A Celebration Of Writing Companions

Do you have someone or something that keeps you company while you tap away at the keyboard? Today we thought we’d celebrate our writing companions. Meet the pets/mascots that keep The Romaniacs in check during their writing day:

Laura: Apart from a selection of animal toys my children have scattered on my desk, I have two real-life cats, Ringo and Daisy. They are not the sort of cats to sit on my desk when I am writing, but the blanket of fur covering my keyboard and printer each morning suggests they are moonlighting.

Ringo is the white and black cat and Daisy is the black and white cat. They decided to live with us, Daisy moving in a year before Ringo. He wasn’t keen on the idea of being snipped and chipped.

We adore them, they make us laugh and they keep me company late at night when the other humans have gone to bed and I’m getting some words down.

Celia: I’ve also got cats but only one of them – Arthur – is relaxing enough to write alongside. Just looking at him spreadeagled on the floor (or the table if he can get away with it) is usually enough to make me feel quite mellow but ready for work. 

Here he’s pictured in party mood and  reclining while he decides what to watch on TV. I also have a wonderful mouse mat with a picture of a Bavarian meadow and a cloud-topped mountain – it reminds me of a great holiday and inspires me to write settings involving German sausages and foaming pints of beer – food porn?

Liz: Four years ago, I accidentally bought a cat. Luckily
for me – it was one of my best accidents.  I’d visited a
pet rescue centre to look at kittens and there were lots of them but one in particular caught my eye. He was a little bundle of fluff with big furry ears and bright frightened eyes, shaking in the corner as a dog sniffed around him. Without thinking I scooped him up and the moment I felt his little heart racing inside his shivers, I knew I had to
take him home. So I did.

I didn’t have anything prepared for him and it was late at night so after shooting to the local supermarket and
discovering they didn’t sell litter trays, we had to improvise.  And that’s how Ralphus the cat ended up peeing in a bright red ceramic roasting tray for the first few days of his new life.

Ralph makes me laugh all the time and the little adventures of his life, like the one above, always inspire me to write.

Jan: I don’t have any pets (apart from Mr B, of course!) but I am surrounded by lots of fluffy and some not so fluffy writing buddies who’ve witnessed me whooping with joy when the words flow, to slumping, head held in hands, when they don’t.  I’m sure if they could talk, they’d have a few stories to tell 😉

  These three trusty companions (or gonks as my niece calls them) reside on the base of my PC. Everything has a name in The Brigden household (I’m not really a big kid. Honest! )From left to right : Bella Ladybird (lord knows why, it just seemed like a good name at the time) Kiki, my little fluffy Koala who an ex-boss brought back from Oz for me, and Fluff, who is, well, an orange stripey ball of fluff!

Then there is Dougal, who hangs on the back of the kitchen door, who I can see from where I sit at my PC. My neighbour brought him back from Scotland for me. He’s supposed to be a carrier bag holder but I’ve never used him as such.  So, none of them pets exactly, but still loveable…                 

Trevor & Arnold

Catherine: I’m with Jan on this. I love the idea of having a pet and we’ll have one in the future, but for now it’s fluffy companions that keep me company. In the picture are the travelling companions: Arnold the travelling hedgehog and Trevor the travelling wombat. They came all around the world with us when we went travelling for our honeymoon. Here they can be seen with a friend they made: a camel in India. These days they stay at home and keep me company along with Binky Boy, Bertie the Bee, Ted the Puffin and so many more!

Sue : I wouldn’t necessarily say that my dog, Tess, is my writing companion but she certainly keeps me company on our daily walks. She is slightly mad, but then most labradors are. However, at over nine years old, she really could do with acting her age, which in dog years I make that 63.  She has her posh Kennel Club name of Kilmiltry Belle Dame but at home she’s plain old Tess (although she answers to pretty much anything, ‘Stupid’ being a particular favourite).

Lucie : My writing companions are my pets, Dame and Jerry. Dame is an English Bull Terrier and we have had her since she was 6 weeks old. This June, she turned 7! Dame hasn’t always been a writing companion as I used to work upstairs in the spare room, but since I have had a shift of rooms and moved downstairs into the conservatory, she has taken up residence under my desk.

Jerry was an Easter present for my daughter last year. She had been asking for a kitten for so long and we finally caved in April last year and got a teeny tiny black and white kitten who was about 4 weeks old – and a mischievous little thing! Nearly 18 months later and Jerry isn’t so little, but is twice as mischievous!  He also decided to take up residence underneath my desk …

Luckily, they are best friends so Dame doesn’t mind sharing.

Vanessa: We got Fred earlier this year after we lost out lovely grey cat, Trevor. We went to the cat adoption centre determined to get another girl cat (yes, Trevor was a girl) and definitely a kitten. No grown-up boy cats for us. But they didn’t have any kittens and they made us walk past all the grown-up cats… and Fred chose us. He was so friendly and pretty we couldn’t say no, so we came away with a one-year-old boy cat. They warned us it could take him a while to settle, that he might be wary, he might hide under furniture and be scared of us for a good few weeks. This photo is Fred at the end of his first day with us. I think he looks fairly relaxed…

But is he a good writing companion? Hmmm… the problem with Fred is he likes sitting on my laptop. It gets nice and warm and he seems to find it a very cosy place to settle. Several times, I’ve found pages of random letters and gobbledygook in my writing – whether it’s his attempt to communicate or just some accidental typing as a result of bottom shifting, I’m not sure. He’s a lovely cat and none of us can imagine the house without him in it – and if he works on his typing skills, he may end up very useful as a writing companion…

Debbie: In January we had to have our old boy, Simba, put to sleep. 

