Author’s Notes: The Healer of Branford

The events of this story began with thoughts about how the process of rejoining a community can be painful, since even the smallest community involves some work on yourself, treating festering flaws. Cats came into the story because I believe they are the best domestic animals to be medicine for the soul. Other pets may suffer nobly and silently if you are too self-absorbed with your own pain, but a cat will intrusively recall you to your responsibilities. His campaign of harassment when the kibble is two minutes stale is not based on moral superiority. It’s that he is more self-absorbed, and the two of you are negotiating a relationship.

I have also always remembered reading in Katherine C. Grier’s book about the history of pet-keeping that large populations of unowned cats were once part of urban life the way that squirrels and Canadian geese torment us now. That would be wonderful and terrible, and I intend to give “needs more stray cats” as worldbuilding advice to other authors whenever possible.

Finally, I’m proud to announce that this story was a Finalist in the Writers of the Future contest for the Third Quarter of Volume 37. It makes me giddy to know that my story advanced far enough to be read by authors who I have been reading since middle school.

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