A coupdepaw takes place when a cat successfully steals something from under your nose without you noticing it.

Sweet Crystal, a Bombay Black with us decades ago, was a master of the coupdepaw. One Sunday morning in Columbia, SC, found us reading the newspaper on the floor while enjoying powdered sugar mini-doughnuts. With paper sections spread out on the floor, we had a plate of the doughnuts between us.

The doughnuts disappeared amazingly fast. Beginning to accuse each other of eating all the doughnuts, we looked behind us. There was sweet Crystal, innocently looking on, velvety black paws and face covered with white powdered sugar.

Opening Doors

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
― Pablo Picasso

This quote was on Ed Lehming’s blog post, ‘The Breach’, today. The quote’s truth stormed me about other endeavors besides painting. I’d been thinking about this last night without Picasso’s quote, so I love the serendipity. I’d been thinking about how I will have been working on something, struggling to learn, understand or achieve, and then suddenly, everything lines up like a solved Rubik’s Cube. I’d done it many times in my life, facing the need to learn something and then struggling until it happens.


Writing fiction is probably the greatest stretch for me. This struggle to learn happens with different elements with fiction writing. Writing is thought of as simple by many. What’s there to do but write words and tell a story?

Writers, editors and good readers understand that’s a simplistic summary. Fiction writing requires learning multiple pieces that are often taken for granted because most people only see the finished work. We know better. Sometimes the lessons learned about pacing, characters, story-telling, voice and everything else needs learned anew when writing the next project. Contemplating that, I believe that each novel or story in progress has a moment when a door opens, and the scene being worked becomes a stepping stone to other things.

It doesn’t come easily. The challenge remains to muster the focus, apply the time and energy, and accept the patience needed for me to reach the door, find and open it. These elements of focus, time, energy and acceptance are typically thought of on a conscious level. I think they work better on a subconscious level. I let the needs seep down in. Walk away. Do other things.

Eventually, the focus, time, and energy finds the path to the door. That’s a glorious exciting epiphany when the door is suddenly there. Another challenge arises then to open it and see what’s on the other side.

Within this process is the beauty of acceptance, of letting it work, of being strong and bold enough to believe it will work. It takes time. This time and patience is invaluable coin. When it works and the door opens and I step through, I create a positive loop of knowing I can face problems and challenges, and overcome them. That feeds me confidence to try again, and again and again, and to keep going. More, though, my journey becomes richer, more joyful and satisfying.

It really is a beautiful process, these exercises in imagination and creativity called writing.

Yes, I know, it’s a messy post, all over the place. I’m exploring territory. Writing helps me map the terrain.

To all, have a good writing day.

Today’s Theme Music

Today’s blast from the past comes via The Americans’. The show is taking place in 1983 and features music, news and events from ’83. It included this song, ‘Major Tom (Coming Home)’, in the episode I watched the other night on Amazon.

‘Major Tom (Coming Home)’ is a continuation of a theme begun with David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ of 1969 about an astronaut, Major Tom, victimized by a malfunction while in space. ‘Space Oddity’ was an early hit for Bowie and drew me into his fold of fans. One of the best concerts of my life was seeing him in Charleston, WV during his glam rock period.

Peter Schilling released his song, ‘Major Tom (Coming Home)’ in 1983. Its techno-beat and clear, overly dramatic but positive lyrics work as background music streaming in my head while walking around Earth.



Purrunclaw is a naturally occurring condition that develops when a person is petting a cat, and the cat is enjoying it only to suddenly swipe at the owner with their claws in a definitive pronouncement, “That’s enough!”

In illustration:

“Nan, what happened to your hand? It’s all scratched up.”

“Oh, just some purrunclaw with Flash.”

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