We are not (always) amused: Musetta on the challenges of living with mystery writer Clea Simon

Clea Simon's cat Musetta

Guest post by Musetta Simon

Do we have to do everything around here?

Staff was supposed to blog today. Something about those books she’s always letting into the house, those boxes that make such an unpleasant noise when she drops them on the floor. But staff is, as is her wont, a little overwhelmed and so yours truly is filling in.

Let me set the record straight. Staff is busy doing that which she calls “work,” which as far as we can tell is really just an excuse to sit in one place ignoring me in all my magnificence, until we are forced to pierce her self-involved little mindspace with a well-placed claw. It is true that sometimes when we do this, she yelps, which can be harsh to the ear. And that sometimes she responds by pulling us onto her lap. On principle, we object to this – so undignified – but if she rubs our chin just right, well, we will permit such indignities.

Perhaps it’s just as well, really, that we have been forced into such menial service. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t deign to explain ourselves to you, more incipient or present Staff to felines present, past, or future. Why should we? We are a cat. However, since we have taken control – or are, at least, dictating this to staff while we have her under the most stringent form of feline mind control – we shall set the record straight.

To start with, we are not a hapless kitten. Although we may have had some unfortunate misadventures in our earliest youth, we have never been as foolish as that kitten Esmé in Grey Zone. Truth be told, that whole episode with the fireplace, when Esmé stamped soot pawprints all over the apartment, including the Forbidden Places of the counter? That was my predecessor, the original for Mr. Grey. So there. And all that other stuff and nonsense: snoring. Sliding off the pillow as we slept? Not us, and if Staff says otherwise, we shall bite her.

Nor are we Wallis, the tabby who aids her Staff person, Pru, in the despicably named Dogs Don’t Lie. Wallis has the right attitude: condescension with just a soupcon of disdain. But she is a tabby. And really, aren’t tabbies common? One would think that for the occasion of a mystery novel, one would assume a more formal attire. Black and white, for example, which is always impeccably in style.

But let us dispense with such minor complaints. We understand that Staff is incapable of capturing us in our perfection. Like the poor humans in that old Greek’s book, she is only able to portray us as shadows of our greatness. Reflections of ourself. Pale purring imitations. We are beyond Staff’s ken.

For Staff is, of course, not the real creator of these books. Yes, we allow her to put her name on them, much as one would allow a child to stamp out the last cookie – or a kitten to scratch over her mess in the litterbox. We allow her to go forth and do signings or readings, or whatever excuse she uses to come home late and a little flushed. She is an adequate amanuensis, after all, and deserves to be let play.

Besides, we need our privacy as well. And when Staff is off doing such things as signings or gathering the cans that we require at regular intervals, we are replenishing our creativity. For we are the muse, the little muse – the Musetta. And there would be no books without us.

Musetta’s Staff is Clea Simon, the author of the Dulcie Schwartz and Theda Krakow mysteries and the nonfiction The Feline Mystique – On the Mysterious Connection Between Cats and Their Women as well as several other nonfiction books.  For more information about Clea, please visit her website or her blog.

For more about Clea Simon’s books, please read:

Book review: Dogs Don’t Lie

Book review: Grey Zone

Book review: The Theda Krakow Series

10 Comments on We are not (always) amused: Musetta on the challenges of living with mystery writer Clea Simon

  1. Clea Simon
    April 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm (7 years ago)

    We had better. That is all we will say on the subject. And now, we must nap.

    Reply
  2. Ingrid
    April 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm (7 years ago)

    Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule (keeping Staff in line can’t be easy!) to answer questions, Musetta! I hope Staff will have some extra special treats for you tonight for going above and beyond the call of duty.

    Reply
  3. Clea Simon
    April 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm (7 years ago)

    Staff, as usual, made a mistake and omitted the royal “we.” WE have been promised that the next book will have “Cats” in the title. However, we reserve the right to hold a grudge.
    harumph!

    Reply
  4. Clea Simon
    April 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm (7 years ago)

    I have been promised that the next one has “Cats” in the title (Staff note: It will be “Cats Can’t Shoot). However, we reserve the right to hold a grudge.

    Reply
  5. Layla Morgan Wilde
    April 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh Musetta, you are infinitely patient to tolerate such behavior. We understand the alleged work that goes on in front of a screen with clicky sounds of a keyboard. How do you feel about having DOG in the title of the new book?

    Yours in commiseration,

    Merlin, Gris Gris, Odin and Domino

    Reply
  6. Clea Simon
    April 8, 2011 at 11:10 am (7 years ago)

    Dear Amy,
    Spell-chick is something those silly humans fuss about, not understanding that we are perfect in our felinity. A hobgoblin of small minds. Pay it – and those rude, RUDE dawgs – no mind.

    Reply
  7. Amy D Shojai, CABC
    April 8, 2011 at 10:33 am (7 years ago)

    Musetta my deer kat, I feel your pane. Certainly itz dreadful for a feline of your statoor to inspire a dawg (spit!) book, but rest ashoored–I will keep that cat-nip purrfectly quiet. The othur katz mite not undurstand the way I do. At leest you don’t have to LIVE with one of thoze wagging, snorting rude-dawg-monsters.

    A refined kitteh such as yoo inspirz great kitty litter-ature, and I shall nap-atop-and-absorb yore story with relish.

    With respect and admiration,
    Seren (Kitty-in-Charj-of-Ritten-Stuff)

    ps, Pleez expane whut iz spell-chick?

    Reply
  8. Mare f
    April 8, 2011 at 9:07 am (7 years ago)

    Poor, poor, Musetta. But isn’t Staff there for you during thunder storms? Staff must be doing something righ for you to continue to be the purrrfect muse, don’t you think?

    Reply
    • Clea Simon
      April 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm (7 years ago)

      Good try, Mare, but we hold Staff fully accountable for thunderstorms and other acts of nature. And we withdraw our presence until they have passed.

      Reply
  9. Clea Simon
    April 8, 2011 at 8:40 am (7 years ago)

    I have been informed that Musetta will accept questions throughout the day. Assuming, that is, she is not napping.

    Reply

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