The life of a muse is often confused with that other most important cat role — the familiar. True, the lines can sometimes blur, but my duties are geared more toward those of business manager, inspiration and taskmaster, all of which fall under the purr-view of muse.
The Word Crone Studio, where many hours of my day are spent, mostly in a contemplative state, is the center of operations here. It is not all glamour, glitter and tiaras, although I do keep one of the latter nearby. My typical business day consists of creating new content, which of course must be dictated telepathically, having no use for a keyboard as I have no opposable thumbs.
“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” — TERRY PRATCHETT
Breaking it down, the work consists of about 60% cozy mystery creation — rough draft, final draft and editing. The last 40% is filled with the tasks of marketing. Due to the nature of writing — the long time between writing Chapter 1 and The End — this requires constantly reminding readers of the brand. Ordinarily, I would simply wrap myself around someone’s ankles to remind them of the important things in life — breakfast, dinner and treats. However, seated in my remote work environment, I have to resort to other means.
Thus, many an hour has been spent posing for or overseeing the pen-and-ink drawings that make up the bulk of the branding assets. In an Edward Gorey-esque style, the assets, which include both stills and animated trailers, require hours of work, each one encapsulating a small part of the larger cozy mystery.
To date, none of the mysteries written have involved cats (to the detriment of the body of work as a whole), but the first book in the current series, Death of a Serial Husband, features a ghost, which is the next best thing to a familiar, so I will grant it a pass.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” — HARPER LEE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
More recently, I have been asked to share living space with a muse-in-training, Mitzy — long name, Itsy-Bitsy-Mitzy — being a full-grown but undersized member of the Tabbico family. She is best kept far away from the work environment at present, as her predilection for stealing ink pens and puncturing pencils — and a habit of suddenly charging at things from hidden spaces — makes her ill-suited to the job. (No pictures of Mitzy will be forthcoming until further training.)
“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” — HIPPOLYTE TAINE
The Word Crone Studio was my own brainchild. During the pandemic, with multiple adult people in the house making contemplative endeavors impossible, there arose the necessity for creating space outside the in-home office. Over the course of two months, a storage barn was wired, insulated and set up for the expedient production of books and brand assets. Here, I have overseen the setup of the writing desk, a business area, a corner for stop-action filming and a corner for illustrating and still photography. Oh yes, and a window ledge for the all-important task of thinking with my eyes closed. There is also seating for the hosting of other writers. I help where I can, having given my talents to multiple bestselling authors.
The coffee that accompanies these occasions is atrocious, but I have learned, especially during the photography for this article, that every time I enter through the cat door, I need not ask for a treat. (In fact, I have trained the people here to offer treats for each entry, which I do repeatedly throughout the day. Sometimes, I enter, receive a cat treat, leave, and turn right around for a second or third treat.)
It is all in the day of a muse. You’re welcome.