Changing of the Guard

I will begin this by saying that the Pi cat is alive and well, or as well as a 19 year old cat can be. 

But of late, she has decided that the hike down the stairs to the always cool basement where I work is not to her liking.  She spends most of her days snoozing now on her cushion in front of the fireplace, even when there is no fire there.  Her greatest joy is when my granddaughters arrive to fuss over her and brush her endlessly and tell her how beautiful she is.

So, for a time now, I have been writing by myself. 

I should point out that Pi appointed herself as the writing cat shortly before I began writing Assassin’s Apprentice.  She was there when the first Robin Hobb book was created, and has always been on hand (well, on lap) for writing every book since then.   She learned to come and sit on my lap for company after her dearest cat friend died. Prior to that, she had little use for me except as a vehicle for serving catfood.

But once she had decided that I would have to do, she took her duties seriously.  As soon as she heard the Microsoft chimes when I turned on the computer, she would come running to the office. And when she heard the chimes that announced I was turning off the computer, then she would hop off my lap and head for the bedroom.

A few days ago, I was surprised to find Princess AKA Falcor sitting on my desk chair when I came into the basement.  I put her off, and began my night’s work, but she insisted she had to come back up and sit behind me in the chair. Since then, she has shifted to my lap.  And now, just as my Pi cat did, she occasionally reaches up to add a letter or space to whatever I’m writing.

So, I believe the torch has been passed. I don’t know how Pi conveyed to her that it was her turn in the barrel, but Princess has been faithful about helping me write each evening. She has not yet learned to follow me through the house yowling when I attempt to take a night off, but I am sure Pi will eventually teach her that duty as well.

I do not know if the change in writing cats will turn up as a change in prose.  Pi is a black ‘tuxedo’ cat with an interesting kink in her short tail.  Princess is a not really white; she has apricot/Siamese markings, with large blue eyes. And she is a BIG cat, much heavier than Pi. 

I have decided that from now on, when I over run my word count, I will give that as a reason.  Bigger writing cat= longer books. Seems obvious to me.

She is also a hopeless stoner cat.  During sunny days, she can be found absolutely wallowing in the cat nip patch. 

So, any lack of coherence in the books on her watch can be easily explained also.

Please welcome Princess aboard.  And drink a toast to Pi’s well earned retirement.


14 Responses to Changing of the Guard

  1. cats are moving creatures 🙂

    P.S. since I’ve not had the chance to tell you how I really like your books, yet, I’m doing it now: my brother gave me “Assassin’s Apprentice” as a present last October and since then I’ve read almost all of Robin Hobb’s production. I love reading and your stories are super-cool and really well-told. Thanks 🙂

  2. Long life to Pi: she performed her duty bravely, and had the wisdom to find a noble successor before retiring to a well earned cushion.
    And welcome Princess: may you be a Muse such wondrous as Pi. 🙂

    [Now I return to my first Evanovich novel: your fault! ;)]

  3. This reminds me on Titian, ginger cat, who had so much influence on my homework in high school and some of my short stories too.

    Now, I`m mostly writing (or doing whatever on my computer with Gaia ( ). She uses her claws to express her emotions about my work. Actually, she uses them almost all the time…

  4. cats are strange(but welcome)creatures.years ago a girlfriend and i had a cat which would gently bite my eye every morning to wake me up. maybe it hated the sound of my alarm clock.many bizarre tales with that one.may princess help you conjure many new tales as well. and cheers to pi!

  5. Robin, I have a question
    When you began to write, did you never feel discouraged facing your numerous readins and these writers to whom we can’t stop from comparing ?
    In fact, it’s my feeling today.

  6. Ah, a larger cat to bring us longer books. Hurray to that!

    Rene, hoping that one day a lion finds its way to your doorstop, down to your basement and on to your lap.

  7. That is simultaneously adorable and beautifully sad.

    Perchance, was the devotion shown by your felines any source of inspiration for Grigsby?

  8. Hi Caroline!
    That feeling never goes away. You just have to say, “You have no power over me” 🙂 And keep on writing.

    Remember that you may not be the best writer in the world (no one is!) but that you are he only one who can write your story. Your characters are unique and how you tell about them is unique. Get it down on paper first, and then later, you can go back and improve it. But don’t compare yourself too much or think too much about how good or bad your writing is. For today, just get it on paper.

    Well, at least, that works for me!


  9. Hi Robin,

    I was just reading your post to Caroline and I have to say Thank you!! There are so many of us in the world who stumble at the idea of exposing that secret part of ourselves that we put into our “scribblings” (as my mother once called my collection of ideas). But I believe you are right.

    The characters, stories, worlds and creations born of our imaginations belong only to us and can be brought forth only by us. Good bad or indiferent, even if they never become best sellers or widely read, we have done justice to the gift of our imaginations by telling the stories inside.

    And just for the record, once my darling children are past the age where they require constant supervision. When they no longer feel the need to put sticky dirty fingers and crayons on everything within reach. I fully intend to gather my “scribblings” together and formulate them into something more than a scattered pile of ideas and characters.

    Who knows one day someone might actually read and love my scribblings and then, well then I will have told the story. What a wonderful hope to hold.

    Thankyou for being an inspiration.


    P.S. It may take a while for me to get to the organising my writing point as at this stage my children are 4,3 and 2 respectively. LOL