Purr-fectly Proustian

And the winner is…Proust, by a nose!

Yes, The Literate Kitten will cuddle up with Marcel in 2005, starting with volume one of his seven-volume tome, In Search of Lost Time: “Swann’s Way.”

We are already intrigued by the first sentence: “For a long time, I went to bed early.”

As to which translation we chose, well, it was a tough call. We considered the C.K. Scott Montcrieff version, which was first translated in the 1920s, or D.M. Enright’s 1993 version. But, being ever adventurous, we opted for the most recent translation by Lydia Davis. We’ll wing the remaining six volumes.

Other adulators of Marcel abound, as indicated by this short list of Proust-related books, which the LitKit hopes to explore along the way:

Alain de Botton, “How Proust Can Change Your Life”

Andre Aciman, “The Proust Project”

Roger Shattuck, “A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time”

Richard Bales (ed.), “The Cambridge Companion to Proust”


Read 'n Rant: And a Merry Whatever to You, Too!

As this holiest of holy seasons approaches for 94 percent of Americans who say they believe in Christ (that's what the AP polls say), we are reminded by the Fundamentalist Ghosts of Christmas Present that there's no end to cashing in on Jesus' birth. Or to the vast intrepretations of the real meaning of Christmas: www.savemerrychristmas.org.

Now, speaking solely for herself, the LitKit has no desire to remove the C-word from the holiday season. We say: Bring on the babe wrapped in swaddling!

But to organize a boycott against department stores for not displaying Merry Christmas banners? Bah, humbug!

Oh, we sympathize. Christmas shopping just isn't the same without 20-foot vinyl green banners proudly proclaiming: "Merry Christmas! And save 20% on bath beads!" We need to be reminded that the reason we are purchasing Game Boys and Barbie Dolls and edible underwear is because the Lord was born unto us. In a stinky old manger. Without one person caring whether or not He would develop a hay allergy. All to save our miserable souls from eternal damnation (although, we observe, it didn't keep us from having to listen to Robert Novak). Well, when you put it that way: It makes the whole consumer experience pretty darn holy.

But...it isn't enough to boycott shops that don't take the Lord's name in vain. That's just a mere raindrop in the vast unholy ocean of atheism. Let's bring back the true meaning of Christmas. Like resting on the Sabbath. That means, no fair using credit cards on Sundays. Even during the holiday season. Even if you work full-time and have to drive Biff to soccer on Saturdays. Jesus would really like Sundays to be about reading The New York Times and eating blinis and sleeping in the middle of the afternoon. With some sort of church service squeezed in there.

While we're at it, why not wipe out every secular sign connected with Christmas Day? Yes, let's get rid of every smarmy smack of commercial consumerism associated with the blessed birth of Our Savior. Ban all radio stations that play any seasonal music that only addresses Santa and sleigh bells and grandmothers getting run over by reindeer! Ban cookies (particularly Pfeffernusse, which sounds fascist to us) and trees and lights and tinsel and Frosty the Snowman! And Rudolph (who not only sounds German but probably drinks). Above all, get rid of Santa Claus. Yup, let's give the boot to old Kris Kringle, Jolly Old St. Nick, Father Christmas. He has been demoted from a saint to a fat old pedophile in red jammies and must not be allowed to detract from the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Let us keep only that which invokes the Lord's birthday. Like cake and ice cream and a rousing game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey-in-the-manger.

Conversely, why not support any institution promoting Christ, or has tithing gone the way of the Latin mass? What an example it would be for Joe Bob Jr. or Little Sissy if their share of Christmas presents was donated to their favorite house of worship! What a spiritual message it would send to the world if families gave money to the Church instead of buying season's tickets to the Dallas Cowboys' games! It would fight terrorism too. Don't ask us how, but terrorism and the lack of Christmas spirit are all wrapped up in the same thing: non-Christian values.

Or we could, you know, go back to wishing for peace on earth and good will toward mankind.


