Michaeline: Behind the Scenes in Poughkeepsie

Harlan Ellison, an SFF writer, at least once said when asked that he got his ideas from Poughkeepsie. “$25 a Week and they send me a fresh six-pack of new ideas fifty-two times a year” (Shatterday: Stories by Harlan Ellison).

Where do you get your ideas?

I’m getting mine from the cats these past few months.

Half-grown long-haired kitten who looks like a Norwegian Forest cat (tabby) sits on a leopard print fleece blanket that's been placed on top of a big pot of soil (if you are curious, it used to be a turmeric plant). Ears forward, whiskers forward, eyes bright and curious. Very regal sitting position.
Princess Charlotte, also known as Charli with a soft ch (シャーリー). Here she lords over the houseplants. (EM Duskova)

Our new cat, Princess Charlotte, looks like a Norwegian Forest cat or a Maine Coon cat. Both breeds are friendly, chatty giants with long fur and athletic ability. Princess Charlotte (or Charli for short) showed up in our barn on February 15.

She holds herself like a princess, but attacks dem fishies like a warrior queen. And Norwegian Forest cats come with their own mythology and legends, so it’s natural

that I’d try to fit Charli into my space cat world. I’m not there yet, but here are some of the ideas Poughkeepsie sent over.

Princess Charlotte is an escaped juvenile princess brought to a space station by a loyal retainer who loves her very much, but dies shortly after arrival. She makes friends with Captain Greebo and Tabby Kate (who I wrote about during last year’s National Novel Writing Month) when Tuxedo Jones assaults her and they rescue her.

They decide it’s best to keep the poor kitty’s identity under cover. But “poor” Charli is a natural diplomat, charmer, and she’s got some martial art skills that keep her out of trouble even when Greebo and Kate aren’t around. The dynamic duo find themselves saving the space station from Charli’s unconscious attempts to turn it into a tribute state (and the space station inhabitants LOVE Charli) as much as they are trying to save Charli from political assassins and the pride-wounded Tuxedo Jones.

Half-grown long-haired kitten like a Norwegian Forest cat, curled up on the couch with one paw extended. Looking up with ears forward, eyes a little sleepy.
Little Charli, the day my husband found her in the barn. (EM Duskova)

So far, the story’s only in my head, and it’ll probably change a great deal as it travels through my fingers into the computer. Still, a tip of my hat to the Poughkeepsie Idea Service of New York. This is a fun one!

Princess Charli is in training to be a warrior queen. We hope to set her on salmon by autumn. (EM Duskova. I just uploaded this and three other videos of Charli on my YouTube channel. See below for link.)

New House Cats: Yuta, Kana and Charli Playlist

Note: about a year ago, I wrote about some ideas from the Poughkeepsie Idea Service that weren’t any use to me. I still don’t find them juicy enough to write, but help yourself!

10 thoughts on “Michaeline: Behind the Scenes in Poughkeepsie

  1. Your trash from the Poughkeepsie Idea Service must keep the recycling fellows busy. The space cat world is a hoot!

    BTW, I always say I get my ideas from Sears. That’s a line I stole from Jenny, but I don’t believe it’s patented, so I’m probably safe to reuse it.

  2. Charli looks more like a Maine Coon – Norwegian Forest Cats have long silky guard hairs running along their spine, all the way to the tips of their tails. I’ve got a NFC cross, and he surprisingly copes well in the heat (I’m in Melbourne, Victoria and summers are sadly getting hotter here).

    He was a rescue (born in a factory carpark in Epping), but no other breed has the distinctive guard hairs.

    He and his friend Daisy are great companions, particularly as I’m now living alone.

    • Thank you for the hint about NFCs! I looked the breeds up on the internet, and learned that Maine Coons are probably descended from Norwegian Forest Cats (and they, in turn, may have some Persian in them). I think there were three breeds that are often confused, and they mentioned something about tails, but I couldn’t determine what kind of tail Charli has.

      I’m pretty sure if someone dumped her, she’s a “mutt” anyway. But she’s such a doll!

      My aunt had a long-haired cat in Nebraska; she had the cat shaved in the summer, and we all thought it was quite odd, but she said the cat didn’t mind. It makes a lot of sense. I’m glad your cat is doing fine in the Australian heat! And what is Daisy? If you don’t mind? (-: I love hearing about other people’s pets. They really are great companions.

      • Melbourne can have both really hot days and bitterly cold ones, depending on if the wind is blowing from Central Australia or the South Pole :-).

        When I got Oscar, I had an elderly Groodle (golden retriever/standard poodle cross). Hamish patiently adored cats from afar, but until I got Oscar, none loved him back. When Hamish had to take his final trip to the vet (he was 15 with arthritis), Oscar couldn’t forgive me. He lashed out at my wrists and ankles, he was so angry. I discussed it with an animal behaviourist, and decided to get a kitten for company. Which is why Daisy is Oscar’s cat!

        Daisy is also a rescue, and a very tiny classic brown tabby. She’s one of the smallest adult cats I’ve ever seen. She’s also a rescue – from the RSPCA – and incredibly confident. Whenever someone comes over to the house to fix someone, she stalks after them to make sure they don’t do anything wrong; meanwhile, the NFC – twice her size – is hiding under a bed.

        He sits near me, much as Hamish did, but Daisy sits on my lap. Anyone who says that cats are all the same hasn’t met many cats.

        • Oh, what an adorable pet family!

          I’m sad to say my dogs, especially Nana, tend to look upon cats as food or prey. Well, they both have working dog genes — Nana expresses as a border collie. The cats stay pretty far away, except Lady Black, who will tease the dogs by being just out of the reach of their outdoor chains.

          However, the five-cat family is very loving, and Greebo likes Lady Black.

          (-: I love that your NFC Oscar is a scaredy cat, while Daisy is the guard cat! What a pair of personalities! Have you ever considered writing a short adventure about them, switching them into human bodies? Wise detective Oscar, who thinks discretion is the better part of valor, while curious Daisy is right in the middle of things, making sure Justice is Done . . . . LOL, I can see your kitties so clearly with your words!

        • Say . . . this has really caught my imagination. Would it be OK if I used the names Daisy and Oscar in my story? Maybe borrow their appearance, to a certain extent? I don’t know them, of course, so they won’t really be your cats investigating the mysteries of Lady Black and the (missing treasure/will/deed/whatever my McGuffin is). But my G-grandfather was an Oscar, and that sounds about right for a grumpy old Scandy detective, and sweet Daisy would be a very good foil . . . .

          Feel free to say no. I can find different names. Karlous is a bit jollier than Oscar would be . . . .

        • Of course you can!

          One more thing on their personalities – while Daisy loves to sit on my lap, it’s impossible to pick her up. She lives life on her terms. Daisy was born understanding the whole concept of Consent.

          Oscar, on the other hand, is happy to be picked up, but I have to hold him – he won’t sit on on my lap, but I can hold him in my arms or over one shoulder. He’s been enjoying it more now that I’m the only one in the house (I used to share with my ex, who’s in hospital and not coming back).

          Oh, and when Oscar is happy, he struts around with that enormous woolly duster of a tail firmly in the air 🙂

        • Oh, and I should also say, if anyone wants to borrow the names or personalities of my kitties, I’d be tickled if you let me know . . . but you don’t have to. You can just use them. The stuff I describe is really Eternal Cat . . . any cat person probably knows or knows of a cat like any of mine.

          And more cat stories out there, or cat-influenced stories, means more reading for me!!

Let Us Know What You Think

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s