The memory of cats

This one is from Cat Rambo’s writing games, as promised. The prompt is this image.


It began with Muffin. Muffin’s owner buried him in the far corner of the old churchyard. That was where the poor people used to be buried, said Mrs Green in the Post Office, but cats don’t mind whether you have money, so that was OK.

Then it was Thistle’s turn to go. Her owner had seen Muffin’s lovely cat-shaped wooden headstone, and she ordered one from Jack, who sometimes helped out behind the bar and sometimes sat at their bivvy in the woods, carving.

And then Jack’s semi-feral tabby, Kitty, went, and she had to have a marker…

And before long there was a whole cat graveyard there in the shady corner by the church.

Even when the church was sold off and turned into a glamorous new home by a local writer, the headstones continued to appear.

Archie and Pippin, Sasha and Milly, Friday and Einstein.

And in the late afternoon, when the sun slanted in under the yew trees, the live cats came there too, lazing or washing, chatting to the ghosts of cats long gone and cats yet to come, or those from as far away as the other end of the village.

A tiny ocean

As I explained in my previous post, I’m going to be posting some writings produced from prompts from Cat Rambo’s weekly writing games.

Why not try the prompt yourself before reading further? Or you can join Cat’s Patreon from just $2 a month to write live with the group!


Prompt: A tiny ocean is in a Turkish garden. A woman writes a notebook about it.

Writing time: 10 minutes

Wooden bowl with resin ocean decoration

It makes me wonder how many of these things there are, around the world. If it hadn’t been for the owner’s unusually observant nature, this would too could have just slipped by, unnoticed.

You often hear of sinkholes, and they’re always measured in units of largeness. Cubic metres, or the width of the White House or the length of an American football pitch.

But this… this tiny ocean contains, as far as my instruments can determine, all the things you’d expect to find in a normal-sized ocean – fish, islands, coral reefs, whales, icebergs, even… but all microscopically tiny.

“It leads to some interesting questions, does it not?” says Professor Yavuz, shoving his hands deep into his pockets as he paces back and forth across the lawn.

I lean back in the flimsy folding chair and rubbing my aching neck.

“It does indeed. I’ve just discovered a shipwreck.”


[In case you’re wondering, that gorgeous bowl is by Ilka Abbé, price 75€.]

More writing prompt pieces to follow!

Anyone who knows anything about modern SF will have heard of Cat Rambo, the author and former President of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. What most people don’t know – indeed I didn’t until I signed up as a Patreon – is that Cat has an incredibly lively, supportive, inspiring Patreon community. There are discussions of all things writing and beyond, plus some amazing interactive sessions every week.

One of these – and you get access to this even if you’re only a Tier 1 Patreon like me, which I think is phenomenal – is a weekly writing games session. This takes the form of a Zoom session at which Cat sets three prompts, two with a 10-minute writing time and one with a 15-minute limit. Then anyone who wants to can read out what they’ve written.

As always with these things, it’s absolutely fascinating to hear what everyone produces from a single prompt. It’s also a really good way to realise that it’s not at all easy to bring your story to a satisfactory end in such a short time.

I won’t be able to make the session every week, but with three prompts a time I’ve already come up with the seeds of a couple of stories that please me and I’m keen to continue the habit of weaving something from (apparently) nothing. So watch this space!