Monday, 19 August 2013

My Fictional Feline Fascination

Over on my Facebook page I mentioned that I've started a new story: a dark fantasy with a cat as the hero (it sounds stranger then it is, I swear). This got me thinking about how many stories I've written over the years that have centred around cats. I suppose this is due to the well-known, and mostly accepted, mantra 'write what you know'. As a young child I didn't know much aside from my family, my love for cats and my desire to play make-believe. It's no wonder then that most of my childhood stories revolved around these three topics.

My first notebook full of stories.

The other day I found an old book in my family home that was full of cat tales. I was around five years old when I wrote my first story, which naturally centred around feline protagonists. Unfortunately the story is mostly illegible as I was one of those lucky (?) children who first learnt to write phonetically before switching to writing like a normal human being the very next year. I don't quite understand why I was taught to write in a language that only a five year old would understand. My first story might be a masterpiece, sadly we'll never know.

It's about cats... the rest is a mystery.

There must have been something about this little hard cover book that ignited my imagination, begging for the pages to be filled with stories of cats playing hide and seek, cats going to the vet due to ear infections and cats flying a rocket to the moon – my personal favourite. And whilst I've purged many of my school notebooks and childhood novels over the years, I've never had the heart to throw away this adorable relic. Although I cannot understand much of what is written, I had the forethought to add handy images. These drawings take me back to the time when I wrote the stories; what may look like a large nondescript square is actually a trampoline that my cat protagonists spent hours bouncing on. Trampolines were banned from my backyard, thus they were magical and alluring to my young self, perfect for exploring in a story.

It's a trampoline, obviously.

Over the years, I developed a habit of turning all my diaries and notebooks into stories. I would tire of detailing the every day goings-on in my life and would write fictional tales instead. Filling the last page of a diary brought a sense of satisfaction, almost as if I had completed, and published, a hardback novel. This no doubt fuelled my desire to actually be published one day.

I eventually strayed from feline topics as I got older, but cats will always hold a large space in my heart. When the idea of my new story popped into my head, I knew there could be no other hero, then a cat. 

Did you write stories as a child? What captured your young imagination? Please let me know in the comments.

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