A Daily Dose

Much crap is immortalized in ink, both online and in print. Some of it, we realize, is unavoidable.(We hope The Literate Kitten is not adding to the pile of stinky word-doo.) For a whiff of clean and unpolluted prose, check out this instead of (or at least in addition to) your daily horoscope:



Set your own lit-worthy goals for '05

Now that the Literate Kitten has committed to a serious Literary Goal for 2005, it’s time to nudge her two or three faithful readers – and maybe some unsuspecting passersby – into the same.

Read a book – and thumb your nose at the dumbing down of contemporary American society while achieving an authentic Worthwhile Goal. (Not that having French nails and cutting carbs are equivalent to moral decrepitude or anything, but Worthwhile Goals? We think not.) Why not take the highbrow and impress your friends and family next Thanksgiving with some off-the-cuff references to the emergence of Russian formalism or the theoretical problems of Wittgenstein’s Usage Theory? Eh? Imagine your cynical siblings shaking their collectives heads at their wacky empiricist sister or Dadaist brother – instead of making fun of your excessive interest in Kabbalah bracelets and collagen.

So, without further ado, here are some recommended readings for those with prose issues:

For those who have…

…never read a book straight through (willingly):

Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Richard Russo, “Empire Falls”
John Irving, “A Prayer for Owen Meany”
Ken Kesey, “One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest”

…exclusively read Stephen King, John Grisham or Michael Crichton:

Jason Fforde, “The Eyre Affair”
Michael Chabon, “The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay”
Kurt Vonnegut, “Slaughterhouse Five”
Cormac McCarthy, “Blood Meridian”

…been seduced by romance novels:

Jane Austen, (with Jane, anything will do, but if you must have a title, try “Persuasion”)
Daphne DuMaurier, “Jamaica Inn”
Charlotte Bronte, “Villette” (unless you haven’t read “Jane Eyre”)
Alice Hoffman, “Seventh Heaven”

…been wanting to read something other than Harry Potter with your kids:

For girls: Maud Hart Lovelace, “Betsy-Tacy” book series, L.M. Montgomery, “Anne of Green Gables,” Anna Sewell, “Black Beauty”
For boys: Robert Lewis Stevenson, “Treasure Island,” Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would Be King,” Jack London, “Call of the Wild”
Either/or: C.S. Lewis “Narnia Chronicles,” “Asops Fables,” Charles Lamb, “Tales from Shakespeare”

…been enshrouded by mysteries:

P.D. James, “Shroud for a Nightingale”
Dashiell Hammett, “The Glass Key”
James M. Cain, “The Postman Always Rings Twice”
G.K. Chesterton, “The Complete Father Brown”

…never read anything remotely adventurous or challenging but think that it is, like acting or hosting a game show, a snap:

William Faulkner, “The Sound and the Fury”
Feodor Dostoyevsky, “Notes from Underground”
James Joyce, “Ulysses”
Franz Kafka, “The Trial”

…never willingly read a short story:

Tobias Wolff (ed.), “The Vintage Book of American Short Stories”
Milton Crane (ed.), “Fifty Great Short Stories”
James Moffett (ed.), “Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories”

Ernest Hemingway, “The Complete Short Stories” (Finca Vigia collection)
Eudora Welty, “Collected Stories”
Anton Chekov, “Selected Stories”

Alice Munro, “Friend of My Youth”
George Saunders, “Civilwarland”
Denis Johnson, “Jesus’ Son”

…been looking for a classic you can actually read and very possibly enjoy (and still retain bragging rights for tackling a noteworthy novel):

Gustav Flaubert, “Madame Bovary”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”
Pearl S. Buck, “The Good Earth”
John Steinbeck, “Grapes of Wrath”


The Year of Reading Dangerously

2004 is burning to the stub, and as the year’s final light flickers, the Literate Kitten ponders the future. Namely, next year.

