Rambles

When is a (fictional character’s) death not an indicator of disposability?

I want to write a story. There’s just a huge problem that keeps me from even being able to begin – the story I want to tell involves some controversial issues. I mean, there’s a lot of issues that are widely controversial that I might hit on either on purpose or accident that I’m ok with dealing with, but for the purposeful ones that’s part of the point and for the accidental ones, well, that’s an accident. I’ll try not to do anything accidentally but no human is perfect. This particular issue, though, is one where the audience I specifically want to reach out to and connect with are kind of unlikely to be ok one particular choice, and their opinions are of high importance to me.

The story I want to tell would include the death of a lesbian character.

Now, most people don’t know anything else about me (other than what you might be able to glean from my other posts and the Twits). They definitely don’t know much if anything about this story. But that statement alone without any further information has caused people to immediately treat me as a hostile entity that needs to be educated and stopped, most often because they tend to automatically assume that I am a straight person who doesn’t have a personal history with Dead Lesbian Syndrome.

And don’t get me wrong – I get that. This topic is an ongoing source of deep pain with a long history that has recently been prodded at with a thousand flaming spears. After the events of the last couple of years, it’s become abundantly clear that there’s a lot of people that still, somehow, don’t get why this topic carries so much weight and why it’s so important that the narratives change. I even have automatic defense systems that tries to take over when I talk to people I don’t know about it because I’ve also been bitten and burned by people who just don’t get it. Sometimes it’s stronger than others, depending on the story and current trends.

For example, Sam from Scream Queens was never going to elicit any kind of feeling from me no matter what happened to her or in the greater culture around the episodes she was in since she and most of the cast only existed to fulfill their trope-tastic roles and then die. Everyone I expected to die, died. Everyone I expected to live lived. On all fronts Scream Queens might as well have been called Trope Queens because the show was 90% about taking tropes to 11. It was the most watchable train wreck I’ve seen in years. Sure, despite the it being absolutely atrocious from the get-go, I loved the first season (and gave up halfway through the second out of boredom). But I had no feelings about Sam’s death because I expected everything to be offensively bad from the get-go.

On the flip side, while I don’t follow or care about most TV since it would just take way too much of my time to keep up with all the popular programming out there, even I’m deeply angry and hurt by the number of lesbian and bisexual women killed in very quick succession back in 2016. Even on shows that could justify it I deeply wish some of them just hadn’t. Sadly, though, the majority didn’t even have the excuse of being a vast wasteland where death is probably more common than a good meal. 2017 isn’t looking like it will be much better, though at least they seem to not be killing as many front-and-center characters this season. Since, you know, they’re already dead.

Now, I know those examples are in television. I’m going to talk a lot about TV here even though my goal is to write a novel or ten. TV is far more public and is more easily accessible for a lot of the population than most books, especially books about specific topics that people may have to go out of their way to seek out. After all, not every book can be the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games or Lord of the Rings. And the books that do end up that readily accessible tend not to have much in the way of overt LGBT-ness.

Also, though I am ashamed to admit it, I actually haven’t read that much LGBT+ literature. I don’t like romances or books where the primary focus is definitely romance, no matter what it tries to bill itself as, and just by the nature of the topic at hand it can be kind of hard just to find LGBT+ stories that aren’t romances. Beyond that, I don’t have a ton of money, so outside of college most of my reading these last several years has been what I can find or acquire as a free PDF. While that’s great for catching up on classics that are now public domain, it’s not so good for following current trends. So please forgive me for sticking to easy examples. Before college, there wasn’t a great deal of interaction with LGBT+ media either.

