In The Writer's World

The State of the State

Omar and I met twelve years and three months ago at the Oregon Humane Society. After looking at all the cats in the place, some of them twice, I happened to glance into the cat play area where I spotted a magnificent animal stretched out on one of the platforms, his long striped tail hanging down.

Omar in healthier times.

In the meet-and-greet room, he climbed onto my lap, went straight for my chin, and head-butted me. We both knew he was the one! They called him “Cuddles” at OHS. I called him Omar after Omar Little, that badass bandit in The Wire.

Omar was a badass, but he also was my buddy–running to greet me when I came home, hanging out on my lap, or snuggled next to me in bed. Like any other animal who’s come into my life, we developed our own language. He wasn’t a pet. He was family.

Omar and I gave up the fight on Tuesday, June 25. We had taken a much-needed break from nearly five months of aggressively battling whatever ailment du jour presented itself. His last two-to-three weeks were happy ones. He relaxed, ate, and slept. We cuddled a lot. He continued to lose weight. Something had to change.

I took him to my veterinarian friend Ilona. We discussed options, and decided it was time. I picked up his ashes Monday morning. He’s back home where he belongs, on the mantle. We had a rich and amazing 12 years, and I’m grateful for our time together. And I’m sad. The world is lonelier without him.

The State of the Novel

What novel? she says. As of now, there is no novel except the one most recently published, which I am focused on marketing. This is never an easy task.

I write every morning–just not the novel. And I write in my head when I am walking, working, cleaning the toilet. I have been reading a lot. That always stimulates ideas, but for now? Sorry, Charlie. No novel.

It’s time to kick back. It’s time to enjoy these fleeting summer days, take a dip in the pool, smell the roses and jasmine, work with my daughter in the garden, eat a summer hamburger. Since the first of the year I’ve been going nonstop. I need a break. Ideas are percolating. But again, no novel. I’m heading to Steen’s Mountain later this month for a short time out, then on to more character development for Emma #4.

The State of Everything Else

In pursuing my passion for theatre, I’ve seen several small plays and works in progress during the last couple months. See recent reviews hereTonight Nothing is one I’m looking forward to based on seeing Merideth Clark’s Winter Song at Portland Center Stage during the winter holiday season.

Tonight Nothing is new work created and performed by Merideth Kaye Clark and Katherine Murphy Lewis that follows the paths of two long-term friends, Kaye and Em, who must find their way back to themselves and each other. From garage sales to magical encounters in an attic, this journey asks us to unpack the many things that make up a legacy. What we leave, or don’t leave behind? and how  we let go?

From the Ground Up, a Portland based non-profit that utilizes the performing arts to elevate marginalized voices and bring important stories to the forefront, is proud to produce this, their first professional work, in partnership with CoHo Productions. Tonight Nothing will be presented as a workshop in performance at CoHo Theatre July26-28. Contact CoHo for tickets.

That’s all folks.



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  • Margie Hurle says:

    Vale Omar; he was proof that you don’t own a cat. He met the world on his own terms, and set his own rules. The message he gave me was, “Don’t mess with me, Woman!” I didn’t, and he tolerated me in return. What a character.

  • Janis says:

    It occurred to me that it might be worth considering working Omar (or even just his name) into your next novel somehow. What a nice legacy that would be… ❤

  • Celeste says:

    Always difficult to lose a beloved pet. My heart goes out to you.
    Also thanks for the book recommendation. The Winter Soldier was quite good and I liked reading about an unfamiliar time in history.

    • Judy Nedry says:

      Thanks, Celeste, for your kind thoughts. Re the book, I didn’t see that ending coming. I’d been to Austria and Hungary the spring before I read it, which made the setting doubly fascinating.

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