‘A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.’ – Ernest Hemingway
The sun is up early these days and so is Betsy.
She has taken to sleeping out doors, as is her usual habit during the summer, and when the sun is up, it is time to eat. 5.30am she is howling outside the bedroom window, irritated and annoyed beyond measure.
'Be quiet Betsy!' I growl. There is silence for a minute, then it begins again, a tirade of frustrated yowlings that say, 'I am hungry. Get up. Feed me.' After some time, it seems to dawn on her that no amount of noise will encourage me to rise and attend to her, so she takes up her station of patience outside the front door, and waits.
Cats are honest creatures. They let us know what they want, and when. They don't hold back with their feelings. There is no politeness, not really, although some cats are more subtle than Betsy with her howling.
I often think writing is the same way. Betsy would agree. When she was writing her stories (she's a retired writer now, preferring to spend her days under the pink hibiscus out in the garden), she had a no holds barred approach, letting it all hang out, no standing on ceremony or politeness. Total honesty.
When I was writing my book Welcome to the Amazon Club, I figured out pretty early on that nothing less than total honesty would do. If I wasn't truthful and open about the experience of breast cancer, people would know, the emotional impact of the experience would be lessened, the force of its reality would not be fully captured.
Be like a cat. Write with that emotional honesty.
It gives your writing power and force, truth and daring.