Friday, December 04, 2009

Maneki Neko: The Beckoning Cat


A maneki neko,
early Meiji period (1868-1912),
28 cm.

( with the kind permission of
Other exquisite images of Beckoning Cats and graceful, intelligent text about them may be found here.


Warning: You may experience distracting moments of covetous lust.
Mr. Pape tells me that the Mingei Museum in San Diego will be staging a maneki neko exhibition next year.
~yearning, yearning~

I have been researching ghost cats for another Lillie St. Claire adventure (maybe for a short story like Stone Child and Corpse Candles, maybe for a sequal to A Malignity of Ghosts)
As you may remember, A Malignity of Ghosts is an urban fantasy featuring exorcist/paranormal investigator Lillie St. Claire.
The city fathers have reacted to a pandemic of ghostly visitations by deciding that the ensuing problems are simply a more exotic violation of municipal standards -- an extension of by-law control issues, like parking meters, barking dogs and garbage -- and hire Lillie as ghost-buster to eliminate any intrusive spirits and specters found disturbing the peace and privacy of its citizens.
Of course, Malignity becomes more complicated and dangerous than a series of fritzzz -- ghost begone episodes of the casual exorcism of ...er... merely mundane entities...
This established municipal context led me to consider the story potential of a cat lady/cat hoarder who collects cat ghosts. That idea led me to Wikipedia and bake-nekos, neko-matas, considerable folk and fake lore -- and the intriguing, contradictory legends of the Beckoning Cat.

Goodies:
My Demon is running a contest on her blog, Obfuscation of Reality. The prize is a signed copy of Faith Hunter's urban fantasy Skinwalker. If you link to the contest you gain two entries. Heh. Go here for details.


17 comments:

BernardL said...

It seems you have just the right idea to coax creativity back on the job. :)

fairyhedgehog said...

Those beckoning cats are wonderful. You were right about the distracting moments of covetous lust.

Charles Gramlich said...

I saw something last night on TV about the lucky cats of China. Sounds like there is some lore there to explore.

raine said...

...another Lillie St. Claire adventure

Now lapsing into great big cheesy grin. :)
Yes, please. ;)

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I swear I sometimes still see my cat around the house, and she's been gone for 6 years! Just a little yellow lump, or flash, out of the corner of my eye.

Have I told you what an inspiration I think you are? I really do. Some people need angst and pain to create, but it kills it in me. So I'm very impressed at how you're getting back into it. Well done.

Bernita said...

I have hopes, Bernard.

Fairy, I was totally enthralled.

Indeed there is, Charles!Especially in the evil/good contradiction that seems to permeate such legends.

Raine...I'm trying....what do you think of a title A Mockery of Stones?

Our dear ghosts do that, Betsy.
And thank you. It killed it in me for months.

Demon Hunter said...

Ooooh, your stories sound wonderul. I like Lillie St. Claire already. :-D

Bernita said...

Thank you, Tyhitia. She's a soft girl with a hard heart.

Suzanne Perazzini said...

A soft girl with a hard heart - now that made me think. How does that work?

Bernita said...

Suzanne, she can pull the trigger without compunction.

Steve Malley said...

Beckoning cats you say? I find my writerly instincts tickled...

raine said...

...what do you think of a title A Mockery of Stones?

It would definitely intrigue!

Whirlochre said...

If my history of antiques serves me correctly, there are 37 cats in this set.

14 are standing, like this, and the rest sitting.

Sadly, the accompanying brass underground train carriage has been lost forever.

Natasha Fondren said...

Awww! What a fun idea!

I was woken from a nap the instant my cat died. Or maybe right before. Maybe if I'd listened I coulda saved him. I called myself silly and told myself to go back to sleep. I think I've told you this before. I still want to turn back time and get a do-over. Funny how the brush of a moment can be so unfixable.

Bernita said...

Had that effect on me too, Steve.

Raine, I'm this way and that about it! Sometimes I like it, other times I think it's purple.

Snakes on a plane. Cats on a train, Whirl?

Natasha,too often we seem to regret those times when we listen to logic and not our instincts.

writtenwyrdd said...

I'm so looking forward to seeing more of Lily. :)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Written.
I'm trying.