When the cat is away, the words come out to play

When the cat's gone out Early this morning, before the sun had even risen, I was sitting at my writing desk looking out of the big window at the shapes in the grey-dark garden and the city lights, twinkling in the distance. I wallowed in the peace and absolute stillness of the moment, while I sipped my tea and mulled over the piece of writing that's had me stumped for a week already.

I had just put the mug of hot tea to my lips when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tiny white shape dash across the carpet and under my desk. I didn't even have a chance to shriek, or at least lift my feet when a substantially larger grey blur also streaked under my desk and pounced, lightning fast, on the little white mouse.

By the time I actually managed to swallow that sip of tea and register what had just happened, I heard the cat-flap swing shut.

Instead of thinking about the poor rodent, now trapped between the jaws of my stealthy hunter cat, my first thought was, 'Damn. I wish I could write like that!'

Imagine being able to pounce, instantly, on those epic thoughts and inspirational sentences that always seem to streak through our mind, catching us unawares, and pinning them down on the page before our inner editor steps up and says, "Spit it out. That's not allowed!"

Once we've clamped down on those flashes of genius, we can spend some time playing with them - toss the words and ideas around a bit and rearrange them until they stop moving and finally make perfect sense on the page.

About half an hour later, when the first rays of sunshine started stretching lazily across the sky in the East, I heard the cat flap once more. It was one very smug and satisfied-looking cat that came to wind himself through my legs before strutting over to the heater and stretching out in front of it once more.

"And that's how you do it,' he seemed to say, before closing his eyes and falling asleep once more.

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