By Ash Catcher.
Well guys, or gals, no binary pots and pans- the unthinkable happened and I think I have a cat now. Or a foster cat to say the least. It is safe to say that this big ol ginger cat that belongs to my next door neighbors prefers my house over the home he has grown to know his whole cat life. Oh Philly, you get me every time. I have been constantly looking up cat behavior and they are some quirky mother fuckers. I found out that cats wander because they seek happiness, and comfort. I do pride myself on the fact I love my house and how I run things, given that I have stayed home much more than usual over the past year or so. So why not splurge on those nice sheets, and several blankets. The cat literally comes into my house just to take a nap. Something tells me that a house of 5 and a dog doesn’t make for great working cat conditions. Cats can be attracted to new sights, sounds, and smells that entice them. Like most animals (and people) cats are drawn to friendly people! If you are warm and welcoming to an outside cat chances are he's going to want to pay you a visit or two.
Like just look at this TURKEY!
I love this cat now, I look forward to coming home from work because I know that if he isn’t already on my sofa waiting for scratches he is going to be meowing his small cat brain till next Tuesday until I open the door to let him in. He loves chicken, and while I am super allergic I am looking past it because he is legit the cutest fucking thing on the planet. So why do cats go to their neighbors house? I am legit curious. I read that male cats tend to step out and stray from their homes more than female cats. (Typical men!) but that still doesn’t explain why this cuteness gingerbread muffins on me and makes biscuits on my bathroom rug. Banner you sir are a mystery. Are you my sort of part time kitty?
When I am unsure of something like most people my age I go and consult Reddit:
AITA for keeping my neighbor’s cat in my house at night?
not the a-hole
A few months ago, I went to let my cat inside, and this kitten followed him in. He went straight to the food dish and ate an entire can of food. He was pretty thin, and didn’t have a collar, and seemed pretty hungry, so I let him eat and hang out for a little while before letting him out.
Since then, I’ve recently figured out that he belongs to my neighbor.
Nonetheless, he comes inside once in a while and eats before going home.
He and my cat get along really well, and my neighbors are cool with it because at least they know where he is.
But lately, he’s been showing up really late at night (like 1:00-2:00am). When I look over at my neighbor’s house, the lights are all off, and it’s starting to get really cold at night, so I’ve just been letting him stay the night and shipping him out in the morning.
Except my neighbors are really peeved about it. They claim that they wake up in the morning and try to get him in, and then they get nervous when they can’t.
They seem to be fine with him stopping by for a snack and a play date, but spending the night is not okay.
So, what do I do? Do I shoo this cat outside in the middle of a winter night and hope they let him in? Or am I doing the right thing by keeping him inside?
TL;DR: Neighbor’s cat comes over, sometimes late at night. I let him stay the night instead of putting him out in the cold, but neighbors get mad because they can’t find him.
Indeed I am not the asshole, I just have a lot of love for Banner and want him to be safe. If that means he takes a 5 hr power nap on my bed, or he needs extra chin scratches I will do just that. He is a super sweet cat, I am normally not a cat person but he is certainly doing a great job of persuading me. Also pretty sure my neighbors knows he comes over so often, we haven’t had a talk about it yet so I assume everything is Ashton Kosher!
See ya next Weds Noobs.
Recently I've learned that sometimes you just have to let things go.
I'm not referring about that girl you've been hung up on since middle school. Or that jerk who cut you off in traffic during your morning commute. Or the moment someone absentmindedly says the drawing you spent four days on is “not too bad.” (Though, these are all probably things you should move on from.)
I'm talking the need to find define a style, especially if you're still learning the basics. It's okay to not know right this second. I've been told it's something that emerges from years of work. Even then, it changes as you do.
I mean reminiscing/beating yourself up about missed opportunities. You can mourn, yeah, but I'd let it go. You're better than that.
There will be times you need to be brave enough kill your darlings. I often ask authors what they edited out of their work. Their answer always surprises me.
