Liver, the Internet, & Where Are the Online Literary Festivals?


They love backpacks!

If there is anything grosser than sautéing liver in butter, I don’t know what it is.

We live with cats.  Many cats.

It is a multi-cat household.

I am a cat lady.

We want our thin “senior citizen” cats to bulk up.

I fried the liver for the cats.

One of them is bulked up.  She’s just like me.  She sees me eat;  she eats.  There is a symbiosis between us.

But if we put her on a diet, then the thin cats also go on a diet.  They want crunchies in the bowls at all times so they can eat on their own schedules. Cat one:  11:30.  Cat two:  2:00.  And so on.  And if the food is there, my overweight cat also eats it.  There is no solution to this problem.

“Bulk up,” we say to the thin cats.

Sometimes they’ll eat tuna in oil.  Lately no.  They wanted albacore tuna in water.  Now they’re tired of that.  Salmon.  No.  Absolutely not.

They’re tired of canned cat food.

In despair I searched the supermarket.  Would they eat cheap fish?  You never know.  The chicken liver is fattier, though.  You fry it up, you chop it in the blender, and voila!  Fat cat meat.

I fried it in butter so they would bulk up.

So far it seems that my twin, the cat who is just like me, will eat it.  But, alas, she’s not supposed to eat it.

The other cats look at it with no interest.

How can they not want fried liver?

Honestly, this generation of cats is so picky.  The first generation (’80s) and second generation (’90s) loved chicken, chicken livers, turkey, etc.  These 21st-century cats don’t like human food at all.  That tells us something about the hormones shot into the food.

What are you feeding your cats?  There are some raw meat recipes online for cats, but I don’t want them getting salmonella.

There must be something they’ll eat.

Okay, a couple of them are back on canned cat food.  Thank God!

THE INTERNET.  I have a love-hate relationship with the internet.  When I was in London, it was a relief to come home at the end of the day and write my blog.  The same people read it everyday; we keep under the radar, and no truly nasty cyberstalkers bother to leave comments anymore;  I’m trying not to offend prima donna bloggers (yes, occasionally I’m mocking, but I was brought up among the witty and sarcastic); and I enjoy keeping up with the blogs on my blogroll.   Blogging is not like writing for publication.  It is a performance for myself.

But I must admit that when I came home I went into internet shock.  There is good writing on the internet, and there is bad writing on the internet.  I was trying to find some well-written new blogs to read.  And if you read enough bad stuff, you really wonder what you’re doing.

My family doesn’t read my blog.  That, I think, is a good thing.   Partly it is because most of them write, and writers don’t always like other writers, especially when they’re in the same family.  I could tell this with my aunts, who wrote family histories and memoirs and self-published them at Kinko’s.  Neither ever mentioned the other’s work.

And so I’m not really surprised that they all think I’d be better off writing something else.

What, I wonder?  I’m not a fiction writer.  I’m not a poet.  I simply refuse to write any more articles about State Fair food.

Well, maybe I will.  Do you want to hear about turkey on a stick or bacon cupcakes?  Ugh.

I did recently find some wonderful blogs mentoned at AbeBooks Reading Copy, “20 Booksellers Who Blog.”  So  thank God!  I’ve found some good new blogs to read, and I’m justified in continuing Mirabile Dictu.

WHERE ARE THE ONLINE BOOK FESTIVALS?  As you know, I am an unregenerate literary fan.  No matter how bad the event, and that short story panel at Daunt Books was a huge disappointment, I will find another event to attend.  (N.B.   the writers on the short story panel, when I could hear what they said, were phoning it in from their  Creative Writing 101 classes.  Since I grew up in Iowa City, I thought, What?  And I’m sure some of the  other gray-haired fans in the audience were amazed, too.  Most of us were too old for the discussion taking place.

Since I missed the Oxford Literary Festival, I thought I’d check it out online, because I wanted something on a higher level.

But there are no videos, as far as I can see.

What a disappointment!

I did, however, find a video of a very interesting panel discussion sponsored by the London Review of Books in 2010, “The Author in the Age of the Internet,” with  John Lanchester, Nicholas Spice, Colm Tóibín, Mary-Kay Wilmers and James Wood.

I watched 30 minutes of it, and here’s a surprise:  Toibin is very funny.  I laughed aloud at much of waht he said, and some things that the others said.  They were all fairly positive about the internet in the first 30 minutes of the discussion.  Now I’m sure the gloom and doom part comes later–the discussion is divided into three parts–and so of course I want to see what develops.