I came from the kind of ‘we don’t talk about those sorts of things here’ environment. It wasn’t even a forcible kind of environment, but one where gayness just did not come up on its own, programs that it occurred on were not watched, probably not due to the gayness explicitly as much as the kind of shows we, as a family, watched didn’t often discuss LGBT+ themes, or when they did it was so sloppily done that I didn’t notice it until I was older. The topic also wasn’t ever brought up on purpose – there was no reason for it to be. Since popular media for most of my life shunned gayness outright, it just wasn’t a hard topic to avoid. In fact, outside of a few phrases thrown out by bullies that I should have asked Jeeves about but never really got around to asking, the only person I remember ever addressing gayness was my Freshman Health teacher. He told us that HIV wasn’t just for gay men and left the topic at that. No one seemed surprised by this either because no one, from what I could tell, even knew of that history. It was the mid-2000s. ‘The Gay Cancer’ hadn’t been something HIV was called since before we were born.

Until Queer Eye for the Straight Guy became a popular TV show, literally the only encounter I can recall having with anything even remotely LGBT+ related was a news story I happened to pay attention to in third grade about a little ‘boy’ my age who’s ‘mother made him wear dresses all the time.’ I don’t know if the mom was actually forcing them to wear dresses, I don’t know if it was a choice on the child’s part and she was completely supportive of him in a time where that would be considered child abuse. I didn’t have a developed enough sense of the world around me to even ask those kinds of questions then and since that was 20 years ago and I have no idea what channel it happened on I haven’t been able to actually find any history of that story. I don’t even know if it was something that happened in my childhood state or if it was something they’d picked up to talk about from another state. But the story itself is burned in my mind.

Note: I never actually saw Queer Eye for the Straight Guy until we dissected a scene from it in a media class I took in college. I was aware of its existence though, and I kind of knew what it meant even if I didn’t understand anything about it, which is a weird mental place to try to explain, especially when it’s so hard to even begin to try to comprehend what was going on in my child-brain now that I know so much more.

When I first felt non-straight attractions my immediate reaction was “oh…that’s not right…does this mean I’m a boy?” because that was the logical conclusion at the time. No, I had no idea that trans was a thing either. All I knew was that boys liked girls and there was no deviation from that, at least as far as ‘normal’ people were concerned and for some reason it seemed to me easier to just be a boy than to be a girl who liked girls. Of course, really didn’t want to be a boy because I found boys to be quite gross at that age. Instead, I just told myself ‘hey, someday you’ll grow up and be normal’ and decided to hunker down and wait until that day came. Spoiler alert: that day never came.

Outside of my family and media, the only indications I had as to what gayness was came from school bullies. I’m sure it’s pretty clear that bullies don’t exactly make you feel good about things, which is why Tara and Willow’s relationship from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was so important. Buffy wasn’t the kind of show my mom would typically be watching around that time, but I was around the age where I’d tape shows to watch later when she wasn’t home (and choosing what was on TV). Alone I watched a kick-ass girl beat down demons and vampires alongside her friends with possibly one of my favorite wise-elder characters, and alone I saw Willow…start a relationship with a girl. The exact thing that I didn’t know was possible. Willow and Tara made it possible for me.

 I was one of those kids that people like to talk about as being affected by all these lesbian deaths. They were my only positive imagery for years. In the comments section of a lot of articles about last year’s massacre, there are people saying that those who are upset with things are just butthurt. They cite male lgbt+ characters still living in the shows as a reason we shouldn’t be upset. But that misses the point. This is specifically a conversation about girls. Or, rather, a lack of living ladies. For a girl trying to understand herself, that’s rough. It’s already a rough game out there for girls. A female lead outside of romance stories is still very much a novelty, though things have been moving towards evening out with each passing year thanks to the help of stories with multiple protagonists.

Of course, as I said, that’s just our most popular visual media of television. Movies are far, far worse. Literature, though, tends to be a bit better, but that might be due to books not being bound to timetables. They don’t have to fight for a spot on the TVGuide or to be squeezed into at least one of the limited number of showrooms in your local theater. Sure authors hope their books will be put on a shelf where they’ll be noticed and picked up, but there’s nothing to limit the number of books published in a year. Sure, movies can be released outside of theaters, but most people probably aren’t hiking to a film festival just to see something that’s lightly buzzing. We got busy lives, yo. Anyway, there’s a wide range of books. If you want something, I’m sure it’s out there by now. It might not be completely to your liking, but it exists. You can build your own literature bubble and be completely ignorant to trends outside of it very easily. We get one Harry Potter or one Hunger Games every few years. (The sparklepire and fanfic-of-sparklepire books will not be named here, understood?) Everything else is up to you, your tastes, and your willingness and ability to seek out the books that match up to your desires.

