Everyone goes through a ‘weird stage’ when they’re growing up. For Moontrug it was dying her hair pink and developing an obsession with strawberry lip balms – and for Simon David Eden it was singing songs about left-handed polar bears while dressed in a lab-coat… Yes, that really happened. Thankfully though, it didn’t last, and since bagging a MA Distinction in Film, producing a BAFTA winner, and heading off to Hollywood as a screenwriter, Eden has written a children’s book, The Savage Kingdom, the first in his Animalian series. In this contemporary fantasy adventure, the animals of the wild are forced to rise up to challenge mankind’s reign as the dominant species on the Earth, only to find themselves battling an even more formidable foe who has lived in our shadows since the dawn of time. This is a tale about courage, humanity, ecology, a mysterious, ancient Lionman, a terrifying quest, and a gifted child who will stop at nothing to be reunited with her feline friend. Gripping stuff – and Moontrug is excited to announce that Eden is guest blogging on Moontrug TODAY. Check out the below…
Greetings Moontruggers! Great site. And I’m a big fan of the ‘inventing words’ concept as that’s something I do all the time. As luck would have it, mostly it’s just the family felines Bea & Mosey who get to hear it. That said, there are several invented nouns in my debut novel The Savage Kingdom (skerrets and night-nifts) that I’m hoping will, in the fullness of time, become a part of the lexicon. Now that’s a word I like, even though it sounds like it ought to mean something else. The lexicon, a hairless nocturnal shrew found in Patagonia. The lexicon, the world’s first fully collapsible fold away solar powered car that fits in a back-pack. Then there’s the Mexican Lexicon …
You see what our cats have to put up with. Not that they’re averse to chipping in with some interesting tongue twisting exercises themselves. Anyone who thinks that kitties just mew hasn’t spent any quality time with one. Our two chirp, snore, chitter, whine, hiss, groan, growl, hiccup and even howl on occasion. Often as not when they’re sprawled on my desk – between me and the keyboard – while I’m trying to write. And I wouldn’t have it any other way of course. They’re a constant inspiration. And the fact that they have the run of the house and the sprawling cottage garden and even the open fields and farmland beyond, yet they choose to settle wherever I’m working, gives me a little warm glow every day. We’re pals. We hang out. We often eat at the same time (though not off the same crockery I hasten to add) and when it’s hot, we siesta on the sofa together. Sounds kinda crazy? Well, I’m not alone in recognising the benefits of sharing my creative space with a feline.
History is littered with the moggy as muse as the following ode will demonstrate…
‘The Artists’ Mewwwws
What is it with art and the feline muse?
Those bewhiskered creatures who purr at our shoes,
Demanding a snuggle when they know we’re creating,
Or some grub, or a treat, or some lengthy play-baiting.
For a while I thought well, perhaps it’s just me,
But no the tradition’s as old as can be.
I’ll share a few names and you’ll see what I mean,
I’ve a minute or two while the bowls are licked clean.
Now take the photographer Cartier-Bresson,
He learned early on a most valuable lesson.
For all the kings and wars and street paupers in hats,
The muse that amused was always his cats.
And the painter Paul Klee had a kitty called Bimbo,
And without fluffy Tyke, Kerouac was in limbo.
Colette was devoted and so too was Plath,
And Hemingway probably had cats in the bath!
As he housed twenty-three, though Snowball was king,
Jean Paul Satre had Henri a dear little thing.
And you know the old master of mystery called Poe,
His cat Catterina was always on show.
Leonardo Da Vinci was equally smitten,
And for Lessing, Capote and Borges a kitten,
Was the purrrrrrr-fect source of inspiration,
For Mark Twain too this admiration,
Is as clear as white cat hairs on a black sweater,
Philip K Dick, well he likes nothing better.
So too Joyce Carol Oates, and Herman Hesse,
Okay there’s the offerings which can be a mess(a),
And hairballs and retching and snags in the rugs,
But you can dig out the tics and get rid of the bugs.
Else why would so many choose a cat as a pal?
Like Oates, Edward Lear and Dali et al.
Well the truth is they choose us, aye there’s the rub,
And the essence of Jean Cocteau’s ‘Cat Friends Club’.
So the next time you pick up that novel you’re reading,
Spare a thought, it was written while the moggies were feeding!
Simon David Eden, July 2014
The Savage Kingdom is out now and keep your eyes open for Moontrug’s review this summer…