Add expectations to the list. This could be expectations to be exactly like someone – maybe Ray Carver, M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, Barbara Kruger, Rembrandt, James Joyce, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andy Warhol – you get it. Just because you like them doesn't mean you have to be them. You can appreciate a Minimalist, Maxamalist, Surrealist, or Realist style but desire to not be labeled. Or, you can label yourself an Impressionist but still play with Cubism from time to time.
Or the expectation of forcing yourself to fit in with a specific group because you're tired of being on the outside looking in. I've heard the “inside” can be a bit cramped and there aren't enough chairs. Hell, I've met folks who prefer the fresh air.
Also, ideas. I've had plenty of bad ones. I've had a handful of good ones. Just before writing this article I looked through an old folder on my flash drive and re-read some old writings and ideas. Some I wished I jumped on. Others I found genuinely laughable. I've found poem lines and story starts that just don't resonate with me anymore. In all cases I'm surprised I even thought up any of these.
I've thought up characters who fall and get amnesia and wake up in Victorian era England that blessed me with this awful line about a handyman, “He can fix just about anything, from broken doors to broken hearts.” I've had whodunit murders on trains (like that hasn't been done before) named after Lincoln Park albums. I attempted to pen a Stepford Wives knockoff – only with a guillotine at the end. I've stashed poems I've written for former roommates. Or my personal favorite – a reporter who took a serial killer by surprise in the killer's car by hiding in the back seat.
I started keeping plants this year
It seems to brighten up my room.
But it's kinda too cold in here. Cause I am at the back of the house
and rather drafty too.
You’re super cold, and closed off
With very little room to grow.
And just like my house plants I have been ignoring you intentionally.
I just thought that you should know.
I am fully aware of what's going on, I get it no I really do.
I hope you’re eating well, and have stopped smoking (finally) and addressed the drinking too.
Because you and I don't know boundaries, we just say fuck it, fuck off and fuck you.
But I know better than to entertain that now, you still kicking it with the same karmic, toxic crew?
But if you ever feel like branching out, just know I may not know exactly what to do.
I am not exactly going to be pleased, you bent some pretty big leaves with me.
I am always at that crossroads of okay sure fuck it why not, and fucking leaf me be.
You planted me , and what did you expect, I had no clue you had a whole garden to tend.
But no, I get it things don’t always go according to plant.
I just can't stand it when you don't listen and just rant.
It kills me inside, and then I shut down.
So without being said, let me know when you're in town.
Written by Ash Catcher.
Drawing was my first real love in life. We've been in an on-again/off-again relationship ever since I became infatuated with writing.
During my summer flings with writing, I've begun to notice how much drawing has shaped our relationship. As much as I felt burned by drawing, I couldn't help but see the same qualities in writing. It's like looking back on a past beau and realizing that despite how frustrating he was, he somehow taught you something about being a better person.
This is what I've learned:
How to slow down: We live fast paced lives. Think words like “streamline,” “efficiency,” or “productive.” Most of us are constantly in a rush with places to go, people to see, things to do, and all that jazz. We're almost always “on.” In my experience, the arts give you a space to just be. It's immersive. Here, moments aren't measured in minutes. I don't need to be productive. I'm not reaching for a quota. I'm not on a deadline. I'm observing my drawing subject and carefully transcribing what I see and feel to the page. I'm picking colors that resonate with me. I'm side by side with my characters, seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, or feeling what they feel. I'm understanding their relationships and preferences. We're considering where to take the story next together.
If I'm rushing I can just tell, and odds are your readers/viewers will too. My line work looks sloppy. My scene feels hollow. Rushing feels like a Sunday afternoon, where instead of enjoying the remaining hours, I'm cutting my weekend short by dreading Monday.
How to create balance. Drawings are a combination of visual elements arranged on a page. Values, hues, size, focal points, rhythm, line weight, etc., and all get different levels of attention depending on factors such as mood, medium, intent, or artistic style. Same applies to writing, with plots, characters, scenes, imagery, prose, dialogue, themes, etc. Exaggeration, prioritizing, or removal of certain elements can change a piece.
An understanding (but not absolute obedience) of balance is key, regardless of what your intent is. If too many elements are piled on one side of the page can make a drawing seem lopsided. We've all seen movies where there's more emphasis to the cinematography than the actual plot.