That said, the trends are a problem for a reason. When your minority character of whatever type is a disposable token, that sends a subtle message. Each time it happens in every medium the message grows a little bigger. If for every Clexa we had a Britanna maybe things would be different, but unfortunately the numbers are disproportionate. The numbers stay disproportionate for every other group, too, aside from white, straight folks. Well, men in particular, since dying wives (and mothers and daughters) are a good motivator. I mean, it can be such a moving addition to the plot that I want to use it. For my lesbian protagonist. Look, if she wasn’t such a raging lesbian she’d have a dying husband. Either way I want her spouse to be the one who dies.

So…what turns divides the disposable tokens from the moving and meaningful deaths?

They have happened, after all. And I want to write one. Perhaps it’s tied to my own history – the feeling of disposability, the feeling of being brushed aside, ignored, forgotten. I want to challenge the trope and give it meaning. (Though my ability to write is an entirely separate issue and if it turns out to be complete trash I promise I won’t even try to publish. Though you’ll have to bear in mind that ‘complete trash’ is an opinion based descriptor, so we might not be in agreement. But I do promise that I am one of my own harshest critics.)

I want a death story that isn’t a direct slap in the face, where it actually means something. I want to know that the loss of an important character is meaningful, important, that they weren’t a throw-away who ultimately won’t matter. That their loss changed the lives of the characters forever. That they weren’t just there for the shock and drama, they weren’t just removed because their part of the plot was done.

From what I have developed so far, I feel like I meet those parameters. This is a character who could have gone on in the story, she didn’t have to stop there. In a way, it’s both senseless, as any death in real life might be, and a highly meaningful game-changer. I picked the character that was most well-liked and respected by those around her. She’s still learning, but a promising student. The main villain doesn’t have a vendetta against her, she is a casualty in an inherited war. Whose death just also happens to deeply emotionally scar the protagonists. They have to deal with it, find a way to keep living, find a way to continue on together. There are consequences, deserved or not. And all of that is well and good, but whether or not it meets that criteria hinges on two things: will it be written well (I hope!) and is that what other people define as ‘meaningful’?

This is where I start to panic. I’ve gone through so many pages on TV Tropes and read through so many articles trying to figure out how I can write this story without making things worse. One article said that even full-rainbow casts shouldn’t kill LGBT+ women since it adds to the statistics. Now I know I’m not on board with that concept. That limits some potentially poignant stories to not existing since a big part of life is the end of it. That will happen. Others seem to have set criteria, but the criteria can be heavily opinion based. I mean, some things are easy. Only LGBT+ female? Nope. Not even close. Others are difficult to meet. Was it a ‘punishment’ for their happy ending? I mean, I’ll try not to, but they are married. They’ve been in a relationship for some time at this point. They are happily together. Until, well, the reaper pays a visit.

I also know that I cannot get a pass simply for being a lady-lover myself. There are so many stories about women that were written and/or produced or directed by women that are just horrible, misogynistic dribble. It happens. Easily, sometimes, when certain concepts are ingrained in society. Even things that were revolutionary in their own times would be ass-backwards if written today.

So I honestly want to know…where is the line? When is it ok? Will it ever be ok? What will it take to avoid the whole thing being horrible?

I know my own circle isn’t a fair judge. We’re a small slice of the pie. Very small. Like a sliver, at best. For the most part the opinion is ‘as long as I like it, I’m fine with it.’ Which isn’t an easy thing to gauge, because I don’t know everyone. I know the trends show that this isn’t ok right now, and worse is that it’s almost never done well. I also know that there’s no pleasing everyone – but I also also know that when a large enough portion of a group is saying the same thing then maybe it’s worth paying attention to since that’s probably a generally widespread feeling.

