Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Feliad

In early 1970, my family bought a cat.

He was supposed to be a family cat, but within a few years he more-or-less became “my” cat. We shared the basement as a bedroom, you see. That ownership became semi-official once my two sisters moved away.

Through most of my teenage years, he was basically my comfort animal. He was always there. He was never judgmental, even when I was lax in keeping his food dish filled and his litter box clean. He was always willing to play or be stroked or just curl up next to me and purr.

In 1983, under circumstances too painful to go into (even now), he was put to sleep. That was just about the worst day of my life.

Curtain falls. Curtain rises thirty-five years later. For the past three years, I've participated in #NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. I'm a bit older than the main target for the program, but I don't think anybody really cares much about that. Every November, the participants sit down at their word processors and write at least 50,000 words of a novel.

My projects from 2017 and 2019 are still not really in a state to be issued in any form, but my 2018 project—well, that's slightly different.

Having just read Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock and Dunciad, it occurred to me that it might be fun to write a mock-epic of my own. A “Secret Life of Walter Kitty”-esque portrayal of incidents from Joshua’s life (that was his name—Joshua) seemed like an appropriate approach. Since this was for NaNoWriMo, it would need to be novel length, and that meant twenty-four books, and since this was an English-language epic, it would need to be in blank verse à la Paradise Lost (which I also read not long ago). A title (The Feliad) suggested itself at once, and that locked the project in.

Me being me, I figured I’d also do it in the Deseret Alphabet. Since this is new material, I’d do it up as a “Deseret Deuce,” in the spirit of the old Ace Doubles, and have two texts in one volume. The one would be the Deseret Alphabet version, and the other would be the Latin script version. Just to add a little spice to the whole process, the Deseret Alphabet text is slightly longer than the Latin script one. (If nothing else, it includes Book 6½.)

It took its sweet time, but it’s finally available via print-on-demand on Amazon. (It's been available on Lulu for some time longer.) I’m afraid that it is not cheap, but that’s what happens when you have a 600-page print-on-demand volume. I’m working on producing ebook versions which will be distinctly easier on the pocketbook. (No DA on Kindle, however, as the Kindle platform does not support the Deseret Alphabet.)

So far as I know, this is the very first full-length epic poem about a cat published in the Deseret Alphabet in 2019 (or 2020, for that matter). I also believe it's the third original work published in the Deseret Alphabet, period.

I make no claim as to its literary merit. I wrote it for fun. Parts are not half-bad, if you ask me. Other parts—eh. I really doubt this will make any splash in the literary world, just as sad “glub, glub, glub” as it sinks into the obscurity it doubtless deserves—but I did have fun.

And I miss my cat.