. They are the strangest creatures. Distinctive. Individual. Independent dependents. Flying Wallendas. Terrible drivers. Rodin’s models. Excitable teens. Prodigal sons. Roommates. Nurses.

    The new Heading looks good. Your writing and photos excellent as always. Thank you for helping to keep me centered.

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  4. K, Funniest. Post. Ever!

    It’s got it all… suspense, action, surprise ending. I am inspired by your creativity. All I can do is lay around and stare at snow banks, can’t seem to summon up the energy to think, much less pull a stunt like that. Do you do travelling shows? Because my kids would love a re-enactment!

    Thanks for brightening up a snow-bound day!

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  5. What did your cat do with the stuffed cat? Did she remove it from the cottage entirely, or just push it out of the way? Animals and small children crack me up. The world is so much better for them. I think the story of the cat who works at the boatyard would make a lovely children’s book!

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  6. BB you remind me of the multi-layered onion in that as you peel away one skin,another more glistening skin is exposed. I think you are not an onion but I am sure your layers are more and more beautiful. Keep writing. B

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  7. What a fun post! As a cat person, i especially appreciated it.

    Concerning regrets, as the King of Regrets, let me say that there will always be the road not taken, but for every road not taken there is the road we took and that road led us to where we are today, and that’s not such a bad place. So here’s a Dry Toast to the Road Taken!

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  8. Beautiful! I must get my cat, “Cooking Fat”, trained to do some constructive stuff like this instead of eating power cables and p***ing in my flip-flops :o)
    Thanks for sharing
    G x

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