And, taking all of that in its own consideration, there’s also the consideration of the author. Why they wanted to tell this story. Drama? No. I mean, there’s no escaping it. It is dramatic. But it’s for the characters and what they have to go through. It’s for the other characters from other media who were butchered for the ratings. It’s for the people who had to patch up themselves as the world again told them that they were just there for the straights.

At the end of the day, no explanation is truly worthy. It’s all excuses. But is it worth it?

For this story, it really seems to be. I’ve thought a lot about what would happen if I didn’t do it. My original plans didn’t include any main character deaths. All of these roads, though, come out a little…weak. It’s just a story about two fantasy kingdoms fighting each other, with ours (the ‘good’ one) being led by relatively inexperienced royals while the other one is helmed by a centuries-old monster who’s been biding their time to ensure that when they go to war, they will win and they will retain control for the rest of eternity. Pulling out the mediator (that being the character that binds all the others together) in a very permanent way is the best answer I’ve found to break all the typical-YA-fantasy-stuffs up into something with more depth. It ruins everything in their universe, which is the best thing that can happen for a story.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I don’t double down on the emotional aspect – when thinking of deceased characters and pairings that didn’t end in happily ever after, I can only think of one that doesn’t upset me. Rose Quartz. From Steven Universe. And she most likely, despite being a female-coded sentient rock from space, was technically ‘straight.’ The character that makes it, though, is Pearl. Madly in love, almost definitely completely unrequited love, broken without her.

I know I can’t top that. Don’t think I’m trying to. I’d be happy just landing somewhere in the same ballpark.

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Rambles

About Garnet, Rosie, Not-Rosie, and Reddit.

So, empowered women love themselves some Rosie. I know I do. She got women into the factories, she got them to the jobs that they would later be remiss to give up and learn to fight for to get them back*. She played a prominent role in the history that allowed me the liberties I have today! This cover for the next issue of the re-booted Steven Universe comics made me outright squeal the first time I saw it, posted on the Steven Universe subreddit because I don’t really follow the comics that much, but I will look at one if I see it. Oh, also, take this as your spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the show.

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Comics by KaBoom Studios, art by Katy Farina(? – please correct me if I am wrong on this, I couldn’t find anything actually crediting a specific artist, but she’s credited as the artist on the series).

I love this art as a work of art – everyone who creates in regards to Steven Universe is spectacular and I am quite jealous, but I also know they’ve probably been drawing a lot longer and with a lot more dedication than I have so it doesn’t make me give up hope in myself. It gives me something to aspire to. Even when characters are making ugly faces they’re still amazing.

For the concept Garnet is absolutely perfect. The original is eye-catching for the strength she conveys so effortlessly. The original poster looks like she could really mess someone up, not to mention it’s iconic status in the history of feminism. Garnet herself could easily be an icon – she is, in and of herself, the power of love. She’s also very representative of three different types of amazing women, and in all of her forms (including her further fusions with Pearl and Amethyst) she’s definitely a get-the-job-done sort. There could be a whole ten posts written on the wonders of Garnet alone, but that would be a good digression for another day. For right now I want to talk about Rosie and my recent experience on Reddit which came from this cover.

When I first stumbled into the thread on Reddit, there were a few comments, and it had only been up for about 9 (more or less) hours. There was, of course, the simple little ‘love it’ type comments, but there was one which caught my attention. It was from a person who had a different view than me. Regarding this poster. Now, below that comment had been a bit of a rough patch but that was more or less well handled. It did give me pause, however, especially because another person had already casually and chipperly addressed the main problem with the initial comment.

See, the woman credited as the inspiration for this poster, the argument went, wasn’t exactly someone that should necessarily be looked up to, considering she only worked in the factory for three days before quitting to prevent injury to her hands. For me, that in and of itself is reasonable considering her life’s work required her to have functional hands, but I do see the point there. It’s not very empowering and it’s actually kind of annoying to have such an icon actually be backed by someone who didn’t put in the kind of effort that the poster was calling for. For the record, this lady was Geraldine Hoff Doyle, and she did pass away some years ago. Also for the record, again, I completely respect her decision considering how invaluable her hands were to her everyday life. Not that everyone’s hands aren’t important, but the kind of injuries possible might have been easier for other people to get on with.

