29th May 2015
In Scotland, black cats aren't a bad omen as they are in the US. They are good luck. Somewhere along the line when the church was transforming good witches into hags, the black cat went with them into the shady area of occult. So in my book Veil of Time, a black cat appears out of nowhere on Halloween, and my protagonist adopts it. She names the cat Winnie, because it rhymes with skinny, and it becomes a sort of touchstone for her. When she gets transported back in time, lo and behold the black cat goes with her.
So one dark night a couple of weeks ago, a neighbour knocked on my door and asked if I was missing a black cat. Well, I don't have a black cat, but I was curious. I went out, and there she was. Winnie. Just exactly how I had imagined her: skinny, small head, friendly with a loud purr. Readers of my book will remember that it is the cat's rhythmic purring that sometimes sends Maggie off into an epileptic seizure.
Oscar Wilde famously said, "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life." This sentiment even has a name: Anti-mimesis. And people have always felt it - all the way back to Aristophanes. Perhaps even before that. Is it possible that this is why we tell stories, that we are really trying to manifest the life we choose?
I was reading yesterday in the paper how some scientists are beginning to think that traditional science has reality on its head. According to that science, the universe is full of a number of things, and these things generate a field of information. But the scientists in the paper yesterday were positing the opposite: before anything else, there is a field of information and then there is the physical manifestation of that field.
Perhaps that's where Winnie came from: the field of information I created when I wrote a book about time travel and witches and a black cat called Winnie. You never know.
As I write, Winnie is sitting at my shoulder looking out of the window, surveying the world that perhaps she only partially belongs to.
Of course, I have adopted her. What else can you do when spooky things turn up at your doorstep?