One of our goals is to promote literature and literacy. To that end, we will commit to a Literary Goal for 2005. Something ambitious, of course: Books considered by general consensus to be great. Books that peer into the bottomless well of the human spirit and reflect back our souls. Books that quench the thirst of the reader in his relentless search for the fountain of selfhood. Oh, and the meaning of life. In other words, books read in entirety only by scholars and editors and mothers.

Thankfully, there is no dearth to such ne plus ultra of portentous prose.

The Literary Goal of the LitKit will be to read said work in its entirety and comment upon the proceedings (including bewilderment as well as enlightenment) throughout 2005. The hope is that by tackling such erudite works of literature the Literate Kitten will inspire other readers to set a literary goal as we light into the next annum, even if it is only to finish one book. Cover to cover. A good book. And, no: Books in which dialog appears in balloons floating from people’s mouths or have a title featuring letters of the alphabet (“A” is for Abscam) do not count as “good.” Being the bossy feline she is, LitKit will run a recommended reading list for you next week.

As for the Year of Reading Dangerously, here is the short list. We’ll come to some sort of decision as the bell tolls for 2004.

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

Homer, The Odyssey and the Iliad

J. W. von Goethe, Faust


Read 'n Rant

Check out this story in the New York Times:


Now, it’s astonishing to the LitKit that Bush was elected strictly because he’s likable (which is questionable unless you like men who are proud that they don't read and who can fish) and that people dislike the influences of Hollywood and popular culture on morals. Yet, isn’t voting for a president based on his personality versus his policy buying directly into the Hollywood culture? That is, you apply entertainment and advertising standards – what’s easy, what’s on the surface, what makes you feel good – to sound governance and long-term thinking? (The natural extension, of course, is to elect another former actor; this time, however, to elect one we have to change the Constitution. But all signs show that Arnold S. can rake in the popularity and protector chips just on his persona--this one manufactured straight out of LA--and nothing else.)

The gist of the poll then is that while Bush supporters think he’s a good chap, they don’t particularly like his proposed policies. And, while they think he can be a good protector and leader and moral influence, they don’t want to radically change the laws. Doesn’t this sound suspiciously like a teenager who wants his father to provide a roof over his head and bail him out of trouble, yet doesn’t want to obey all the rules?

It’s just one more example of the adolescent mentality Americans seem to be mired in. If they want to talk on their cell phone or blast their stereos, they will and to hell with what others think. If they want to spend millions of dollars on violent or silly movies and games and sports instead of education, then they will—and if foreign citizens get our jobs and go to our colleges, well, that’s a bummer and somebody should do something, like bomb the hell out of a country. That also will work to get oil for our big gas-sucking cars. And if we want our kids to have the latest Beanie Baby or Barbie Doll or GI Joe or Nikes or Sketchers, then we have every right to it, and if we want to watch MTV and Monday Night Football and Sex and the City, well, dammit we can—and then we can elect a president who can make us feel like we’re doing something about morals instead of doing something ourselves.

And let’s just kick the ass of any country we even think has a terrorist or a bomb or anything that could interrupt my kid’s soccer game. Why do they hate us anyway? Because of Hollywood and violence and Taco Bells and all of the other crap we are foisting upon the world in the name of freedom and democracy? Consequences? We don't need no stinkin' consequences!

Wake up, America. If 9/11 wasn’t enough, what will be?


'Tis the season, unfortunately

Why does the holiday season strike terror in the hearts of millions of Americans? Why is it that our economy relies on Christmas purchases to survive and why do our own families insist on forgetting to pick us up at the airport? We are the most wealthy country in the world. We have the most stuff. And that’s not enough to make people treat their fellow man – even their own relatives – with consideration, kindness and love. Or at least to a decent cup of coffee.

The Literate Kitten would like to change all that, but there isn’t enough therapy in the world to make humans more humane, or to keep certain siblings from skipping out on the dishes another year. However, there is literature. By reading, we may share our griefs, vicariously live through another’s (perhaps happier) memories, or laugh at the absurdness of it all.