How to observe. In art, I spend time evaluating the relationships between objects in a composition, the ways colors offset each other, the effects light has on a subject, etc. In writing, I'm picturing the placement of characters and their surroundings in a scene, understanding how a character feels about his estranged brother, or noticing how someone else perceives their world.
In Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, the author states drawing is an exercise in observation. Sometimes my drawings don't turn out the way I want them to because we aren't actually looking at my subject. If I'm writing mindlessly I notice my interactions seem implausible or stilted.
How to experiment. If you primarily draw in black and white, adding color can be a different challenge. A novelist may dabble in poetry from time to time. Maybe you'll mix media, like ink and collage or merge forms, like textbook definitions juxtaposed with prose. Experimenting is a process in learning how the paint dries, handling mishaps, using pentameter, fiddling with word choice. In my experience, I'm trying not to fixate on creating an Instagram-worthy composition, but treating experiments as a time to play.
How to attempt to build confidence. I've learned pen and ink is a test in confidence. Each mark is permanent and hesitation will show in my pen/brush strokes. Tackling a new subject in writing can be intimidating. Experimenting is a cocktail that's one part fun and two parts nerve-racking.
There's a particular vulnerability in showing your sketchbook to someone else or submitting a manuscript to a publisher. At its core, creativity is self-expression. When you put so much of yourself into your work, a rejection letter feels more personal than it should. It takes guts to put your work on display.
I believe building confidence involves a willingness to fail and an understanding that mistakes aren't fatal. It's the courage to keep going and growing. Confidence gives you perspective and security in who you are as an artist.
Until next time.
Photo credit: "Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper" by Edgar Degas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Written By: Ash Catcher
I used to play this game as a kid called ToeJam and Earl, this had one of the tightest funkiest soundtracks for a video game at the time. ( early 2000s) Any way I played WAY to many hours of this game, and so when I got to this one level where I had to fuck up a baby medusa, I got all my gifts randomized and everything turned kinda sorta to shit so this is gonna be a little blurb, blog I am not too sure what these Ash Wednesdays are becoming or will become so without further ado lets move on to some of my more random encounters:
I have a kinda funny one, I was just recently abstaining from alcohol and really wanted to check out this goat yoga program, it was kinda sort of trending for the time at least I want to say this was mid 2019 maybe. It was at a brewery so I decided to go with my friend at the time, the kicker was it was 50 bucks but it's okay cause it comes with two beers! COOL GREAT AWESOME. Except I am not going to drink them so I had to embarrassedly raise my hand in a room full of people, yoga mats, and various goats in pajamas that I was volunteering my two beers and was going to actual them off to the highest “bidder” I got exactly 25 dollars for each beer, I essentially had a free goat yoga class, all because I wasn’t going to drink an IPA. Sounds like a win to me!
Clearly I missed that whole day in school where they said never to talk to strangers, well how else do you meet people? I am a firm believer you meet people IN this lifetime for a reason. Nothing is ever an accident, everything is divinely guided: Here are some cool individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting, I will be changing their names for the sake of the rest of the post:
Janice: “When I was in college, I was a big sister through Big Brother, Big Sister. I wanted to take my ‘little sister’ to see Hairspray at the Walnut Street Theater, I didn’t have a ton of money at the time and was spending my last dollar on those tickets. When I went to the box office to buy them, I started chatting with the clerk and told him I was bringing my ‘little sister’ to the show. He handed me the tickets and when I went to pay, he refused my card. He said, ‘It’s on me. Just keep doing what you’re doing.’ I never forgot that moment — that quiet act of kindness and generosity. And, years later, I bought a subscription to the theater.”
Candice: “When I was 12 my best friend and I briefly ran away from home. We took the train from Bristol to Philly. We ran out of food money pretty quick. While standing at a lunch counter looking over the menu and discussing what we could afford, a man leaned over and handed us $10. $10 in 1982 money got us a full meal. We went home that night but I will never forget that guy’s kindness.”