I have been reading some fascinating books lately, if you want to know, and will shortly be telling you about them.  This is the week I catch up with award-winning literature.  Not The Luminaries, though.  That’s much too long.


7 thoughts on “Liver, the Internet, & Where Are the Online Literary Festivals?

  1. There are *lots* of blogs out there – but I think I read the ones in whom I sense a genuine love of the books and wish to communicate about what they’re reading. That’s what I try to do and that’s what I get out of reading others. There do seem to be quite a few literary vids on YouTube – it’s just a case of searching! As for fried liver – urghhhhhhhhhh!


  2. I’m so glad to see photos of two of your cats. You ought to photograph them more and let us get to know them. As you know I have two, Ian (ginger tabby) and Clarycat (tortoise), both are ordinary size, though Clary is a little on the small thin side (she is very active). I keep bowls of water around the house: I give them good dry food (fancy feast) in the morning: One bowl for two. Then one can of good wet food at night (different brands). This is usually enough but if they eat all their dry food by noon, I add some more; if they eat all their wet food before I go to bed, then I top up the dry at night.

    I’m not good at finding literary festivals on line. I enjoy when someone on Trollope19thCStudies sends along a fine video of a lecture or literary tour; there are a couple of people there who have done that.

    I’ve no one at home to read my blogs. My husband used to read some of them — the autobiographical Sylvia before he became ill, and Ellen and Jim have a blog, two. Austen reveries was often about material he didn’t know about but sometimes he’d read the conference reports or if I wrote on something he and I had gone together to or read or talked about together. He was my audience as well as friends who read and reply and the occasional person who replies who I don’t know or don’t know very well but have heard from on the blog before.

    Cela suffit.(It’s enough).


  3. Karen, I really enjoy blogs. Sometimes it’s random finding out about other blogs. I try on Google Blog Search, with varying results. (I did find a video on YouTube of Sebastian Barry reading for his publisher. Faber & Faber seems to do this for a lot of their writers.)

    Ellen, I love my cats! They don’t like to be photographed, though. They turn away at the last minute. You’ll notice that in the photo above one has her back to us, the other doesn’t know she’s being photographed!

    I was in the mood last night where I found it all very discouraging. Today I’m back to normal point of view. I’ve been tired, though back a week, but the mild depression seems to be over now. Warm weather helps!


  4. Linda and I shared two Norwegian Forest Cats, one male (Stanzi) and a female (Elke). They were kept at her condo because she had more room and was very knowledgeable about their care. Having been concerned about Stanzi’s weight, she started feeding him a portion of fried crumpled up bacon which he loved. Elke seemed indifferent to it. We also fed them Hy-Vee tuna fish packed in water (89¢ a can) a small portion in the morning and another in the afternoon. We found that Ions Brand dry cat food (with hairball control in the turquoise bag) was what they liked and kept the dish full so they ate when they felt like it. When Linda passed away in January, I felt I couldn’t take care of them and I gave them over to her niece who lives in St. Louis and happens to also have a cat of the same breed. The day after the funeral I went over to the condo, corralled the two cats in her bedroom, went downstairs and fetched the two carriers, left a note for Amy, and then left the premises before Amy arrived because I knew I couldn’t bear to say goodbye to them and keep any sort of composure.


  5. Joel, cats are so lovely! Yes, it is terrible to have to say good-bye to them. I do feel for you. When I took my first job and moved, I couldn’t find a place that would take cats and had to part with them. (I later reunited with one of them, thank God!) I’ve never heard of Norwegian Forest cats, but I googled them and they’re adorable. They are special animals, but can be a lot of work. (Not as much work as dogs, though.)

    Thanks for the bacon tip! We haven’t tried that, but it does seem to be the kind of thing they’d like. We have SOOOOOOOO much tuna.

    Really so sorry you had to say goodbye, but Amy sounds like someone who could deal with three cats!


  6. I told you Toibin is marvelous. In NYC he reads in a teeny-tiny bookshop called 192 Books and so we’re right on top of him. In B&N you can barely see the author. Jennifer Finney Boylan is also very funny and charming.

    My cat wasn’t into food that much so eating wasn’t a problem.. My African Grey loves people food and the fattier and junkier the better so I really watch his diet.


  7. Cynthia, he’s a really good performer as well as writer! (I must read The Testament of Mary.)

    We’ve got Vienna sausage, what do you think? I don’t know what they are, but my husb brought home a can, thinking they might like it.


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