Since the holidays send us spinning back into the past at warp speed, why not re-enact a positive childhood memory and pick up an old classic that you loved as a child? Forget the humiliations of not having a New Year's date or the petty envy that your sister got the doll you asked Santa for. Just whip out a book and visit some old, old friends.

The LitKit wants to recommend a few titles that relate, some more and some less, to this time of year. We have memories of reading about a Christmas tree that wanted to be showy and grand and loved but was never bought and got tossed in the garbage until it was found by a mountain woman and used as a clothes-pole to hang laundry. We’d love to recommend it, but cannot find that title (there seems to be a new book called “The Littlest Christmas Tree,” and we don’t know if that’s the old classic or not). An absolute tearjerker we hope you’ll be able to find somewhere.

So, take a few moments this maddening season to cozy up by the fire or snuggle under the blankets with a nice fat book. And remember: The biggest thanks we can give this Turkey Day are to all writers courageous and hardworking enough to put their thoughts on paper. Here are some less-obvious (read: no “A Christmas Carol” or “Night Before Christmas”) LitKit picks for ringing in the holiday season with prose and prosody:

Louisa May Alcott: “Little Women” (an oldie but goodie)
Truman Capote: “The Thanksgiving Visitor” and “One Christmas” (memoirs)
Adam Gopnik: “From Paris to the Moon” (essays, including a hilarious one about trying to buy Christmas tree lights in Paris)
Earl Hamner: “The Homecoming” (why don’t they ever show the original TV special, the one with Patricia Neal?)
Frances Hodgson Burnett: “A Little Princess” (the Shirley Temple movie is good, too)
Jay McInerney: “Model Behavior” (LitKit hasn’t read personally but hears there’s an unforgettable Thanksgiving dinner scene included)
David Sedaris: “Holidays on Ice” (wicked funny essays/memoirs)
Johanna Spyri: “Heidi” (still works for adults—and the Shirley Temple movie is good here, too)
Dylan Thomas: “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” (a beautiful audio reading by Thomas himself is available on CD)


More on blogs

The blog revolution?


(I promised a short entry and here it is.)

Bloggedy-blog blog

It is hard to be a splog these days. (Really a blog but we’re affected by marketing.)

There are already so many blog identities to assume.

There’s the bitchy, funny blog. Which is really hard to do, we might add. (http://www.wonkette.com/, http://patriotboy.blogspot.com)

And the self-promoting blog (which has the flexibility of being dirty and pointless, but not always.) (http://mindlessmandrivel.blogspot.com/, http://weblog.herald.com/column/davebarry/, http://www.margaretcho.com/blog/blog.htm)

Political blah-gs. (http://www.andrewsullivan.com/, www.scrappleface.com, http://www.truthout.org/, www.dailykos.com)

Driveling, overly personal bordering on exhibitionistic and pathetic blogs. http://www.sigridswritings.blogspot.com/, http://robine.weblogs.us/, http://potterhands.com/potterhands.com_non_ssl/chetteblog/

And, the solid, dependable, everybody-loves-information blogs. (http://www.gawker.com/, http://www.sfist.com/)

And the best of most worlds, in the Lit Kit’s opinion: http://www.bookslut.com/.

And, ugh, are readers having to sit through egregious advertising just to get to this site?

What’s a Literate Kitten to do? She wants to be a Superhero type in a black velvet cape and rhinestone-encrusted cat’s eyeglasses and maybe some really kick-ass black leather boots. She wants to flick her tail at the injustices of the world and claw the eyes out of right-wing hypocrites who cheat on their spouses and pick their teeth with matchbooks. She wants to use her superpowers to raise the bar on education – that means bringing back sentence diagramming and uniforms – and make it available to everyone, everywhere. Especially those living in a democracy (okay, we know it’s a Republic but we’re taking literary license, bla, bla, bla).

The Lit Kit admits this is a staggeringly ambitious agenda, fraught with peril and extremely high in calories. But, fortunately, she can make claims like that because no one is reading her splog as of yet. Except a few friends with too much time on their hands (get back to work! You know who you are). Her mother doesn’t even read this.