Mandy: “I once left my wallet on the SEPTA bus on a major route. It had hundreds of dollars in it in gift cards for my event-planning job. The gift cards were donated because we are a nonprofit. I felt so guilty that I lost all of that money. I didn’t think I would get it back but the ENTIRE wallet with ALL of its contents was turned in to the SEPTA station!! Restored my faith in humanity for sure.”
Corrine: “I realized a block after getting off the trolley that my keys had fallen out of a hole in my coat pocket. Within five minutes, multiple strangers were helping me look and giving advice. After I found my keys and thanked one, she called after me, ‘And get that hole fixed!’
Chris: : “As someone who was commuting every day by train, I was very used to casual racism as almost every other passenger would avoid sitting next to me and other Black males, till every other seat was full; I did make it a point to leave room for anyone who needed a seat. Regardless, one day this white woman sat next to me without a second thought, and plenty of seats were available next to other white individuals. I looked at her with skepticism; this was the first time in two years I had been train commuting that a white person sat with me like that. I decided to start up what was a very pleasant conversation with her. She was from the Midwest and in town for work. We eventually found out that she was on the wrong train and was trying to go to the airport. I offered to have her get off at my stop and I would drive her there. We had a lovely chat all the way there, and she emailed me once home to confirm she made it safely.”
See Ya next Wedneday!
I don't have the funds for saffron, even though it's under 6 dollars at Trader Joes. It's not that I can't afford it. I tell people I literally have no idea what to put Saffron in aside from maybe a gumbo recipe, but then I have to deal with their whole store and I really just don't have time for that shit. I am hungry, there is no time to read about how you acquired this recipe through your ex husbands, cousins, and finance. But I’ll get to that more one day, Okay Ash enough get to the main course: Here Are my current top 10 spiciest spices when I am making dinner these days:
Everything But The Bagel Seasoning: I put this fucking shit on everything. Bagels, cucumbers, pasta, they even make this stuff in a nut mix, the cashews are my fav.
Truffle Powder Seasoning: It's truffles,very 2016, sushi burrito, trendy shroom, I know I still think it is 2010 sometimes. But hello Truffle fries? Um YES! I love that shit on fries, it's also amazing in this 5 mushroom soup I just made.
Furikake: Japanese Multi Purpose Seasoning: Kelp! I forgot what was in here, I think it's mostly chopped up seaweed and assorted sesame seeds. I love making rice, and this stuff is the tits on some steamed rice, a little tofu, some miso soup. And BAM Japanese breakfast! It's one of my favorite things to make on the weekends.
Smoked Ghost Pepper Chilis: This is HAWT! A little crank goes a long way! I love anything spicy, I used to make hot sauce, and ghost pepper pickles. I asked the guy at the store what their hottest pepper they had in the store, normally I would go for a Carolina Reaper, but I could get down with some haunted pepps.
Roasted Vegetable and Potatoes Blend Seasoning: I am not sure what's in this stuff but I put in on breakfast hash browns and my brain near lobotomized itself. A random spice encounter, but delicious nonetheless. I am going to use these babies in a stir fry this upcoming week.
BBQ Coffee and Garlic Rub: Originally to make animals tasty, but I actually find these pairs really well with tofu stir fry, and roasted veggies. It's pretty heavy on the coffee flavor. Ash Like. But if you’re sharing it with other people make sure they have some of the more garlic parts. This was really good on a roasted eggplant pizza I made this summer.
Basil: it's boring but your girl loves her pesto and gnocchi. So Basil it is, I will usually pick up plants during the summer and make an air garden, last year I had plans to start one but you know you have to get past all the planning. I love fresh tomatoes tho! They’re also amazing with a little pesto and cheese.
Smoked Peprika: Are you really Russian or Eastern European if you dont fuck with the rika? I put this stuff in my dumplings, goulash, stews, paprika is one of those weird people you end up bringing to a party and they are a totally different person. Wallflower, to WATCH OUT!