Except, as was found out fairly recently, the iconic photo that is perpetually associated with the ‘We Can Do It’ poster wasn’t of Ms. Doyle at all (she was actually still in high school when the photo was taken), but of an entirely different lady – Naomi Parker-Fraley. Also, the original article the photo was taken for was, it seems, about proper factory fashion for the women who were just coming to work at the factory for the first time. Yes, the iconic headband was important to that piece. Women gotta keep their hair from the dangerzone somehow. It definitely would not do us good if everyone was being severely maimed after all, especially considering the appropriate work clothes (like steel-toe boots) didn’t come in average female sizes at the time.

Also of important note, there wasn’t just one lady that could be credited as Rosie. There is one iconic photograph that has been up for contention (that being the photograph that the headband is supposed to have come from), but there are many ladies who contributed to the art and the mythos. Rose Will Monroe was believed to be the model for the ‘We Can Do It’ poster, and there was Rose Bonavita (and her work partner) who set a record for most rivets produced who I read was potentially the inspiration for the song, which was in turn the superhero origins for the whole existence of any fictional Rosie the Riveter. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t pay our due thanks to the many other Rosies who helped out in the war effort, both for what they did at the time and for everything that has come since. We do have those factory jobs to thank for the strides we’ve made to workplace equality today after all.

Anyway, as far as Reddit was concerned, that had already been addressed, and politely and kindly and without erupting into name-calling battles. It was honestly impressive, considering the current state of any social sphere on the internet. I can’t look at even the most innocent of pages without something seemingly turning into a verbal bloodbath. It’s almost like the concept of a debate has warped entirely from ‘here’s my opinion and argument to support it, now present yours’ to ‘my opinion is superior and you must suffer since you don’t share it.’ On one hand, that makes me more afraid than ever to engage in conversations online, considering how dangerous that can be. I created this entire blog-twitter-etc set of accounts to keep them separate from everything else I do/have done just in case, and even then I know that savvy trolls are capable of almost anything.

So with that in mind, and with my deep love for debate…I poked the conversation a bit. Now if you’re expecting something grand like a fight or a long and deeply meaningful conversation….there wasn’t one of either. There were three total posts, and two of them were mine and the comment from the other person was ‘that’s interesting, but what about this other point?’

‘This other point’ was about how they didn’t like propaganda because it was false and meant to manipulate people, which is fair, since propaganda exists purely to manipulate people – though my opinion is ‘as bad as that sounds, I’d rather be manipulated into joining a war effort across an ocean and on a continent I will probably never visit than let actual literal Hitler become Fuhrer of all of Europe.’ Of course, I have 20/20 80 years in the future hindsight to help me make that choice, but as far as the outcome of WWII I can say I’m glad that Americans helped it not go in worse directions. But that is a completely separate discussion. No no, why I bring this whole thing up is because, in trying to teach and converse with another person (who I’m not sure was actually interested in the same, since they never replied, and that’s fine), I learned something.

For the people who have gotten this far without angrily going to the comments or just closing this post in annoyance, congratulations – and thank you deeply for reading this. *See,  I put a star way back in the first paragraph on purpose, and here is where it comes into play. I found out, while double checking myself so I didn’t sound like a fool, that everything I’d known about this poster was wrong. It’s not 100% my fault, since the culture around us definitely calls her Rosie, and I’m pretty sure my history text book in high school also referred to her as part of the Rosie the Riveter campaign. But see…she’s not actually Rosie the Riveter. She wasn’t even associated with Rosie until the 1980s, which, as you may note, was decades after WWII ended. This poster actually wasn’t even widely used. In fact, it was only used in one factory and for a short period of time at that.

