What’s in a URL? Or, the story of how this blog got its name

Pup all prettied up
Pup, looking thoughtful on a sunny day.

I am incredibly lazy. Instead of actually writing this story, I’m going to reuse an old narrative essay about this topic. It’s a bit stilted, since I was (or am?) still figuring out how to merge personality with academic writing. With that in mind, I tried to make it more bloggable. Is that a word? No? Well, now it is.

***

       My first story was terrible. Using increasingly elaborate notebooks covered with lighthouses and bees, I carefully composed a narrative involving princesses, stilted vocabulary, and talking horses. After roughly five years of this silliness, my original story had fallen into a sad state of neglect. Seeking distractions, I was lurking on the Amazon Romance Forum, as I often did, when a poster asked what sort of romance heroes and heroines our pets would make. I considered this question deeply. I considered it so deeply, in fact, that I wrote a novel about it. Pup, my little pit bull heeler mix, I made my heroine, and Midnight, my black cat with an ego the size of Alaska, was the hero. With those characters, I wrote over a thousand pages of drafts and tidbits. I learned something about composition from my original story, but my pets were the ones who really inspired my writing.

Pup came to us on a cold, rainy day during that indefinable time between autumn and winter. My mother found her shivering on the back porch, her dirty fur sticking up like a miniature porcupine’s quills. How she had wormed her way through the fence, we didn’t know. We also didn’t know how she wormed her way into our lives. She was a happy creature, with sharp little teeth that cut my skin when she played too rough. My dad thought we could use a guard dog, and none of us objected to a puppy, even if said puppy played so fiercely that we could lift the tug of war rope and her together off the ground. Eventually, she turned into a knee-high, streamlined beauty, with liquid hazel eyes, a brindle coat, and addictions to swimming and fetching.

Midnight, on the other hand, was nearly a gentleman and not at all rough and tumble. With a black-red coat and eyes of purest jade, he came to us an innocent, playful kitten and grew into a cunning devil so charming we couldn’t help but tolerate his chronic food-stealing. However, he atoned for his sins by cuddliness and warmth; I woke up with a face full of fur and a stuffy nose often. In addition to cuddling and stealing, Midnight liked demanding attention and watching us petty humans from his perch on the kitchen cabinets. He also frequently got stuck on the roof.

Because Midnight stole so cleverly and Pup fought so well, I decided they could only be pirates. Using their personalities as my inspiration, I created human characters named Amanda Scrivener and Naphtali Harris. Since Pup delighted in following rules and receiving rewards for good behavior, Amanda was a true lady with reforming zeal, while Naphtali was a carefree rogue with…well, an ego the size of Alaska. The more I observed, the more I learned about them. Midnight, I found, was not as confident as I had first assumed—in fact, he showed insecurity, especially around other tomcats—but he fought ferociously when he had the advantage. I learned that Pup followed the rules far less than I had originally assumed, especially when she stole a sandwich from Dad. As I realized these things about them, my characters changed on paper too. Amanda became rougher and more prone to mockery; Naphtali became more self-effacing and ruthless.

When hammering on the keyboard didn’t occupy me, I went for long walks with Pup, with Midnight sometimes trailing behind—a black speck on a dusty road. It was summer then, and when the cars passed us by, dust clogged our throats and coated on our skin. Nevertheless, Pup kept swaggering in the way that only pit bulls can, moving her hips from side to side with not a care in the world. I always walk like her now.

In the end, Midnight ran away or got picked up by people who wanted his little green eyes for their own, and I’m no longer as close to my dog. Nevertheless, those characters still haunt me, and I couldn’t get rid of them even if I tried. The more I learned about my pets, the more I learned about my characters. Eventually, they no longer influenced the story. Naphtali and Amanda began to take on lives of their own, moving away from their original templates, but without Pup and Midnight, I could never have told the stories I do now.

***

And there you have it, the story behind my blog. Pirate kitties are the foundation of my non-existent writing career. I should note that Pup only got a name that stupid because my dad insisted on it. I also have no idea why I admitted to surfing the Amazon Romance Forum to my English teacher.

