Kitten in a Trashcan + Announcing Daily Digest

First, the kitten in the trashcan, because you always lead with the “A” material:

Why is the kitten in the trashcan? IT KNOWS WHY.

(And also, because kittens are kitten-y, and Smudge is more kitten-y than most, and jumping heedlessly into trashcans is just a thing kittens do.)

Second, for the non-holiday weekdays of September, I’m going to trying something that’s actually old here at Whatever. When I started the site, I would write a single daily “digest”-style column, covering (more or less) three to five topics and dedicating (more or less) two or three paragraphs to each, separated by asterisk breaks. It was a convenient way to organize things because I could cover a number of topics, but devote only the amount of space to them I thought was interesting and relevant.

I’m going to give this format another try through this month, for a couple of reasons. One, because at the 20th anniversary of Whatever, I think it’ll be fun to go a little retro for September, and two, because I think a digest-like column might actually fit my mind space these days more than discrete, longer pieces. Because of paid work and other factors, there are some subjects (like politics, but not only politics) that I’ve been avoiding here recently, and this format could give me an easier entree into them than needing to compose a longer piece on the topics.

These pieces will go alongside the Whatever 20/20 pieces and the several Big Idea pieces that will be up this month, so if all goes to plan there should be a fair amount of writing here in the month. And after September — well, let’s see how things go. If the digest format works for me, I’ll continue with it, alongside other things.

The point is, for me, I like writing here, and want to find ways to keep it interesting for me, and for you, while still keeping up all the other writing commitments that I have these days. Let’s see how this idea does for us all, shall we?

21 Comments on “Kitten in a Trashcan + Announcing Daily Digest”

  1. I’m sorry, but I didn’t read the rest of the blog after the kitten in the trash can pic. You were saying something? :)


    Oh, wait, did you have thinky bits, too? So very sorry, all I saw was the “A” material.

    Well, no, that’s not true. After I squeed about Smudge, called the spouse over to see the photo and squeed some more, then I read the rest of the post. And I went “sqeeee” again, because one of my favorite writers is going to provide more commentary here than I’ve seen in a while, and that just pleases me immensely.

    I completely realize that it’s not all about me – your house, your rules – but I have to admit that I feel just a bit left out when you focus more of your communications on platforms that I do not inhabit and less on the blog. I really appreciate your willingness to put a few more words out on Whatever, where non-twitterers and non-face-bookers can enjoy them as well. Whether it turns out to be a short-term thing for the anniversary month or a long-term change, either way, I appreciate it.

    So thank you for the Smudge photo, and thank you also for giving me plenty to look forward to in September. (You’ve already got October covered with the next book release.)

  3. Trashcan!? I thought it was The Kitten Channel on an old CRT TV. The Smudge Show perhaps. Or the Time Tunnel episode where a giant Smudge rearranges the future based on your novels.

  4. It’s been a bad summer. So bad that I’ve reached the point where you will all be almost as delighted as I was to discover that I did not, in fact, have resistant TB, so the months in hospital with the broken ribs, pneumonia, and ongoing treatment with the last resort antibiotics for the multi resistant pathogen I did have looked sort of good by comparison.

    Of course, being grateful for false positives in the lab has taken up yet more time, so I didn’t know that Smudge existed. On the other hand, I can really, really relate to being in the trashcan – major empathy – so I’d like to thank you in the sure and certain knowledge that you hastily removed Smudge from said trashcan. And I’m really delighted to welcome Smudge, albeit apologetic for my delay in doing so. It’s great to be back.

  5. Hope Griffin Diaz – North Carolina – So, to borrow from a popular shirt, I love Jesus but I cuss a little. Well, a lot. In fact, I just don't believe Jesus really gives a shit about the word fuck. He does care if you say f you or go f yourself. But a general adjective? Nah. I am married to the love of my life, Louie (aka Luis) and have an adult child, Christy. My mum, Nancy, is still with us and active in our lives. I love to read, I fancy myself an amateur gardener, I am owned by a large black part machine coon cat named Samwise aka #SamSam and a Border Collie/Australian Cattle dog mix named Daisy. I knit. I craft. I sew. These are at my leisure and are hobbies. I don't take commissions nor do I do alterations. I'm an aspiring human being. I battle several mental illnesses including depression, major panic disorder, agoraphobia, germaphobia, claustrophobia, and some other assorted illnesses. I also have fibromyalgia and have had numerous traumatic brain injuries (into the double digits now). I am not able to drive more than a few miles at night. I don't know where this blog is going ... if anywhere.

    I once threw my keys in the empty trash can. While I identify as felinesapient, I was drunk at the time.

  6. The Bobs had a song called “Boy Around the Corner” whose title phrase scans nicely to “Kitten in the Trashcan.” That’s the song that I think of when my mind demands a song for this.

  7. It does look like cat TV, the way the trashcan frames him! (And that’s a very clean trashcan too.) Looking forward to the daily digests.

  8. I like the digest format. If you’ve got an interesting short thought, it makes sense to allow it to only take up as much space as it needs.

  9. If I was feeling cleverer this morning I’d try to come up with some lyrics to the tune of
    ‘Canary in a Coal Mine,” but I’m not so you’re spared that.

  10. Hah! My hind-brain kicked the English Beat’s “Mirror in the Bathroom” up as a match for Kitten in the trashcan and now I’m earwormed … only with alternate lyrics … Gahhhh!

  11. uleaguehub: Even if they don’t fit. I have fond memories of a cat who loved sitting in things, even if they were smaller than he was. I have pictures of him lounging in a basket with one big leg spilling over onto the table. He just seemed to pretend that the leg didn’t exist.

    Stevie: I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having such a bad time. Months in hospital, ugh! I hope your health trend is upward now. Welcome back.

    JS: Looking forward to the digest.

  12. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me

    Someone with more time on their hands needs to write the lyrics of “Kitten In A Trashcan” to the tune of Mirror In The Bathroom” by English Beat. STAT!!!

  13. “Kitten In a Trashcan” also scans well to Devo’s “Workin’ In the Coalmine”.

    Kitten in a trashcan
    goin’ meow meow
    Kitten in a trashcan
    Whoops! I fits I sits now…

  14. Ah, youth — throwing themselves away on a whim…but dang, he’s cute. The Whatever is really fabulous when you’re not frantic busy with writing books, travel, all that whatever else you do. Good to see you having fun with it, and we are, too!

    Stevie — good bloody grief, congratulations on surviving all that; hope you’re well and truly out the other side of it.

  15. Kitten antics like Smudge’s is why we have a kitchen trash can with a locking lid. In our case because our Nova kept trying to climb into our trash can to get at scraps of food. Especially discarded bits of salmon.

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