Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kafka still home for the holiday

I try not to provide too many stories here about kafka the library cat. I like the stories just fine, and they are very easy to write. I only need to pay attention to kafka, pick and choose among his most charming moments, and then tell you what happened. But they are very quiet, and light, and need to be mixed in to my weighty themes with a careful and steady measuring hand. However, having kafka home from the library, visiting my house while the library is closed (and for a few days after as well), is such a delight, and he's such a presence, that there is only so much resisting I am capable of. It is one thing to take enormous pleasure in seeing kafka plow heedlessly through a display of holiday craft books in the middle of my workday at the library, yet think of other things to write about when I have full time for writing late that evening. But it is another thing to sit here doing the actual writing while kafka bats my sea of blog notes around and generally cavorts through my workspace. The other subjects that I anticipated working on keep getting pushed aside. He just sort of walks into the blog whether I have invited him or not.

I wondered how kafka would be different away from all the people and the large space of the library, but he isn't very different at all. This cat has always carried home in his paws. He likes to sit on top of the refrigerator instead of above the Agatha Christies. He socializes with the sofa instead of with the people in the magazine area. He is everywhere and nowhere here in 700 square feet just as he is everywhere and nowhere in 74,000 square feet at the library. I expect him to disappear in a huge library, but seeing him here I understand that when he does that he is truly disappearing, not just hanging out somewhere I am not. I never really understood the Cheshire cat as a cat before kafka, but, as normal as everything seems around kafka, I find it harder and harder not to imagine that he slips between worlds, that he can get up off my keyboard (yes, I had to pull it away and type on my lap) and stroll right into my computer screen. And as easy at it is for me to go upstairs to the kitchen, he can step out of your screen, wherever you are, say hello, and wander off.


  1. It's too tricky to attempt to untangle the Kitty in Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet and Bastet both seem the warrior goddess. The animals themselves were considered the incarnate defenders of the home.
    I like the Norse myth of how Friya, the goddess of love, rides a sleigh that is pulled by purring kitties.


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