Simba was my constant writing companion and used to attach himself to my feet like my sloppiest, comfiest pair of slippers. 

Oh, how he used to smell. But I didn’t mind his smell…or his snoring. He snored marginally less than my ex (and never betrayed my good nature!)

It was hard to imagine any dog could replace the gaping hole he left…

However, we’ve been blessed. A dear friend’s dog had pups and she approached me about a year ago to ask whether I’d be interested. My ex wouldn’t let us have a second dog and I knew Simba probably wasn’t long for here so we went for it and got ‘Bruno.’ For a few short months, Grandpa Simba showed him the ropes and protected him. In return, Bruno tormented his mentor, mercilessly hanging off his ears, clambering all over him and not allowing him to sleep. But Simba never complained, right up until the end… 😦 

It may sound silly – they were very different dogs; different body weights, different colours etc and it may be just Labrador traits, but it sometimes feels as if Bruno is Simba re-incarnated. He has so many of Simba’s characteristics and little ways. Yet if anything, Bruno is even more sensitive to my moods and foibles as he keeps me company at the laptop and when I walk, mulling and musing over plots and writing projects.

I still miss Simba terribly but thank my lucky stars every day that we found Bruno boy who has brought us so much joy these last months, and whom I know will continue to support me through my writing journey! 

So what about you? Do you have a pet or otherwise that keeps you company whilst you write? If you do, please tell us about them…

15 thoughts on “A Celebration Of Writing Companions

  1. Blimmin’ heck you guys own a lot of animals between you! I don’t have any animals as I’m allergic to most of them but I do have a Lego witch. However, I try not to go near her or she’ll drop her broomstick, her hat will fall off etc. She’s quite sweet though and the main thing for me is she doesn’t shed hair 😉
    Have a good day, Ladies xx

    • Lol Elle! We are awash with kitties. I like the idea of having a witch on my desk. I have a toy wolf, presented to me by Jodi Picoult when I howled with her, a wind-up Snoopy and Mickey Mouse in a car gracing my desk. Oh. And two bugs. And an angel from my mum 🙂
      Laura x

  2. Aw, bless! Well, anyone that know me knows I end up fostering all the disabled and decrepit oldies (dogs, that is, not men!). They are a challenge sometimes but I think I might just go a little gaga without these guys to tear me away from my keyboard and take me walkies! Love ’em to bits. Here’s to my ancient guy, Max, recently lost at age 19!! and very much missed. We have another little addition now, Odi! Cross collie/terrier and a real scruffbag. He’s not going to win an beauty contents, but needs a little loving, soooo…guess I’m going to be loving him – lots. 🙂 xx

    • Hi Sheryl. I think we get from pets what we put in. My cats are bonkers, which says it all. I don’t take them for walks, but we do have some great conversations and Ringo loves my singing 🙂
      It is always sad to lose a pet, but we can temper it with the knowledge we gave them a good life and lots of love. Odi sounds wonderful.
      Laura x

  3. i was born into a family that once had 11 cats and used to have a cat until i moved abroad in 2002 for work, giving her up was so heart-breaking I’ve never had a cat again. But what I do, do is cat foster on occasion for the Mayhew Animal home in Kensal. I’ve had 4 so far over the last few years and I definitely work better with a puss lolling about the Castle : ) They are gorgeous creatures and so relaxing to be around, except for when they want your lap or your laptop and won’t take no for an answer the little blighters!! Loved hearing about all your pets.
    Debbie, sorry for the loss of Simba, it is awful having to put a beloved pet to sleep : ( Bruno sounds wonderful though. I am more a cat person than a dog lover, though I did get my family to adopt a stray puppy in Pakistan when I was 7 when i saw it being abused by a not very nice man. Animals rock, full stop! x x

    • Hello Yasmin
      I come from a cat-loving family too. We love all animals, but for some reason, it’s the cats that charm us most.
      When my parents worked abroad in Dubai, they were unable to keep pets, so they helped with Feline Friends, the local cat charity. It was the next best way in which they could help our furry friends.
      Keep up the excellent fostering work 🙂
      Laura xx

  4. Yup, with you on the cat front. My black and white 17 year old cat BART likes to sit on the ironing board next to my writing desk and look inspiring. Sometimes, when he gets fed up of this and decides to look for food instead, he jumps on the desk and leans against the keyboard. Or runs his fat self under my nose in a ‘notice me’ way. It’s like Coleridge and the Person from Porlock, but with a cat.. My other source of inspiration is a red beanbag lobster called Thermidor who sits atop the iMac and sneers.

    • Hi Carol
      I’m smiling at the lobster called Thermidore. If it realised what was behind its name, it might stop sneering. My son has a large, fluffy chicken called Curry…
      Thank you for joining in.
      Laura xx

  5. I’m another one who’s allergic to most forms of life, but I can’t live without my furry companions! Although I do have to say they’re all shut out when I’m writing, because the cats love the keyboard (warmest place in the house) and the dogs believe that, if they stare hard enough at me, we’ll be going for a walk any second. Four cats, two dogs – that’s a roomful. But when I’m working in my head – they’re there.

    • Hi Jane – you have quite a menagerie (I just checked I wrote the correct word there). This staring business – I get that from my son when he asks ‘Are we having tea tonight?’
      Laura x

  6. **sobs** We don’t have pets. Between me and the boys, we’re allergic to most furry life forms and there’s a touch of asthma thrown in for good measure too. So I am writing all on my lonesome.

  7. I cannot recall the breed, but there is a furless cat that would solve the fur allergy problems. And before anyone says they are ugly, they’re not. They’re just a bit different 🙂 xx

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