I’ve never considered that novel a success, but I did manage to craft a little short story out of it that I consider finished. More on that later.

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13 thoughts on “What’s in a URL? Or, the story of how this blog got its name

  1. “Nevertheless, those characters still haunt me, and I couldn’t get rid of them even if I tried”
    Same here hehe I think the original characters that we have written, years ago, are the ones that are rooted very deeply in our minds.

    I love that your pets, their appearances and personalities were your inspirations in making your own original characters ^^
    And the facts that you observed every detail in their behaviors and your adaptation of those details into your characters’ developments.
    After reading this, I feel like I have to pick my favorite, and that’ll be Midnight hehe although his ego is as big as Alaska 😛

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    1. Thank you so much for reading!

      I feel the same way. Even though I’ve mostly moved on from that story, they’re still with me. Sometimes I find myself going back to them. After I edit my short story, I’ll post it.

      You know what, Midnight is my favorite too. I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for him, even though he was incredibly selfish, just like all cats are.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our original characters, the very first ones that we made, are what we treasure very dearly, aren’t they? They are the traces we’ve created, the marks of our past and how we were in the past. In a way, maybe indirectly, they made us who we are ^^

        Well maybe that’s why some people want to be cats, because they can be like lying on the floor all day, sleeping wherever they want, stealing foods, scratching furnitures all they want, but people still love them.
        It’s sad to hear that you lost Midnight. How is Pup by the way?

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      2. I do consider them my first characters, but they actually weren’t. THAT dubious honor goes to my horrible, horrible fantasy novel that I wrote when I was nine. Shudder. I do remember the world from that novel, though.

        I kind of want to be a cat too. They have so much flair and get away with everything, like you said.
        Pup is doing well! She actually went completely lame a year ago, and the vet said she’d probably never walk again, but a month later, she started running. Dogs are amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well haha maybe, it was supposed to be “the first characters that we created during our teenage years, cause those years are our most important years, where information and knowledge are absorbed and rooted and used efficiently before adulthood.”
        I’m amazed that you’ve already started creating a fictional world since nine, however simple it may look. That may prove your super creativity 😉

        Glad to hear that! Dogs are indeed amazing, and they can be companions to humans, which is also amazing! 🙂

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      4. Teenage development is SO important. Which is too bad, because that’s when we’re at our stupidest. 🙂
        Yeah, I completely agree. Those characters have also been a big influence on my later novels too, I think.

        It was kind of stupid, but I was able to reuse it for the current novel I’m working on now, so maybe it was worth something even then. Thanks, you’re too kind.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Stupidest and needest for guidance 🙂
        I wish you the best for the progress of your novels! ^^
        I feel like… you’re pretty good in character developing, which is a quite important key in creating a series of stories. The way you explore the characters’ ‘colors’ and how you change them like naturally, I think. I may never read your novels but I hope I’m right 😉

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      6. Thank you, I hope inspiration strikes you too.

        That’s funny you should say that, because I consider characters the most important of a story. Without characters, there is no plot. I’m not sure how good I am at characterization, but it is the thing I spend the most time on. What do you think is the most important part of a story?

        I hope you read my novels too! If I work really hard, I can finish my current project this year.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Thank you ^^

        I consider two things that are equally the most important of a story. It’s true, without characters, there is no plot. But without plot, only characters, there is no story. They kind of like work in a harmony to complete a unity. Also, setting is also important, but probably not the most important.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay first, I LOVE your blog name, Pirates and Kittens? Like isn’t that the best of both worlds? And second, that is so cool :O being inspired by your pets like that, good idea for inspiration. ^_^ I like their names by the way, Midnight and Pup 🙂

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      1. Well we all start from somewhere 🙂 my stories are poorly written but we can only get better from there with practice. That’s good though! Learning and being proud of your stories :)! I won’t haha and don’t you be a stranger either!

        Liked by 1 person

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