The painting that was widely referred to as Rosie the Riveter (and was actually widely used at the time) was actually on the cover of The Saturday Morning Post, and while she is powerful in her own way (she’s stomping on Mein Kampf with a giant piece of machinery that could definitely do some serious damage), she doesn’t look ready to punch anyone’s lights out. In fact, she’s eating a sandwich:

She also isn’t the primary Rosie, as I already mentioned. The original Rosie, as far as the fictional war propaganda character is concerned, is the one from this fun little wartime ditty:

Now this isn’t to say one is greater than the other. They are all great in their own wonderful ways. It’s just that our favorite and most remembered poster isn’t the actual Rosie which got everyone riveted to Rivet. She was an icon for one factory for about a week or two in February (1943). That factory didn’t even have riveters.

So, this poster has a long history with being muddled at best. I saw many arguments regarding her purpose as the protector of the status quo – women were working in factories as mommy-type defenders of their domestic lives, knowing they were going to give those jobs up. I know I wasn’t around then to vouch for or against anything from back then, or even for anything from the 80s, but there’s something to the social dynamics of the ever changing times. Both what they were and what they became because of the effects of the war. We still have an on-going battle today about being a stay-at-home-mommy-housewife or putting the career first. There are still so many people who believe it has to be one way or the other, that somehow both can’t qualify as valid ways of living.

The iconic power of Rosie getting women into the factories did give weight to the grand scale changes in the work force even if the women at the time received less than half of what men made. The re-surging poster in the 80s served to unite a sisterhood to get ‘it’ done. There are a lot of things that ‘it’ could be, too. It’s the icon of rolling up your sleeves and getting to work that’s most important…even as she’s appropriated by Clorox to sell cleaning supplies to a bygone era. (Even the idea of feminism itself has been appropriated for advertising all kinds of weird things, and sometimes it’s effective, sometimes it’s horrible, and almost always whether or not it’s good or bad is entirely dependent on the viewer. After all, I kind of like a lot of the Dove commercials, aside from their weird recent one about the bottle shapes being more representative of different female body types, but a lot of people find it to be patronizing or exploitative of women’s insecurities.)

Do we need more icons? Yes we do. Do we need modern influences? You betcha. But we can’t discount the simplicity of an easy icon and the power that she wields. It’s an easy way to demonstrate strength, determination, and fearlessness. After all, I’m sure I’ve mentioned already how ready she looks to punch someone’s lights out. Whether or not that was intentional isn’t really that important. What matters now is what we’ve made of her. We have turned her into the icon of the powerful women who, lest we forget, did put in some serious backbreaking work that they probably were not accustomed to in order to do their part to defend their country. She represents those same women who were later forced out of their jobs, who found that domestic life wasn’t truly as rewarding as they’d been told it would be, the ones who pushed into the workforce and have gotten us as far as we’ve come today. She represents those of us who have to pick up the mantle and go the rest of the way (heeyy that’s what Garnet’s doing now that Rose is gone – did anyone else forget this started out as a Steven Universe post?).

Art doesn’t just stop at it’s history, or it’s original intent, or it’s appropriation. Sure it is also all those things but it is also what society molds it to be.

(On a side note, I recommend these comics. They’re interesting, lighthearted, and can be thought provoking, just like the series. They also have nothing to do with this topic aside from the awesome art of Garnet.)


Man, I’d forgotten how much I liked to essay. I’m not going to create a proper sources page at this time (sorry professors everywhere!), though I might come back and edit this. Please also don’t judge me for using Wikipedia instead of the original sources cited in Wikipedia – this isn’t some big professional presentation, Wikipedia already made the concise points that I wanted to make, and besides that, Wikipedia can be really chock full of good, truthful information as long as you’re staying away from hotly contested pages. In some cases of rare pieces of literature, Wikipedia might even be one of very few internet sources out there. My Old English professor swears by Wikipedia for learning more about Old English literature since there’s so little of it…and I’m going to stop now before I ramble about Old English literature. That shall be for another day.