Perhaps we are already an overblogged culture. Perhaps there are too many people with too much technology and too vapid of a viewpoint.

Or, perhaps instead of viewing the Literate Kitten as just one more monologist looking for her 15 minutes of fame, we can frame it as one more lone voice in the wilderness raised in protest, joining the other voices to raise awareness, promote community and propagate ideas.

Then again, maybe we should really get to work on that novel.


The next four years

The United States is a country divided between two ideologies of how a democracy should be run. One side holds that democracy (yes, America is a Republic, but we’re taking literary license here) should protect and promote the individual’s right to pursue happiness, with the government an enforcer of basic tenets and laws, with as little interference in the free market as possible. The other side holds that democracy should promote equal rights and freedoms for all, with the government serving as a tool for social justice.

Both positions are valid. The “democracy for the greater good” held sway from the Depression through the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties. Since the Reagan era of deregulation right through to George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” the country has veered farther to a “democracy for individual rights.”

In the hands of the late-twentieth-century GOP, this brand of democracy has transmogrified into “democracy for the rights of certain individuals.” Namely, those who accumulate or inherit wealth. Namely, those who accumulate wealth at the expense of the collective good. Namely, those who inherit wealth and don’t give a damned thing back.

Yet, many of George W. Bush’s supporters would say they voted for a moral imperative they believe he represents: less government, in the form of less taxation primarily and no interference in health care, and less interference in “individual” freedoms such as the right to bear arms; more government regulation against individual rights deemed as immoral for a government to uphold—namely, abortion and gay marriage; and government aggression against terrorism or what the Bush Administration defines as terrorism.

What has confused those who voted against Bush is how his supporters can reconcile the hypocrisy of their beliefs. Or how they can reconcile what they voted for with what they’re getting.

For starters, “less taxation” translates into a few hundred or thousand dollars to 98 percent of those paying taxes—and translates into a few hundred thousand for the 1 or 2 percent of the wealthiest taxpayers. The ethics are questionable, which is why one thinks the self-proclaimed moralists would protest. Their lack of ire on this issue leads to the conclusion that Bush supporters (even under prosperous ones) believe that “less taxation” is more critical to the nation’s welfare than “fair taxation.”

No interference in health care means that individuals bear the burden of health care costs—costs which for the most part will continue to grow unabated as pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers and insurance companies enjoy unregulated spending and investment. The individual’s choice will be to either find and hang onto a job offering adequate benefits (as long as there is one) or save pre-taxed dollars from an income that is shrinking (at best, stagnant) and saddled with debt. Presumably, Bush voters earn enough to take out a couple of hundred a month out of their paycheck (and afford the deductible) and have the time to price-shop appendectomies and the optometry skills to figure out which eye doctors are better for Mindy’s astigmatism. Americans sure like to spend time being consumers. Guess for Bush supporters, the individual’s freedom to shop—even if it means boning up on anatomy, disease and treatments—beats guaranteed healthcare for all.

Which takes us to the issues of “more government in issues deemed morally wrong by some parts of the votership.” For lack of a more succinct summary. Now, Bush supporters will say, the shoe is on the other foot. Those who supported free choice can now be in equal dismay about a government that restricts it, as much as those against abortion and gay marriage were when the government kept its mitts out of it. Not that gay marriage was ever even an issue—but with the pre-emptive strike policy working so well in Iraq, why not apply it at home?

Yes, we can now look forward to the Bush Administration anticipating the issues of Americans (especially those investing in Wall Street or born to wealthy families or trying to add another 50 franchises in the Pacific Northwest) and pass pre-emptive laws to address them. Not enough morality? How about mandating Bible study? Too much anti-American sentiment? Why not ban criticism under the guise of Homeland Security? Not enough volunteers for the war on terrorism? How about forcing them to join?

