Friday, April 21, 2017

Of Notebooks and Chocolate Bunnies

In the midst of my usual almost-end-of-semester chaos, I'm late to the discussion about how we keep track of ideas. But I did take a photo this morning. Here's my current notebook.  I've had this notebook for years. I bought it one Christmas as a stocking-stuffer for myself – intending to keep a journal when the new year began. I never got around to the journal. But I have enjoyed looking at the notebook's lovely pristine pages. A couple of months ago, I had an idea and no other paper handy. I grabbed the notebook and a red pen and wrote down my semi-brilliant idea before it could slip away. I am now using my notebook to record random thoughts.

This notebook is in addition to the five files I have on my computer with notes about potential books or short stories. I sometimes forget those files. But when I go back to them I'm always pleased that I have a plot factory quietly churning away. I'm also dismayed at how many ideas I have with limited time to develop them. But sometimes the ideas come together – as in the case of the short story set in 1948 that I have coming out in EQMM. Random thoughts became ideas that finally took shape and came together when I did some research.

That brings me to the chocolate bunnies in this post. Here is my cat Harry's plate. I took this photo this morning. His plate is one of the reasons I choked when I tried to eat the chocolate bunny that I bought during the Easter candy sale. I haven't had a bunny in years and I thought it would be a treat.

But as soon as I chopped the head off I remembered the headless corpse of one of the rabbits who was living in my yard. I came upon it one morning as I was walking to my car. The rabbit had apparently been the victim of one of the cats who pass through my yard. The memory of that headless rabbit – and that I could never eat rabbit stew (made by my mother when my father went hunting) when I was a child – gave me some clue about why I was having a hard time eating my chocolate bunny. Harry's plate this morning gave me the rest of the story. This is what he left after gobbling down his breakfast of rabbit and pumpkin. Harry has a finicky stomach so I didn't argue when his vet suggested I vary his canned prescription cat food, alternating between chicken and rabbit. I didn't argue but I did say, "Yuck!" Which suggested that I am much more squeamish about fluffy bunnies than about chickens. At any rate, watching Harry gobble his weekly canned rabbit reminded me once again that my sweet, gentle cat would hunt and kill his own bunny if he were allowed outside.

So because of a headless corpse, rabbit stew, and Harry's gourmet cat food, I choked on my chocolate. That got me thinking about characters and how something as simple as a chocolate bunny can be a way into understanding a character and revealing something about her or him to readers.



Rick Blechta said...

I think that is one seriously handsome cat!

Sybil Johnson said...

I agree, one seriously handsome cat!

I will never look at chocolate bunnies the same way after reading this. I prefer not to think about bunnies being stalked by predators. I shall push that to the back of my mind.

That is an interesting point, though, about a little thing really showing something about a character. Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes comes to mind. You wouldn't think he feared anything. But he powered through it and I think viewers admired/liked his character more because of it.

Vicki Delany said...

Indiana Jones might have, but I spent those scenes with my hands over my eyes.

Sybil Johnson said...

Me, too, Vicki. I do NOT like snakes.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Me, three. I get nervous even going down to the basement to do laundry in the summer for fear a snake has found its way in. I grew up in Virginia, and one came up from the basement and into the bathroom once. Really frightened my poor grandmother.

Harry says "meow" for the compliments. He's a Maine Coon mix. Adopted from a local shelter.

Eileen Goudge said...

Whatever your feeding your cat, it seems to agree with him. He's a fine-looking animal.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Thanks, Eileen. He's a good eater since we added pumpkin and probiotics to his diet. And, he loves being groomed even more than he loves eating. First, brush me, then feed me.