Sources:

Smithsonian: We Can Do It!

Wikipedia: We Can Do It!

Wikipedia: Rosie the Riveter

NaomiParkerFraley.com

Naomi Parker Fraley, The Original “We Can Do It!” Gal

Steven Universe Subreddit

Kaboom Studios

Steven Universe Wiki

Norman Rockwell Complete Cover Gallery

The Many Faces of Rosie the Riveter

World Digital Library: We Can Do It!

History.com: Inspiration for Iconic Rosie the Riveter Image Dies

History.com: ROSIE THE RIVETER

Sorry Beyoncé, Rosie the Riveter is no feminist icon.

Rosie the Riveter is a bogus icon of female empowerment

Rambles

But before we begin we must talk about my cat.

On a blog about things I care about, I would be remiss if I didn’t start it off with my cat. His name is Conner, technically, though he’d be more likely to answer to Fluffle-Cuddle-Wufflegus for all I use it. Normally I call him Sweetie, or Baby Doll, or some other darling little pet name. I can’t help it. He is a sweetie.

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Due to having a roommate I do have only one cat at the moment. My roommate had their own cat (the orange one above) but does not currently have one. The most cats I’ve ever lived with at one time is three and honestly I find that to be a good balance number. While I wouldn’t mind visiting the Cat House on Kings (you know, that place with the lady who’s known for ‘owning’ over 1,000 cats? it’s actually a giant rescue) I would never want to care for that many cats. I’d be ok with fostering a mama with her kittens or something of that nature but actually maintaining that many cats over a long period of time would probably take the joy out of cat ownership for me. Just think of all the litter, and what the kitties leave within it.

My cat was adopted from a shelter located at the mall in Buffalo, New York during the short time that I lived there. There were about fifteen or so cats there at the time, but he was definitely the most vocal. He came right up to the plastic window-door and made sure that we noticed him. So of course I decided I had to get some room time with him. I admit in the first few moments I was concerned he’d be more of an on-his-own type cat and would never really like me much, considering he only crawled on me so that he could get to a table that he actually wanted to sit on, but there was just something about him. Maybe it was the fact that the shelter had named him Cry Baby and I thought that was just an affront to his cat pride, I dunno. His backstory was that someone had found him in their garage one morning and brought him in. From the moment they’d found him he had been ‘crying’ hence the name they picked. He’d only been at the shelter for a few days, apparently, when I adopted him.

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Turns out my fears he wouldn’t like me and he’d be super aloof were entirely unfounded.

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Every morning – except for on nights when it gets really hot, I wake up to this darling face. Sometimes he’ll be perched on my shoulder, on my hip, stretched out on my back, or just snuggled up beside me. But he is a grade A cuddler. He regularly comes up to me during the day and settles himself down on me. Often right on my computer because, well, that’s where he wants to sit. Right where my attention is at.

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Speaking of ‘where my attention is,’ he also likes somehow activating videos and then sitting and watching them like he intended to do that all along. If I ever leave my computer open you can bet I will come back to him watching something on YouTube.

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Now for a quick photo dump:

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He’ll be four sometime this year. I’ll have had him a whole year and a half. It’s hard to wrap my mind around sometimes. I mean, I know I haven’t had him forever. He’s the first cat I’ve adopted on my own as an adult, and obviously I haven’t always been an adult. Actually I don’t often feel like an adult even now (and I graduated from college already). He’s mine though. And, perhaps more importantly, I am his.

If anyone is here to see me fail and hopefully eventually not fail at art, stay tuned. I have a comic planned for him. I hope it’ll turn out cute at the very least. We’ll have to see though.

Oh and also if you haven’t had your cat fix yet, here’s an instagram I love that’s full of the cutest foster kitties (and their canine defender) for you to squee your heart out to. I stumbled on the creator via pinterest one day when I spied a picture of their one-eyed cats and giant dog all huddled around this super tiny kitten (apparently he was only four weeks old then). There are so many kittens on there you might hurt yourself with how cute it all is.