Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One with the Bow

Kink hopped up on my lap, circled around a couple of times, clunked down and kneaded me in the thigh with his claws. I remained motionless throughout all this so as not to get even more damaged. I winced slightly as the claws dug through my jeans.

“So, how’s the book going,” Kink asked, licking his paw and wiping his ear.

“Not bad,” I replied rubbing my leg, “not bad. It’s out there, you know, and the public will make up their own mind. We did our best and I think it was a good effort.”

Kink pondered this for a few minutes, then looked up at me with his liquid yellow eyes, whiskers thrust forward indicating curiosity, and said, “How do you know you hit the mark? I mean, you took a shot but what were you aiming at? How do you know you scored points on the target?”

I thought about Kink’s conjecture. Given no target how does one know one hit the mark? What points were to be scored? In other words, given a subject how does one know one addressed the subject satisfactorily? Where were the scores posted?

Kink and I sat there for quite a while as I puzzled out his puzzle. Kink purred as I grew more agitated.

Finally, I spoke.

“Well, I’ll take it on faith that I hit the mark. Considering your analogy a bit farther it’s like being a blind archer. You’re given the distance to the target and perhaps someone tells you a little bit higher, or a little bit lower or left or right, but in the end you’re blind and you have to let the arrow fly. Perhaps it hits the target, perhaps not.”

Kink licked his tail then scrunched down in my lap. “So, you mean it’s just random chance? Luck of the draw? Que sera sera? Ready, fire, aim?”

I reached down and scratched Kink behind the ears. He closed his eyes and arched is back. “No,” I replied, “not random chance. I am guided by the words and actions of others. I rely upon my experience, the experience of others and guidance. I can hit the mark if I use all that I know and all that is known. We learn, we move along, we get better at what we do. They say you have to become One with the Bow. Whatever that means.”

Kink yawned, stretched his paws out and gripped my thigh with his claws. He said, “So how do you know you’ve hit the target?”

I didn’t answer for a while by which time Kink fell to sleep, his breathing becoming regular, interrupted by the occasional twitch.

“How do we know, my little friend,” I whispered to the sleeping Kink, “we don’t, exactly. We do our best, we set the arrow in motion and we hope that it goes roughly in the direction of our aim. If it doesn’t, well, we aren’t in control of the arrow, we’re only in control of the bow.”

Kink rolled on to his back, stretched his body to full length and let out a long sigh.


Jack said...

If you are one with the bow, who's with the arrow?


Gratz again, Bill. A bestseller, wow!

Can I touch you? How about a loan?

Jodie said...

Beegeeee my cat says, "Hey Kink!"
:-) She's not quite so philosophical, but loves to sleep on or near the laptop. Hard to type with kat on keeeeeeeeeeys.

Anonymous said...

Oh, to have a relaxing philosophical discussion with one’s cat! While Kink was kneading your thigh with his claws, and drowsily asking how you knew if you had hit the mark, Jake had his hind legs pushing against my chest, one front foot with claws extended on my chin and the other front foot in my left hand, which was squeezing out a claw. The right hand was holding the nape of Jake’s neck. I willed the clippers to fly over and snip the end of that very sharp claw. The clippers did not comply. I released the nape of Jake’s neck, grabbed the clippers… Snip! Jake twisted around and shot off of the bed. I followed him into the living room and picked him up. Back to the bed and a treat, Next claw…

I had tried the pillowcase trick and then wrapped cat and pillowcase with a towel. The pillowcase was shredded; the towel was snagged. No claws were clipped.

Later, I clipped Maggie’s claws easily while she groggily looked on and then fell back to sleep. She’s ancient and wise and sweet.

Everything is a battle with Jake. My relationship with Jake is similar to my relationship with my father, except this time, I’m the one who is bigger. Jake is more fun. He’s still a baby, but he’s already big and handsome like my dad. My women friends all love Jake and laugh at his swagger as he walks toward them, tail whipping back and forth. They exclaim over his copper eyes. Isn’t he handsome?!

I look forward to reading this book about fathers. What insight will I gain? Will I laugh? Will I cry? Will I wish my dad was like your dad? Will some of the women marry their “father” so that they can work out the relationship that never got worked out when he was still alive? Did anyone learn about transference in therapy? Did they rage at the therapist, while he listened – Mr Blank Slate?

I wonder… what do you have to say about your father? Or, did you write about being a father? Your readers will tell you if you hit the mark.

How about Dooce? I don’t know much about her father other than that he used the book to prop up the toilet. Did he read it first? Will he read it after the toilet is fixed? He probably won’t read it in the outdoor john with a flashlight, which is how and when my father read! Reading on the throne of grace. A wonderful tradition!

Anonymous said...

If only 4 year olds were more like cats and less like over excitable labrador puppies...


How I long for philosophical conversations.

Bret said...

Amazon tells me they shipped my copy today. I'm looking forward to telling Kink it was on target

Odelette K. said...

You know the Greek word for sin in the Bible actually translates as "missing the mark?" --which I think makes your cat some kind of wanta-be confessor, asking about the state of your soul. In any case it sounds like an interesting book.

Bret said...

Billiam, well done! Got the book a couple days ago, leapt all the way to the back, and enjoyed your entry very thoroughly, and most of the others. A tip for the second edition -- your car choice would have been WAY cooler if it was "grey," 'cause you'd have all that English thing going for you.

And a pox on the idiot Amazon reviewers who can't tell you anything in detail about their reaction other than "it was obviously written by bloggers, not writers." I fart in their general direction! THEIR fathers smelt of elderberries!