I am a visual person. My memory is like a slide show rather than a spread sheet. Now that I’m back from the Cat Writers’ Association conference/ BlogPaws in Myrtle Beach, my mind is spinning with images. From the animal attendees to the sponsors to the dinners and awards, from promotion to connection to saving the world, the conference was an inspiration to me in ways I haven’t even begun to plumb.
Among the exciting and praiseworthy assortment, a few special pictures stand out, not because they were the best or the greatest, but because they spoke to me on a personal level. Maybe they will speak to you too.
Slide 1: Sophie the cerebellar hyperplasia cat and star of the Kitty Cat Chronicles Blogsite. I immediately picked Sophie out of the crowd by her distinctive wobble. Having fostered a CH cat, I went to speak with her dad about her condition and what it meant for an adventure cat such as she. The conversation entailed me fast-stepping around the lobby as dad was propelled into every corner by a curious Sophie. She certainly doesn’t know she is disabled! Cats never do. They just go on with what they have. How much can we frail and whiney humans learn from cats?
Slide 2: A collage of faces, strangers who became friends. The appearances were remarkably divergent but they all had one thing in common: an almost spiritual glow of compassion, vision, and hope. Who doesn’t need a little of that in today’s world? It comes from the absolutely unshakable love for an animal, be it cat, dog, ferret, giraffe, or ??? It is a love and respect for all animals, all life. This care and concern is amplified by the sheer number of like-minded others, and its result is a determined pledge for a better world.
Slide 3: A close-up of a big silver disc with a cat on it, the Muse award for my blogposts, “Life Stages”. I was so honored to have won this award for my writing. I was not alone. There were many winners among both the CWA and BlogPaws. But though everyone loves to win, loves for their hard work to be publicly acknowledged, here, it’s the work itself that’s important. Whether news articles about animal rescue and relief, blogs on breakthroughs in health and behavior, or a good cat mystery book to curl up with by the fire and chill, our work speaks for us, defines us. In that, we are all winners, all doing our part.
Many more pictures come to mind: nice people, good dinners, a comfy hotel room (one of my guilty pleasures). There was an ahhhh feeling of safety within the group, as if we all had each other’s backs, and of course, the backs of the animals. There was also a sense of equality, where the famous and the not-so-famous, the animal champions and the people who can only volunteer once a month at a shelter, those from different places and economic backgrounds, politics and beliefs, were all welcome together, joined by a singular cause: love.