Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat. It Just Made Him Very, Very Tired.















I have to say that curiosity has the opposite effect on me.

Curiosity is what keeps me energized and ornery, in a way that is generally known as “being alive”. It’s the lack of curiosity that I find exhausting.

This is a picture of my desk that I took in June 2015, when I finished my last book, Gardens of Awe and Folly:


And this is how it looks today . . .


. . . still waiting for the Goddess of Curiosity to grant me one thing that piques my interest, or even half a thing on which I can elaborate. Or a third of a thing that I can pad with footnotes and one-sentence chapters (for page count).

As of this chilly, dreary, edge-of rainy October morning, nothing in the intervening 16 months has lit the proverbial light bulb, nudged the envelope, out-thought the box, or slapped me upside the head with a transcendental “Doh!“.

There is a hash tag trending in London these days (“hash tags” are how the kids mind meld these days) called #winterprep and I am all for it.

Winter Prep is on my mind today. I’ll be sharing my brilliant #winterprep ideas with you all soon (without the annoying hash tag and with proper capitalization, since we here are not illiterate millennials) but in the mean time, let’s let Taffy, Alpha Cat, take us out, looking forward, on a once-perfect Autumn day:


Have a perfect weekend, Wonder Ones.

9 Comments, RSS

  1. Megan

    Seriously, it’s obvious, a photographic cat book is the next project. How the cats lie just on the edge of a cushion and don’t fall of the lounge! My Saturday is now complete after this fantastic start to the day, cats sleeping… Sorry you have a clean desk it must be frustrating… wish mine looked like that, it does almost for a second then gets all messy, not to say any creativity is actually happening, I am merely constantly looking for where I last left it. Best of luck, enjoy all those cats… mine is now howling for breakfast gotta go…

  2. I love the myriad poses of your sleeping cats. I declare, no other creature manifests the epitome of “peaceful repose” like a feline – no matter their size. Actually, each pic is a perfect resource for practicing “cat sketching” for us artist types. Thanks!

    As for me, I would give just about anything to be able to achieve (and maintain) sleep like a cat. I’ve been an insomniac for decades, and direct mean thoughts toward my husband, as he buzz-saws through the bedroom walls as soon as his beloved head hits the pillow. Grrr!

    I can certainly empathize with losing what I call my “creative gumption.” Mine decided to simply pack its bags one day and walk out, and without even saying good-bye too. (How rude!) I bemoaned its loss, and started wondering what was happening to me. Then, when I had a physical this last summer, two things revealed themselves as possible culprits. I was extremely low in Vitamin D and dangerously low in magnesium! Who knew! My thyroid has also been on the low side. All three of these are vital in mental, physical, and emotional health, and here I’d been dragging myself around from day to day, kicking myself for my ineptitude (well, only in the cerebral sense, since I lacked the energy and ambition to care enough to kick a single dust mote). It has taken more than a month of including Vitamin D and magnesium into my daily regimen, but I am finally beginning to feel a marked difference! Hooray! My doctor said humans can take up to 5,000 units of Vitamin D3 every day (!) – I choose to take 1,000 units with every meal. And the proper daily dose of magnesium for females is 250-300 mg. (at bedtime). The magnesium also helps to relax the body, aids in curtailing acid reflux, and also keeps a person’s “works” moving on a regular basis, as well as maintaining a healthy heart, brain and nerve activities, and muscle tone. Of course, your issues may have nothing to do with such physical maladies, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to mention it. I suspect I am just like a couple billion other dear readers, so perhaps someone else may benefit from my experience.

    I know “writer’s/artist’s block” is a common experience for all you talented, creative super-people. And haven’t we all heard interviews over the years, of many of “the published/gifted” individuals (like you, my dear), who described going through dried-up, desert times, when they simply could not think of one single thing, over which to get excited? So, consider yourself in good company, sweet Vivian. Only those who have reached mountain tops notice any difference between the tree-line and sudden snow chasms. The rest of us troglodytes seldom reach such heights of achievement and/or ambition. So, perhaps, dear lady, this “lull” is a type of proverbial “price to be paid,” for one who had accomplished so much in so few years — such as publishing three excellent books in just a short span of time, for Pete’s sake! Your little gray cells are crying out for a break – they have decided to take a vacation. So, you might as well hop on-board, and relax. Read books. Sketch. Drink tea. Shop online. Go to a warm place from January to March. Float on sun-warmed inflatable rafts in a polka-dot bikini. And give thanks. Soon enough — Lo, all too soon most likely — you will be beating your head against your art table once again, rushing to meet some dreaded deadline for your publisher.

    You are much loved. You are blessed. Happy Trails this week, Vivian. And, Join your kitties for a sweet nap.

  3. Kirra

    Oh, to be a cat! Sometimes their lot seems a bit better than ours. I’m looking forward to the writing on winter prep without hashtags.

    I’m sorry you’re getting colder days, but here down south we’ve had some lovely sunny warm days and it’s great. We’ve had enough dreary cold weather this year and need to move onto summer.

    Having no creative impetus or curiosity is a tricky one….maybe you just can’t be in that state of mind all the time? Maybe you need to do something else totally different and then something will sneak up on you when you least expect it? Good luck!

  4. I love me my Taffy moments — and all the others. Oh, to be as limber and so doggedly determined to sleep through just about anything. I’ve been sick for the past month with bronchitis and can’t remember when I slept the night through. Lizzie just seems to ignore me or if the coughing gets too bad, moves on to another room where she can concentrate on her Zzzzzs.

    I hate a clean desk. Can’t think with one. Nothing is where it should be, which is right in front of me so I can be inspired to pick up the brush or the glue or the whatever comes to mind. I can think of a hundred things I wish you would write and illustrate but only you can come up with the one that will float your boat for a zillion months of working on it. Sometimes I just have to start doing something, anything and I probably will scrap it but it leads me on to something else. Personally, I would be thrilled if you could turn some of your wonderful paintings into stand-alone pieces and max out all the time you worked on them. I’d buy prints or cards of your French baguettes (or about anything French you did) or your gardens or home-things from Wanderers. The Vivian Swift 2018 Calendar — wall sized or desk diary sized. I know it’s not as creative as starting something brand new but you have that wonderful base that could be maxed out. (Oh, and if you do a desk diary, please have them print Sunday at the top of a new page because I hate it for four months when they put it on the bottom of the page before and all my appointments are off a day.)

    But I digress. What I really want to add is that your worked under deadline for a very long while and then boom — it’s gone. It’s like a death in a way, something is born but something else, all the anticipation, the work of it dies. And I believe you have to grieve the process even as you can rejoice in the work. And like people who go through the five stages of grief (which, by the way are cyclical, which I think stinks because there’s no guarantee you get to the end without backtracking), you do too. Picking up the brush and painting something (anything) may be a start. Or maybe the start is making a list. Or hugging my fave Taffy. But it will happen. And we’ll all be there for you when it does.

  5. Carol S

    Oh! Thank you for all those kitty pictures! I have been MIA: daughter moving and son getting married.
    So nice to check in & see all those cats.

  6. Mary

    The pictures of the furries are wonderful. I recognized all ( Candy, Taffy, Lickety, Steve, but who is the many-colored baby, mostly black? Where is Penelopy and Cindy Lu and Coco indoor cats?
    I miss the goings on at #9.
    Any new sightings going into JFK? Are you keeping watch, or is it too late? ( cold, etc.)

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