You’ve no doubt heard about Schrödinger’s Cat. That’s the one that, hypothetically sealed in a box along with a deadly radioactive atom, may be paradoxically (and I suppose rather frighteningly to some) presumed to be both alive and dead at the same time. Not to worry of course: Because Schrödinger’s Cat was simply a thought experiment devised by the great Austrian physicist to provide some insight into how quantum mechanics works—or more accurately, to show how some people were misinterpreting how quantum theory works. Anyway, it’s all okay, because today Schrödinger’s Cat is believed to have joined an ashram in Kathmandu where he is busy writing his memoirs.
This, on the other hand, is Lizza’s Cat. The paradox of Lizza’s Cat is that, much like Schrödinger’s feline, it too wants to be in two mutually exclusive states at the exact same time. Lizza’s Cat wants perpetually to be both inside the house and outside the house simultaneously. Hence his position here, hovering over the open threshold of the sliding glass door like an electron jumping between orbital valences, in a desperate and ceaseless effort to achieve his ideal dual-state existence. Lizza’s Cat spends a lot of time here, until we finally get tired of bugs and insects coming into the house as freely as the breeze.
Though admittedly for Lizza’s Cat, this is not so much a profound tutorial paradox of quantum physics as it is simply a cognitive behavioral dilemma: the warm, safe interior with abundant food resources and lots of plush furniture to sleep on, versus the massively sprawling hunting grounds of the outdoors filled with all manner of rodent and feathered wild game and resplendent with uncounted dirty pools of the tastiest rainwater runoff. What’s a spoiled cat to do?
And yet, I think I know how Lizza’s Cat feels. One of the benefits of being a freelance writer is that you get to set your own work hours, or so the gig economy pundits will tell you. But that freedom can also be a curse. Especially if you love the outdoors the way I do, and especially at this time of year when the bright days of sunshine are so much longer, and the weather so sublime. It doesn’t help matters that my sweet spot for both literary creativity and content productivity has proven to be the early morning hours from about 5:00 to 10:00 or 11:00 am. Because those also happen to be the most delicious hours of the summer day, before all of that New Jersey heat and humidity starts to pile on.
So, much like Lizza’s Cat I suppose, I often find myself hovering anxiously between my two greatest passions—the one for creative writing and the one for getting outside to enjoy the incredibly beautiful region of the northwest New Jersey Skylands where I’m blessed to live. Yet I find that it is vitally important for me to achieve a balance between the two. If I fail to get outside to do some moderately strenuous exercise (even if it’s some yard-work), I feel as though my creativity suffers, whereas a brisk hike on one of the many rail trails in this region does wonders to refresh my spontaneity and innovativeness when I return to the writing desk, whether the goal is to craft the next original chapter, or to enliven existing prose with some piercingly insightful editing. And I am so deeply grateful that, living in relatively rural country as I do, I have been fortunate even during the Covid-19 crisis to be able to get out regularly to walk those amazing rail trails, pretty much as I normally would prior to when this crisis began.
By the way, while no one actually knows the name of Schrödinger’s Cat (he was, after all, only theoretical) I can tell you that the name of Lizza’s Cat is Milhous. I can also tell you that of the nearly 20 cats that have lived in, and more or less reigned supreme over our home over the past 40-plus years, Milhous is the first to have arrived on our doorstep, suitcase in paw, and apparently of his own deliberate volition—on Father’s Day four years ago—deciding to stay only after meticulously inspecting the accommodations and approving the varied food menu, with only a few reservations, or so I presume. With those clues in mind, here’s a challenge for you:
If you are an entrepreneur looking for a ghostwriter to help you write your business book, or an aspiring novelist looking for deep-structure developmental editing help, I’ll provide a free, 30-minute, no-obligation telephone consultation to anyone who can correctly identify the connection between Lizza’s Cat’s name, Milhous, and the day on which he coincidently arrived—Father’s Day. Send your replies to firstname.lastname@example.org to win your free consultation!