The Work Sofa

The Work Sofa + Cat

I’m still in a bit of a posting slump here. I had a restful, quiet weekend, but the nuisance of chronic fatigue is that it does love to get hold of viruses and then refuse to let them go. Most of the time now I feel much better, but give me the common cold and suddenly I’m weary and headachy, slow and dull-witted. Anyhow, I’ve been reading some good books that I’ll tell you about when I’m more in the mood. For the time being, here’s a picture of the sofa I work on, barricaded in on either side with reference tomes. I find it very snug. As you can see, I also have company. Hilly is very much my cat; she runs away from most people, most of the time, but once I’ve sat down she will come and pester me for attention, which her general behaviour forecloses meaning she builds up quite a deficit. Yes, she has attention deficit disorder in an entirely different sense of the term. Or to put it another way, she didn’t invent neediness, she just perfected it. I rarely get five minutes to myself before she has leapt up and is headbutting my elbow, a favourite way of demanding some affection, and one which seems particularly attractive to her when I have a cup of tea in my hand.  Still, eventually we make up on some of her backlog of needs and then she will settle down and sleep stretched out against my thigh in a way that would have pleased Colette immensely. Colette was a great believer in the power of sleeping animals to infuse calm and creativity into the writer. She doesn’t mention that it’s also a great way to get a dead leg.

Research has slowed at the moment as I’m picking away at rewrites, a process I once read described as like cleaning a tiled cellar floor with a toothbrush. But shortly I’ll be returning to my work on dreams. I read an excellent chapter by Winnicott the other day in which he differentiated fantasies from dreams by saying that the former take individuals away from their lives, leading them down paths of dissociation into isolated clearings of wishes and fears, whilst the latter are essentially integrative in character, attempting to knead the events and emotions of the day back into the morass of lived experience. I liked that.

Well, more soon once I’m feeling a bit livelier. I’m certainly enjoying some wonderful comfort reading, nothing to do with mothers whatsoever, which is making a very pleasant change for a while! I’ll review Simon van Booy’s The Secret Lives of People in Love, Clare Chambers’ The Editor’s Wife and Anthony Capella’s The Wedding Officer next time I’m here.

27 thoughts on “The Work Sofa

  1. How cozy! I hope you’re on that sofa now, or in bed, with nothing more to do than sleep and dream (and maybe a little reading)… Rest up. No one’s going anywhere while you’re doing just that. Much love, L

  2. That looks very cozy and I have a cat like that, though he favors other family members. I have two that sleep around me wherever I go, sleeping or writing or reading. Now, I have to say your cozy spot is interesting because there is no place to put your sleepy head if your are drowsy without hitting your head on a book and knocking them over which may actually be an excellent system if you are determined to stay awake.

  3. Colds do the same thing to my fibro! I live in fear of them, lol. Take care of yourself; most importantly, don’t beat yourself up over something you can’t control.

    Your sofa looks very inviting.😀 And I like that distinction between dreams and fantasies too; food for thought!

  4. That photo reminds me of my futon, where Muttboy allows me to share his space and do my work. I hope Hilly can make you feel better; I know a warm furry body next to me usually makes me feel at least a little better.

  5. I hope your’re feeling better today. Hilly has that look on her face that Lucy (my cat) has when I take her photo – that wide-eyed stare. Cats are such good company and comfort. Lucy has the same habit too of head-butting and wanting attention, especially if I have a cup of tea in my hand. Each day she tries to type with me or sits on the keyboard and she sits on my lap when I watch TV – I can’t cross my legs, she doesn’t like it.

    I’m looking forward to your reviews of the comfort reading.

