Cat years: 6
Six years, it's been. Six years and nine days to be exact, and I'm still here. I owe you a debt of thanks, those few of you who have kept wandering by, even when the muse packed up and flew to warmer climes every now and then. (These past few months have been another instance of that recurring problem, but it seems to be ending, as the urge to write has been returning as of late.)
Here's to them, the people—whose voice on the phone can make an evening; whose visit can make a weekend; whose love and friendship can make a lifetime. Here's to them, who sit by and let me scribble about their foibles (and mine), who share their lives with me, and make incredibly long treks for geekfests.
Without you, I'd have absolutely nothing to write about but myself, and what an amazingly tedious drudgery that would be.
—Life's rich pageant
(15 June 2002, the 2nd anniversary of this site)
'cat.net started as a lark, and I think about the first year's worth of entries can be taken as such, and left at that. In time, it has evolved, and continues to evolve. What it has evolved into is a matter of debate.
Commentary on the absurdity of life?
Free-form expository essays?
Saccharine homage to feline ownership?
For now, I'll settle for this:
- An extended account in prose or verse of historical events, sometimes including legendary material, presented in chronological order and without authorial interpretation or comment.
- A detailed narrative record or report.
'Chronicle' suits; it holds the implication of a narrative thread without the potentially pretentious nature of 'journal,' the confessional nature of 'diary,' or the referential nature of 'weblog.' It's also why people either stick around for years, or read one entry and go away: it's a long-form performance in a typically short-form medium. Most of my friends—indeed, most people I know—keep their personal-site readings to the equivalent of short literary snacks. Check the feedreader, see what's new, follow the tasty links and get back to work.
If I've achieved my intention, 'cat.net is the antithesis of the cheap literary snack. There are expository paragraphs. There are semicolons, for crying out loud. It's elliptical and appallingly verbose and uses quotes out of context and comes as close as I've ever managed to representing on paper the odd syntax and word choice that epitomize the continual waterfall of verbal tics that for years my friends have called "amyGlish."
I'm not an easy person to get to know. My website's about as user-friendly as the rest of me: cranky, obtuse, distracted, often forgets to answer emails … but if you're patient, and keep at it, one day the words will sink in and hit you just right and you'll sit up and say, oh my goodness, that's really her, isn't it?
I've been kicking that explanation around for a few days, after a short phone call with my mother. The distant nature of my relationship with my family has long been a theme here, but this phone call was not notable except for a small exchange that stuck with me:
me: "I posted my hiking photos on domesticat. I don't know if you've seen them."
Mom: "Oh, I don't look at anything like that."
I thought about it, long after the phone call ended and I'd driven on to my next errand. A lark, this once was, but no more; the fact that she wasn't reading it meant she was missing something important. More than once she's said that she didn't really understand me, and that she wondered what was going on in my life, and it hit me—for years now, she's had access and an avenue into not just my life, but a lot of my thoughts, and she's chosen not to use them.
For better or worse, these words, despite (or because of?) their obtuseness, are me.