Lavender: It's not a secret that lavender is my favorite, and for some reason I bake it pretty frequently. I love it in cakes, ice creams, cookies, cheesecakes, pop tarts, literally anything I have tried to “Lava fy '' almost any baked good. I even made Lavender Mochi Pancakes last spring. IT was AMAZING!!!! >.<
Cloves: I saved very best for last, clove has been something that I have reached for unknowingly in times of comfort. I don't bake with it so much anymore. But I actually used to smoke cloves as a kid. When I taste clove I get super nostalgic. Now it's just in my coffee, and I feel a bit more like an adult. You're still subbing out one clove thing for another but it's particularly good in gingerbread cookie dough too.
My friends and I actually like cooking and baking alot. When we do get together, ( COVID permitting) There is always plenty of food, we all got our own things we like to make, were pretty creative, and even went on a 3 month cookie escapade where we just were making mad amounts of cookies.
I’ll catch you next Wednesday!
In the past year Long Shot Books had the honor of releasing Charlie Lefever's latest book, Find Me When You Come Back.
In this collection, Charlie makes the case for unrequited love. With each piece you'll be falling in love and yearning for your dream girl. You may find yourself in a storage room, crowded by shelves of pasta and bags of flour, standing so close to her that you'd never want to leave. You might inhale the scent of the ocean and allow yourself to float away for a while. You'll be mesmerized with how “the yellow of the sun & the blue of the ocean mix in [her] eyes.” In time though, you may think you're leaving her behind, only to realize she wasn't coming with you.
You'll know what it means to love fully, forever—"No one in the whole world will ever Love you in that exact, particular way that I Love you." By the end, you'll see love everywhere.
Find Me When You Come Back spills truths that transcend time.
Contact Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org or LSB at email@example.com to pick up your copy of Find Me When You Come Back for $12.
Check out this great performance of the opening piece:
Charlie Lefever is a queer writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Their work, best described as creative nonfiction with a surrealist twist, is featured in Pretty Owl Poetry magazine and forthcoming in the Arlington Literary Journal. Charlie enjoys writing by hand in the company of their two cats, one pup, and many houseplants.
Follow them online here.
Written By: Ash Catcher
Friday was my first day off in 2 weeks, I know exactly what I am doing, work yourself to death and trade it all in for a 5 hr round trip to a frozen ass lake. I had no idea it was gonna snow the entire time on my way to Lake Wallenpaupack and yet here I am underdressed as always and wearing tennis shoes, I tried skipping rocks, and all it did was make that weird sound ice makes when you try to break it. Like that “Wooooooooooooosh” sound. It was kinda cool, this lake is one of the bigger ones in PA. I also stopped off at Lake Harmony wish is said to house the cleanest water in PA.
That was frozen too so I am not sure if that ice was 100% ph crystal but you know I can only dream and speculate. I am trying to visit all of PA’s greater Lakes, I went to Erie in November, I have been to Noxx a thousand and one times, and now I can tick off Wallenpaupack, and Harmony off my "Lake List”. Well water am I waiting for? I think I am strapped for ideas of what to do with the few days I have off now, I go to the gym like every day after work, I run several social media accounts, a feminist blog, a door blog, now a coffee blog, which I am still playing with. I don’t know I just know I should be out there seeing, and doing more.
I have picked up some new hobbies, aside from lake investigating, I guess I could bring some PH strips next time and test the contents of the water if that was really my thing. I enjoy scenery and science, but what I really like lately has been rocks. Mostly they have been coffin shaped respectfully but I have acquired a various collection of rocks over the past few years. I have no idea where this has stemmed from. I just started snagging rocks during my day trips. I am thinking this year when I start going to the beach again that I will be collecting and labeling sand samples.
As far as writing goes, I plan on keeping up with weekly blogs, I think they are oddly satisfying, it helps with all those skellys I am trying to get out of the cosmic closet. But hey isn’t that what drugs are for too? This year, I am not just planning, or putting out the intentions for more spiritual growth, and connecting more with nature. I WILL be doing that stuff. So look alive, or as alive as we can be right now, eat your veggies, and stay alert. I am listening to too much vaporwave, and solvetwave. I have a feeling that this year is about to be super interesting.