This probably isn’t the time or place to debate the wisdom of the Bush Administration’s policies on terrorism. It seems that more people voted to keep the war president with his war—even if the reasons he went to war are, by everyone’s standards except GWB’s, dubious. There isn’t a historical precedent for war presidents of unpopular wars being re-elected, so it’s hard to say what will happen. Except if you count Lincoln.

Some things the Bush value-brigade won’t see: regulation of the porn industry (or free porn, for that matter); less sex, vulgarity or violence in the media (heck, the President’s own daughters couldn’t even dress properly for his acceptance speech); prohibition; or outlawing tobacco or gambling. Are these vices any less “immoral” than others? Naw. They do rake in a lot of bucks, though, and restricting someone’s ability to make money—well, that’s not what values are all about, for Pete’s sake.

You won’t see philanthropy making a comeback. No Kenneth Lay turning into Robin Hood. No opening of The Halliburton Public Library or The Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum.

You also won’t see a decline in: drug use, pre- or extramarital sex, or divorce. Do these issues undermine the moral fiber of individuals less than others? Nope—at least, no red-blooded red-state voter would admit it. Why, then, aren’t the moralists crying out against these ills? Could it be that a number of born-again Christians and right-wing talk show hosts indulge in these activities and probably want to continue to exercise their rights and freedoms along these lines?

What would you call this? Selective morality? Family values? A moral imperative? You could call it that. But it’s still hypocrisy. And it’s still wrong.

The other thing, sadly, none of us will see burgeoning under the righteous banner of the Bush Administration. Politeness. Civility. Generosity of spirit. Joy. Beneficence. Humility. These are values that seem to be undervalued by all American citizens.



The Literate Kitten regrets using the Renaissance root form of lumpenproletariat (as in "Ye Olde Lumpenproletariate") in a previous post.

Actually, the LitKit was suffering from the new malady known as "posthaste" (n) - anxiety disorder stemming from desire to post a message on an online forum or weblog. Causes jittery fingers, typically leading to typographical or grammatical errors.

Please forgive LitKit for this and probable future outbreaks of posthaste. We hope you don't hold it against her and start inventing nasty monikers like Illegit Kit.


When hip was hip

Hip may not be so hip. The word was first used in 1904. Other word birthdays Lit Kit finds particularly appropos:
pissed off (1943), snafu (1941), Big Brother (1949), ceasefire (1918), lumpenproletariat (1924) , realpolitik (1908).

For the whole bagel (1932), see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3755482.stm

Living in a post-11/2 world - from m

Dear hearts! Thank you for the words of consolation. As evidenced yesterday, it is unfortunate to learn that America has, in fact, lost her mind. What appeared to symptomatic has now revealed itself to be a full-blown case of madness.

During the day yesterday, radio announcers said, "You can bet that all those people standing out in the weather for hours on end just to cast a ballot are not doing so to tell W 'you're doing a great job.'". . the fact is, that's exactly what they were doing.

When a political machine can energize the entire central part of the nation with a campaign that offers them absolutely nothing - I mean zero - and still capture their vote, it is proof that the flawed education system in America was created solely to serve that purpose - Americans are no longer capable of reasoning, thinking or decision-making.

And, for gawd's sake, this time he won the popular vote too. . .that means that one out of every two Americans you might encounter heartily encourage deceit, thievery, pre-emptive war, destruction of the environment, dissolution of healthcare and the end of social security for our elders.

Is it all a trade for the measly $300 tax rebate they received?. . .is that all it takes to make America happy?. . .Had the world's terrorists only known, rather than killing 3000 people, they could have just given $300 to each American and taken over the country. . .pity.

So what is the climate for ex-pats in GB?. . .I'm serious. . .considering the new senator from South Carolina won on the platform that gays and single mothers should be barred from teaching in schools. . .and that the new senator from Oklahoma was accused of sterilizing patients without their knowledge and believes Drs. who perform abortions should be given the death penalty - obviously he does not recognize the irony of that position.

