A Search for Home

Sorry for the delay in posts. We are in the middle of a situation here. We had just returned from a trip to see family in New York. When I came home, I felt so strongly in my heart that I was so happy to live here in this place. We had been here a year, and it felt like home. Two days later, we received the call. The owner of the house wanted to reclaim it so a family member could live here. We had sixty days to move.

In these moments, I regret being a writer. Why couldn't I have been a corporate person? The simple answer: I do not possess the internal wiring to make it in that world. Then why couldn't I have been one of those writers who actually does make a pile of money? I knew they're few and far between, but they exist, and I would like to be one of them. But at the moment, in this here and now, that is not true. We are renters, scraping along, and after that call, that felt truly awful.

I thought about my books, how in all of them, the character is trying to make a home for herself. It's such a basic need. We all want our place to sleep, our roof over our heads, our source of heat, our bathroom, and if at all possible, we want it to be in a place that comforts and expresses us.

A day after we heard this news, our young cats escaped into the night. Sam, the girl kitten, is good at opening screen doors. We thought the door was firmly latched. Apparently it was not, and at 11:00 at night, we realized that she and Indy, her brother, were out.

Adrenaline then kicked in. We lit up your phones and ventured out in our nighttime regalia. Indy was close to the deck, and he came in right away, but Sam was a white blur, running laps around the house. It was as if in her panic, she had forgotten who we were. We called out her names. I sang her favorite songs. She dashed away from me and vanished.

I had just finished a draft of the sequel to The Loudest Meow, The Sharpest Claw, where I wrote about kittens, inspired by Indy and Sam. In the book, Squeak, Sam's fictional counterpart, is daring, smart, confident—everything that Sam is. But Sam has this other side. She will be the first one to jump in the snow, but when someone comes to our house, she will lead the way for the others to hide, burrowing into a hole in the mattress and staying there until the stranger leaves. That was the part that was out that night, and it felt like I had no way to connect with her, to reassure her that I was on her side.

As I walked in the dark around the house, searching for this cat, I thought about how that brave warrior now lived on a page, but I may never see the complexity that is Sam again. Mike and I finally retreated back to the house. Neither one of us could sleep. I stayed in the living room near one of the decks. He went to the bedroom where the deck was. We kept watch.

Finally I heard it, the sound of the bedroom deck door opening and my husband's call, “She's in!” Sam shot past me. She still wasn't going to let me catch her, but she was safety inside now. We could go to sleep.

It's been nine days since that happened. We think we've found a solution, a really nice house one town over up in the pines. It's not as nice for the cats. The deck is elevated. They will have a catio in the air. But we will all be together, and in the end, I think that's what truly matters. We will make it our home.