I’ll see you next Wednesday degenerates
I just finished a book I spent eight years working on. It's about a kid in high school. I'm sure with that level of information, you can think of at least 50 other books about kids in high school. Some stories may take place at a party, others at prom, graduation, or all three. The protagonist may be struggling with planning for the future, navigating the minefield of a social life, or dealing with some supernatural shit, or all of the above at once. So I'm clearly not the first person to write a story about high school.
When I'd describe the plot of my book about a maladaptive daydreamer, I was often met with comments like “Oh, like Inception?” I used to get all worked up and rapid-fire list ways how my book was nothing like Inception (if anything, it gave off more Walter Mitty vibes), and it left me feeling like I was wasting my time.
I let that hold me back for like eight years.
In fiction, you can narrow down the plot to pretty much any novel into seven basic categories. This concept is so well known it even has its own book and Wikipedia page. Basically every story can be summarized into these categories:
1. Overcoming the Monster
2. Rags to Riches (or Riches to Rags)
3. The Quest
4. Voyage and Return
To add an extra layer of unoriginal-ness—just about every conflict possible can be sorted into the six main conflict types:
1. Man vs. Nature
2. Man vs. Self
3. Man vs. Man
4. Man vs. Society
5. Man vs. Technology
6. Man vs. Supernatural
I won't break them all down here because there are much better articles that do this already—my point is, a lot of this has been done before. That can be discouraging. It can make you question why even bother writing at all if you can't put anything 100% new out there.
I'm not advocating that we all be formulaic, plagiarize, or give in to mediocrity. I'm saying we shouldn't let the notion it's been done before deter us from telling our stories. You can tell them the way only you can. We've got a great thing going for us—we've got as many stories as we do folks to tell them.
I'd say instead of pressuring ourselves into being wholly abstract (which is probably egotistical at best), we can focus on sharing stories that bring us to relate to one another. Being inspired by one another doesn't make our stories unoriginal. It doesn't make you a hack.
There's fellowship in shared experience. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had an awkward first date, experienced a breakup (or five), wrecked my car, pissed off my parents, or felt nervous about post-grad life.
Written By: Ash Catcher.
Paranoia to the max.
No thank you man, I am just trying to relax.
Pheromones up in your face.
All your coke n blow are laced.
Thought you had control over me.
Well I feel sorry for you, why can't you see:
You’re just broke and boujie.
IPA’s all day, and still no bed frame.
You’re just so broken and boujie.
Feeling slightly stupid
Strung out on all the drama.
I am sorry dude, what is your name again? Did you say Connor?
All up in your head, and in the clouds.
I hear you don’t have much going for you now.
Hey man life is short, that's why I look at cows.
You’re so broke and boujie.
IPA’s all day and still no bed frame.
Almost pushing 30.
Put on display from some cheap lay.
If I look at your face in pictures now,
All I got to say is wow.
You’re so broke and boujie
All of fake ass friends sipping on each other’s kool aid smoothies.
I don't know if you know this but your piece of work.
Your antics they just drive me berserk.
Being with you was a fucking chore.
Like taking out the trash.
It's something that I hate.
I know you stay up late looking at my cache.
If we ever see one another again, I'll chalk it up to fate.
Sick of all the fakeness in this place.
Your house of lies is crumbling.
Cmon just do it, fucking eat a salad.
This years ending soon, your opinions still are not valid.
Feel that? It's the universe calling, she is sick of your expanding face, and all the lies.
Sick of all this broke and boujie
Ignoring me in public
But stalking my Insta story.
You guys like to hoover around me like Sputnik.
Do you think I wouldn’t find out?
I knew you were full of yourself, but now I know you just like to reroute.
Back to all the radicalism.
All your “Social Anarcho Lives”
Who are you fooling, you grew up in Bucks County
Why are you trying to act Delco all the time?
You don't have to lie to me anymore, I don’t trust you anyways.
You’re so broke and boujie
Strung out on cheap cocaine, and codependent smoothies.
Lust for breakfast, tasteless, tackiness, trading all your school lunches.
When are you going to address all those vices, and crutches?