(illustration by Grayson Miller)
This upcoming anthology seeks any poetry, prose, nonfiction, fiction, art or music that can be connected to the theme of “dead cat.” I would like to avoid narrowing the scope of this anthology, or influencing which direction a writer might take.
Deadline is September 1st. Previously published work is acceptable (please acknowledge where and when it was published).
Compensation is one copy of the anthology when it is printed in October, and invitation to attend the release reading in Bellingham, Washington (location TBD).
Send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Work about live cats is not what I’m looking for. There is also no need to send me work about other dead animals. If you can find a creative, purposeful way to break those rules and connect it to the theme, I’d love to see how you accomplish it.
However, due to some negative responses to the theme, I’ve decided to disclaim that this theme is not intriguing to me due to any propensity or encouragement towards acts of cruelty, violence, or otherwise grotesquery.
However, I do not discourage taking the theme/metaphor/narrative to dark places. I like examining the deep structure of both life and death, so if you decide to talk about bones, let it be. The visceral and dark are also more than welcome.
I want all cats to live forever. But that’s one of the things in life we can’t control.
I hate that shit.
However, I want to see how the theme of dead cats inspires you.
I have ideas about it myself. If you’d like to know what they are, keep reading.
If not, go write/draw/sketch/sing/stare what it means to you into reality, and send it my way.
You can always read what I think later, but I’m more curious about you.
Now, you may be wondering, “Why dead cats?” “Who the hell thought this one up?” “What’s wrong with that prrrrson (I can’t help myself)? ” Or, like some commentators on the internet: “That’s horrible.”
This project became an idea one evening during a poetry potluck. One of my favorite things about live readings are the way themes serendipitous-ly emerge across each reader’s work. On that night, it happened to be dead cats. Whether as subject matter, passing metaphor, idiom, or brief allusion. When the room was asked who else had “dead cat” poems, almost fifteen people raised their hands.
Having previously penned my own short fiction in the theme (which still needs to be severely re-written), I have my own ideas about what dead cats can mean as a symbol, a metaphor, a tangent, a narrative. Where I’m curious (and didn’t that kill the cat?) is where you will take it.
Another definite motive behind the motif: writing about grief. Death, in general, is not something we talk about or deal with as a culture. I’m hoping this anthology offers insight, teaches us to talk about the losses (great and small) that riddle life.
Of course, I’m never going to forget to mention my feminist agenda.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the way American culture genders cats as female, and dogs as male. That the derogative term for weakness (“pussy“) comes from “pussycat” as well as describing vaginas.
So… when you take that into consideration, what does it mean that so much violence is done to feral cats? Why is there “more than one way to skin a cat”? Why is that an idiom? Is it because they have nine lives? I don’t know, that would also be interesting to research and write about. As would “cat scratch fever,” “cat o’nine tails,” and any others.
If cats are female, can I also have nine lives?
——————————What if: If we really do go through large life changes roughly every seven years, (each era in between these changes its own “chapter,” its own life) and nine times seven is sixty-three, plus another seven years for the first era before a big change and you get seventy-four, which is a good estimate average human life span these days (I have no idea if that is true, it’s just the longest I can imagine living right now).
How does that change our concept of death, if we got to do it nine times? Does that make each life more significant, or less? What would we do with more chances at living?
Why, oh why, does curiosity kill us?
This pussy wants to know.