Incorporating the Author’s Personal Life into the Novel: Losing my Sweet Bella-Cat


I have been crying for 3 days now–off and on–mourning the possible loss of our little Bella (the beautiful girl above). She went missing August 9th; this is the 3rd day. We live in Maine, just moved here a few weeks ago. She would go out onto the land–woods and field–and never strayed very far. Not like out other bog Tom, Larry (but he’s a grizzled woods vet; she, however, is just two, and new to the outside.

I blame myself for my total ignorance of the wildlife in this area, and for letting her go out that last time. After doing some research, I see there are coyotes. We have not heard any, but, I know better now. She got out that night . . . and we found her little collar in the field the next day.  There was no sign of her being taken–by human or animal alike–just her little collar on the hill; and my memory of her jumping out the window, and my watching her go. I have scoured the field looking for blood, fur, anything to tell me she was attacked. But have found nothing. I’m crying now thinking about my sweet Bells.

My daughter and I made posters today and put them up around town. Maybe some won’t understand this, but I am one of those whose fur-babies are family.

Every morning when I wake up–4:20 to drink coffee, meditate, then write–she comes to the computer chair, stands up, and taps my lap. And meows. I pick her up, and we cuddle while I write my stories down. Now, for the past few days, in the mornings, there is just me and my words. I got used to her coming in. She would sleep in my sons room, but, she’d hear me wake up and scratch at my bedroom door. I miss her.

And I hate that she’s gone.

Yesterday, my little morning-time friend crept into my current story. I wrote about her and cried for her absence: what better way for a writer to cry. I wonder how many other emotional bits of fiction come from the authors word-for-word memories? Their own loves, losses, experiences–not just a close depiction, but a word for word account? I bet it happens more often than one might think. And I bet most of the pieces given to the book by the author, taken from his own heart and soul, draw just a bit more out of the reader.

Those we love literally rub off on us, leave something on and inside of us. A dusting of them over us. And, when the winds blow just right, and the story and heart align, that dust blows onto the reader, leaving something on and inside of them, as well. An alchemy to take away. A piece of univeral living, rediscovered in heartache and joy by another human being like us.

We are so much the same, aren’t we?

We cry.

And us writers, well, we cry and write from the bottom of the well.

Thank you for reading about my Bella. I pray she comes home, so we can make even more memories.


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