I'm, therefore, convinced that E, me, our other gay friends and probably quite a few sympathizers, will soon be rounded up and placed in some, rather large, fenced-in portion of Idaho, Utah, Arizona or New Mexico. . . .for "our own protection.". . .no doubt some of those procedures utilized in the Iraqi prisons will be employed to help us find our true selves. . .think hoods, batteries, testicle clamps, etc.

One of the most important exit poll issues for Americans was "moral leadership". . .and they chose the man who believes he has been sent by God to lead the people of America and, dare I say it, the world. . .some might call that a bit blasphemous, but not in America. Here, it means you can send over 1000 American boys and girls to their deaths on the strength of a lie . . oh, and God also ordered the deaths of a multitude of men, women and children in the country unjustly occupied. That must have been the work of God because our leader, in conversations with another hackneyed religious leader, insisted there would be no casualties in the Iraq occupation. . .?

Of course, we can also now look forward to having airliners raining down on us in the very near future, thanks to our choice of leaders. No doubt an all-out assault is the offing. I ordered my potassium iodide pills even before the election. . .I guess my confidence in the American people just wasn't that high. We'll stay away from crowds and tall buildings, fly as little as possible, never take a train, only drink bottled water. And we'll not travel to foreign countries for at least four years because they now presume we are ALL dangerous idiots . . .there was an excuse the first time - he stole an election he didn't win, but this time. . .well, this time, he won.

But then as the old saying goes, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well, you know, you. . .I don't. . .you. . .ummm, I don't like to be fooled.. . ah-hem."


Introducing The Literate Kitten

What is The Literate Kitten? More than a blog – perhaps a splog better describes it. A splendiforous smorgasbordial smattering of ideas to promote literature, literacy and all things literary. A way writers and readers can come together to foster a community for the collective good.

Remember when people did things like that?

A long time ago. In a galaxy far, far away.

Hey, this is new for me, too. Trying to change the world. And what are my credentials? Nothing special. I’m a writer. An occasional adult ed teacher. Well educated (even if I didn’t attend a Seven Sisters school). I’m also a person who has structured her life as a Frank Stella painting. I am single, childless and mortgage-free. Presently, also car payment-free. I have assiduously avoided any activities that smacked of the words “joining,” “membership,” or “team.” I have invested far more time in education, writing, reading and watching movies (and more television than I care to admit, even to myself) than I have in volunteering.

Forty-four blissful years of individual pursuit of happiness, minimalist style.

I'm the last person I'd expect to start a splog.

Yet, this week has woken me up to the fact that every person has a stake in the collective good and must contribute. Even someone like me. Someone without kids or spouse or even a significant other. Someone without property or stock portfolios or even a big-screen TV. Whether or not I want to. Whether or not I know what the hell I’m doing. (I don’t.)

Is this splog a case of having nothing to say and the means to say it? God knows, I pray that isn’t the case. I only know that I need to do something, that doing something is far better than doing nothing, and that doing writing is my first step along any yellow-brick road.

I need your help. Join The Literate Kitten in the quest for a literate and literary world. Bring ideas to the table. Strike a blow for social justice. Boldly go where no man has gone before. Or just send a good chili recipe.

I, for my part, will write (shorter entries, I promise), sweat (not a pretty sight, especially when I’m in my jammies), curse (damn straight!), cajole (not a highly developed skill, I admit) and otherwise sprinkle enlightenment glitter throughout etherdom.

Look for The Literate Kitten to bring you: The Muse Muses (cart blanche contributions from writers, new and established), Read ‘n Rant (lit crit and social commentary), Kitty Litter-ature (literary panoply), Meow! (channeling our cattiness in a good way), Writing is Hell (‘nuff said), and Altruism for All (ways to promote literacy). Plus other stellar stuff The Literate Kitten fancies.

Let’s profit from this election’s lesson:
“It isn’t enough to be against something – you have to be for something, too.”

And live this quote from Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass):
"Answer that you are here---that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."

Bare your claws and sound the Lit Kit’s barbaric yawp! RRREEeeerrrr!