Playing with Ambition

He makes a grab for my pen, puffing his cheeks, twinkling his eyes, smiling if he could. It’s not that he wants me to stop writing, at least not in the long term, for it keeps me captivated and close to him. He likes to interrupt my ambition, a playful swipe over the page I stare at for a thought too good to miss if only it would come.

He came, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, with topaz eyes and quick sharp teeth, infecting my hand and heart with feisty vulnerability. Then he was gone, taken as I allowed, others to care for him better. Except I wasn’t convinced, traveling far and near to find the dirt road and unclear path to making him mine.

No one wanted him like I did. Certainly not those who had more than they could handle, separating themselves from his beauty as I thought impossible. In my arms he pretended he didn’t know me, hadn’t tempted and tasted me, too young a fellow to know he shouldn’t cry. I assured him that a love like mine, patient and doting, was all he needed. Slowly he believed, fed on fairy tales and fancy feasts.

And now he’s only for losing if eternity fails us. At times he prefers his own space and I’m more distracted than when he steals my pen and chance for inspiration. Somehow I always convince him to lie again at my feet—on my feet, warming them, massaging them, numbing them, until he notices my papers set aside. He moves up the bed for undivided attention, licking my cheek, nuzzling my ear before smothering me with his love, his gingery mane blinding me as his unexplained pleasure eases my doubts.  

Then it’s all too serious for him. He makes a grab for what is still in my hand, holding it in his teeth, his head and shoulders performing a tango. I laugh though not too loud for it is the middle of the night. We dance for a few moments longer, light on our feet with no need to exercise more than our imaginations.

 “The cat is the animal to whom the Creator gave the biggest eye, the softest fur, the most supremely delicate nostrils, a mobile ear, an unrivaled paw and a curved claw borrowed from the rose-tree.” – Colette (French Novelist, 1873 – 1954)


©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

15 thoughts on “Playing with Ambition

  1. Pingback: For International Cat Day: Portrait of Mischief and Love – bardessdmdenton – author- artist

  2. This is a most wonderful tribute to your beautiful companion.

    Cats will ever remain the most mysterious and fascinating creatures to me.

    As I sit at my desk at the computer one of mine (Phoebe) will walk persistently back and forth past the screen, tail held high to obstruct the tiniest word. This is a ritual in which she will persist for about 20 turns. When she realises I will not stop typing she then goes round the back of the computer and settles down on the router box(If that is the correct word for this piece of technology!) It must be warm here. But during her effort at feigning sleep I will catch her looking at me, a look which says a thousand different things!

    I just love this piece and its sentiments, together with the illustration, of course. Gabey looks so cosy on her quilt! They love luxury don’t they but are equally content on a piece of cardboard!



    • Thank you, Christine, and so glad for your visit. There are many things I can live without, but not cats! Their rituals reflect their insistence and persistence to be what they are and have us love them for it. (They know when they’re just tolerated and that is not good enough!) I love your statements that ‘during her effort at feigning sleep I will catch her looking at me, a look which says a thousand different things!’ and ‘They love luxury…but are equally content on a piece of cardboard!’ That is so true and in our humanness we can certainly take a leaf out of that book! I so appreciate your kind and relating comments. Hope you are feeling better. Blessings, Diane


  3. Just before reading your post this morning, I saw this: Both charmed me in very different ways, but I loved the feline thread they introduced to my day. I left my cat behind in South Africa more than six years ago, happy with a wonderful family on a farm with space to roam, hunt, adventure. I miss the delightful, frustrating, complex relationship, the warmth on my lap, the stretched fur across my desk.

    Delightful writing, well complemented by your rich illustration, as always.


  4. What a wonderfully detailed description of your symbiotic relationship! I’ve read it several times, earlier today, and now late this evening. I’m still smiling! I don’t have a cat, but I think there’s always someone or some thing that is able to play with or interrupt our ambition! And perhaps there is a suggestion of pricking our hubris too?

    Of the many lines I especially like, this one stands out:

    And now he’s only for losing if eternity fails us.

    I love the quote too. (And the illustration, of course!)


    • Thank you for your, as always, perceptive and sensitive comment.

      For me cats are the manifestation of Zen in my life…stripping away the worldly necessity of proving my worth.

      So I’m glad the piece is relatable in any way that puts ambition in its fickle and really rather unimportant place!

      Your favorite line is one of mine too…I just lost a she-cat who was very old and sick and so it was time for eternity to heal her…perhaps that is why it came to me…as a way of comforting my guilt for ‘playing God’ with her.


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