Donna's Blog

Write What You Know

Posted by donnadawson on June 11, 2013 at 10:20 AM

You would think after a bazillion years of writing articles, short stories and books (ok so one book) Duke would know enough to write what he knows.  I guess we are all entitled to a few relapses.  For that matter, I have had my share of faux paws when writing beyond my scope of knowledge. 

 

In Duke's case he decided to write about the psychology of the mother cat.  He figured that since he'd been in a litter during his younger years and cats had litters too, that it couldn't be that much different.  Never mind the fact that Duke is a male dog and has never once had the experience of having his own litter.  He threw out inaccurate tidbits with the flippancy of a court jester in King Henry's time--as you can see below.

 

The mother cat isn't a very good mother.  When she isn't out cavorting, she lies around all day, sniffing cat nip and drinking bowls of milk while her kittens fight constantly.

 

That was just one of Duke's epiphanies from the 1,000 word article he wrote--and somehow managed to get published--in He Barks A Lot Journal.  To say he redefined the quality of hate mail is an understatement.  Cats are, after all, rather catty.  I chuckled over one particular note received.

 

First of all, you are a dog.  Think Odie.  Dumb as a post.  You drool.  You tote along behind your pet human like you haven't enough brain cells to exist without him.  You don't have an ounce of independence.  (Obviously this cat hasn't met Duke but I digress.)  All of this makes you incapable of understanding even a cat of the lowest social standing never mind one as exalted as a mother cat.  We mother cats are quite excellent in tending our kittens.  You state that we are out cavorting.  No.  We hunt mice while our kittens sleep--kittens which are hidden in discrete hiding places so as to protect them from the predatory instincts of marauding dogs.  We bring our kittens meat to eat and then while they feed we relax so we have the strength to do so again.  I don't know where you got the idea that we sniff cat nip all day.  It sounds to me like you've been having a go at the stuff yourself.  (I wonder if she knew about the Christmas Eve party?  Hm.)  And I have seldom had the privilege of lapping bowls of milk.  Yes.  My kittens fight.  They are learning to survive in a harsh world dominated by misinformed and rather rude canines.  Perhaps you should consider doing a bit of research before blathering all over a piece of paper and calling it an article.  And perhaps the publisher who accepted the piece should consider another line of work.  Thank you for your time. 

 

Sincerely,

Carolina Cat

So.  Duke has been duly chastised and I have something to share with readers.  If you don't know enough about an idea to write about but wish to write about it--don't make it up.  Find a professional in that field.  When I wrote my novel Rescued, I was well aware of my inability to comprehend the medical industry.  I asked every professional I could find.  I'm still unable to comprehend the medical industry but I know that the information in the book comes from credible sources.  Duke would have been wise to find a cat willing to spill her thoughts to him.  Perhaps old Marble the shop cat.  Age has mellowed her enough that she might consider an interview--and she has populated the region several times over with felines gifted in the art of mousing.

 

Duke is busy penning a reply.  His eyes are bulging and I think I see steam rising from his ears.  I might just have to intercept that letter before it makes it to the mailbox.  I suspect there are few platitudes there.

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