  6. Aw, dear Bloglily – what a comfort you are! If only I could squeeze you onto the sofa too, my life would be complete. Writer Reading – this comment made me laugh! I know what you mean about being obliged to stay awake, but you know, I can easily move a few of those piles onto the floor when I need to! Eva – you too? I find that very reassuring, actually, although I would wish perfect health for you all the time if it were in my power. I do my best not to get too frustrated – depends on the day!🙂 Andi – thank you so much! My cat sends her best regards to you, too! Hobgoblin – I’ll bet Muttboy is a wonderful companion, on or off a sofa! Hilly is very sweet and I do love the way she tucks her little paws under her chin. There’s something about animals that makes them very soothing, I agree. Booksplease – I have a lovely image of your Lucy squirming her way onto your lap and your keyboard! They are determined to get to their favourite spots, aren’t they? And I think there are several of my comfort reads that you would enjoy.

  7. What a great cat. I bet she’s a source of real inspiration. Mine likes to get attention by sitting directly on the keyboard, or walking on it, typing randomly with her feet as she goes. Hope the cold goes away🙂

  8. What a cozy sofa. I could be happy there in a heartbeat. Hilly is a big girl. Or maybe my cats are small so Hilly only looks big. She is beautiful. I had to laugh about her headbutting your hand while you have hot tea in it. Dickens is the needy cat of my two and he does not take no for answer. He meows piteously, twines himself between my feet and resorts to biting me if I do not drop everything and cuddle him immediately. I hope your cold goes away soon and your energy returns. In the meantime, enjoy the comfort reading.

  9. I do hope you will very soon be fully recovered and that you will pamper yourself in the meantime. I too have a cat with a backlog of neediness. I pet, pet, pet and scratch, scratch, scratch and she still comes back for more. And she has this annoying habit of showing her gratitude by aiming her backside in the direction of your face. I am in complete agreement with Colette on the calming power of sleeping animals. I guess you’re supposed to try to get in synch with their breathing patterns when you’re stressed. And in the case of cats, you’re to put your hand on their purring mechanism until it feels like you are ‘one with it’ (as if your hand is doing the purring). I’ve done this. It works. A side note: after the picture of your immaculately ordered new bookshelves, I am both surprised and glad to see that a bit of disarray is okay by you.:) Best wishes for much healthier days! TJ

  10. Your sofa looks nice and comfy (if it wasn’t Hilly would probably not deign to sit there–cats know all the best spots in a house to recline!), and Hilly looks like a sweet companion. I especially love the stacks of books. Isn’t it comforting to have stacks of books close by. I hope you’re able to shake off your cold soon! And I can’t wait to hear about the Clare Chambers book!

  11. Telling you to look after yourself is pointless. You know as well as I do how easy it is to overdo things and how difficult it is not power on too far ahead as you’re beginning to feel better. I’ll send you some suggestions for children’s books tomorrow that you might find both useful and relaxing.

  12. Love the look of that literate cat! I know you think it’s your sofa, but in my experience of cats really you’re just being allowed to have that belief by the owner! Get well soon.

  13. Hope you’re feeling much better soon. In the meantime, hooray for the wonderful, comfy-looking sofa and for Hilly, who looks and sounds marvelous to me (just what a cat should be, “different-sort-of-ADD” and all). And, of course, looking forward to your book reviews, as always (despite the damage they do to the TBR tome).

  14. Love the alternative definition of attention deficit disorder, and the comment about the soothing power of sleeping animals. The Winnicott also sounds very interesting. Happy comfort reading.

  15. Yaeli – my other cat, Harvey, is the typer of the pair! It’s amazing, isn’t it, how cats know exactly how to get your attention when they need it?🙂 Stefanie – there is always a place on my sofa for you, my friend. It’s not a very big sofa, however, so Hilly probably look disproportionately large!🙂 I laughed to read about Dickens and his little ways – cats are SO tenacious. You should see what her big brother does when he’s hungry; he’s a complete pain. TJ – I like the thought of making my hand one with the purring mechanism. I will give it a try. And I laughed at your comment about the disorder – I like a little creative mess about me when I’m thinking. But I write better with an empty desk. Oh and Hilly is fond of sticking her backside up in the air. I remind her it’s not ladylike, but does she take the blindest bit of notice? I think not. Danielle – you’re so right! Cats have tremendous instincts for the nicest spots, unless of course, there is a pile of clean washing lying about!! I thought of you reading the Clare Chambers and all I’ll say now is that I absolutely loved it. Ann – it’s just a constant battle with that invisible borderline between too little and too much, isn’t it? But thank you so very much in advance for the list of books – that’s definitely good therapy for me! Bookboxed – lol! I think the same could be said of the whole house, no? Obooki – she is also a dead ringer for the face of the cat on the Felix tins! Greetings to your own cat – give it a stroke from me. Emily – thank you! and Hilly says thank you, too, before she got overwhelmed by such huge attention and raced off to hide under the bed🙂 Pete – so you are moving to wordpress? Yay! I’ll bet my cats could redefine several key personality disorder concepts in their own feline way😉 If you haven’t read Winnicott, I strongly recommend it – or Adam Phillip’s book on him is great.

  16. Feline ADD made me laugh – I have also had cats who suffered from that disorder. Poor things. And I hope you’re feeling better soon. Rewrites are no fun, and neither is being sick, so I imagine the combination must be really awful.

  17. The right thing to do when you are sick is to take care of yourself – put off what you can and nurture yourself! Sounds like you have the right idea, surrounded there with kitty and lots of books. I love the surprise of giving myself a break: “Okay, Qu, you don’t have to work tonight. Go snuggle with the pup on the bed and read something for fun. I love you!”

    I had never heard of animals infusing calm and creativity. I guess I had better not argue when the pup hogs the bed (why do they always have to sleep sideways, taking up the most possible amount of space?). Hope you are feeling better by now. I am playing hookey today, so I am feeling great!

    I was glad you commented to me, so I could follow you here. I will stay in touch.

  18. Lol, I love your version of “attention deficit disorder”! My two cats and my dog all suffer from the same malady! I hope you’re feeling better soon, and are calmly resting on that sofa now🙂

  19. I hope you are feeling better soon, dear Litlove. That looks a cosy little spot in which to recuperate. Please take care of yourself.

    I have been spending my time posting about the research I have done on some lesser known aspects of Simone de Beauvoir’s early academic life. It got a little out of hand – – – 😉

  20. Boxofbooks – lol! Yes, I’ve had better combinations of the work/life balance! And my cat sends greetings to fellow sufferers. They should all start a support blog🙂 Qugrainne – thank you so much for dropping by – and it’s so true that pets take up a surprising amount of space when stretched out! I’ve not been too good in the past at giving myself time off, but I’m practising it now and it IS a very good idea. And I’m so pleased to have found you, too. Gentle Reader – My cat is reassured to know she is not alone! I’m starting to feel more human again, thank you, and the sofa has indeed reclaimed me🙂 Archie – thank you so much, my friend for your kind wishes. And as for Beauvoir, well, I visited the moment I read your comment and I am still wiping the tears of laughter away!

  21. I completely agree with Colette regarding sleeping animals – there is something remarkably calming about them. And just take your time healing from your cold…the bugs this year have hung on to the very hardiest of people – several of my docs have talked about it, so if you have any sort of compromised system they will really dig in their heels! Oh, and in case you want to do some dream analyzation, last night I dreamt a doctor of mine invited me to a party and I went and it ended up being a wake for his mother. I’ve been thinking about it all day.

  22. Hi Litlove–No need to get me Ann’s email address. I think we’ve got it sorted out!🙂 Thanks very much, though! Have a lovely weekend–three days off over here–I hope you get a long one, too!

  23. I’m catching up very late with blog reading, but just wanted to say how inviting your “work sofa” looks🙂 I’m willing to bet every blogger has a favorite spot to cuddle with our books, papers, pets, and laptops.

    Perhaps we should do a general round up of pictures? That would be quite fun!

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