Meet Wendy H. Gill
Wendy H. Gill is a teacher, writer, storyteller, and video producer whose poems, essays, and photographs have appeared in a variety of regional and national publications. She is the owner of Story Café and Professional Communications.
Wendy is especially proud of the video documentaries her company has produced that examine the issues of diversity, education, and homelessness. In her spare time, photography provides a refreshing break from the world of words and helps her practice the fine art of seeing.
Check out Wendy’s creative life and connect with her here: https://www.facebook.com/whgillphotography
A Sample of Wendy’s Writing
The Ten Secrets of a Purr-fect Life
Wendy H. Gill
I’m convinced that my cat, Sydney, holds the key to the meaning of life. Behind her green Cleopatra-lined eyes lies the ancient wisdom of the mind/body/spirit connection. But since she’s not talking, I’ve been studying her behavior for clues. To the best of my limited human knowledge, these are the principles by which my furry mystic moves through the kitty cosmos:
1. Forget all that people-pleasing crap.
Nine lives, especially in cat years, are too short to spend doing what people want you to do. Don’t let people’s demands ruffle your fur; just be yourself. Snuggle onto the lap of someone who foolishly claims to be allergic to you. And never be afraid to hack up a fur ball while you’re there.
2. Invite your inner kitten to come out and play daily.
When the spirit moves you, thunder through the house at lightning speed in pursuit of the invisible calling of your heart. Don’t be timid now! Charge down the stairs, careen headlong across the kitchen linoleum and take a flying leap into the laundry hamper. A half-dead beetle, a dancing dust bunny, or a piece of thread hanging from the cat-tattered curtain quickens the pulse and sharpens the reflexes. And, a little catnip buzz on Saturday night is good for the soul and non habit-forming. Don’t depend on others to make your fun; when it comes to quality entertainment, there’s nothing better than your own tail.
3. Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Bathe every morning and after meals, preferably in the cozy warmth of a patch of sunlight. Don’t forget the tender spots between your toes. Feminine hygiene is a must, but do maintain your sense of ladylike decorum when attending to those hard-to-reach genitalia.
4. Meditate often.
Practice the transcendental art of phasing out the human world: hold your head erect, blink your tiger eyes in slow motion, and tuck your tail and paws into serene symmetry. Relax completely, but do not sleep. Purring mantra is optional. After reaching enlightenment, practice a few measured yoga stretches. Yawn repeatedly and as wide as possible to release stored-up, kitty-breath toxins. Each session may last from one to four hours … six times per day.
5. Hydrate your body with fresh water throughout the day.
If your water is over 11minutes old, note your disapproval by depositing several food pellets into your water bowl. This quickly sends the message that there’s something fishy going on. Whenever your human servant enters the bathroom, make a beeline directly in front of her feet. Wail plaintively until she turns on the faucet. Make sure she gets the flow just right. No, not quite. There … perfect. Allow the cool, pure stream to roll over your brow and nose before drinking. Take your time. Your human will wait. Chances are, your lapping pink tongue and sweet, slurpy sounds will charm her. If not … who gives a drip.
6. Eat plenty of greens.
Keep your ears alerted to the sound of a plastic salad bag being opened. Lettuce is best eaten out of hand, one crunchy bite at a time. If it falls on the floor, do not, I repeat, do not eat it. It is soiled. Reject it! Mew repeatedly for another untainted helping. Of course, when you’re home alone and can’t have your greens served from a bag, you’ll have to eat the ones your person has set out for you in pots around the house. If you overindulge at the all-you-can-eat houseplant buffet, a nightly sprinkle of Barley Cat aids digestion. It’s a bargain – only $5.00 a serving from your holistic vet.
7. Commune with nature regularly.
Make time in your busy schedule to chitter at bubble-throated skinks, chirp at sparrows gathering at the feeder, and growl at bushy squirrels hopping on the fence. Feel the thrill of the wild from your trembling shoulders to your switching tail. Yowl at the sun, the moon, the grass, and the sky. Ignore the offensive phrase, “indoor cat.” But do keep an eye on the weather from your window perch before dashing out past the door-to-door salesman.
8. If you don’t treat yourself like a goddess, then who will?
You deserve to rest your regal body temple on the guest bed, freshly made just for you. Do not allow just anyone to stroke your silky underbelly, but when you do grant permission, take pleasure with utter abandon. Choose the people you wish to own with care. Should someone be rude enough to touch your upraised rump when you’re really not in the mood, feel free to hiss, scratch, and bite.
9. Be present in the moment.
Keep eyes wide, ears pricked and nose sniffing. The wonders are all around! Trust your senses. Delight in the stroke of a hand on your back, neck, and under your chin. Raise your chin higher … now, just a titch to the left, so your person knows exactly where to scratch. Experience the grace of your body in motion; practice your balancing skills daily. Never, ever worry about tomorrow. Frown lines do not suit a cat.
10. Leave your mark on the world.
You only go round this way nine times, so while you’re here, deposit as much hair as possible. Send your favorite man off to work with a souvenir whisker or two on his lapel and surprise your lady with a patch of your finest fluff on her bed pillow. Such generosity is always appreciated. “God bless you!” you’ll hear them both say, over and over and over again.
So touch a life; rub a leg. Fill the air with meows and lay your unique scent on those you love. Conduct your own life’s symphony with pointed, inquisitive tail. And please, do add an adorable curlicue to the tip, just for style.
This essay first appeared in skirt! Magazine.
What Wendy says about WordPlay
“As I made my timid foray into the Charlotte, NC writing community back in 2000, everyone I met seemed to be talking about a talented writer and gifted teacher named Maureen Ryan Griffin. Based on these glowing recommendations, I quickly signed up for a WordPlay class. Maureen did not disappoint.
She made me, a writing novice, feel instantly at ease; I was in a place where creativity is nourished and thriving. Maureen has a spirit of boundless generosity. She celebrates each student’s success like it’s her own, which indeed it is. Maureen gave me the confidence to keep putting words to paper. Before long, I began thinking of myself as a writer.
I’ve since attended countless WordPlay classes, including ‘Under Construction’ and a number of seasonal retreats. Maureen establishes an environment of acceptance and support, thereby encouraging us to take risks and grow as writers. She is adept at using poems and writing samples to inspire and jumpstart creativity. As my pen sprints across the page during these exercises, I’m often surprised at the ideas that almost magically take shape.
Maureen’s editing skills are exceptional, and I am immensely grateful for her thoughtful feedback and spot-on guidance on my essays and poetry throughout the years.
I recently had the joy of attending one of Maureen’s Coastal Writing Retreats. What an amazing group of kindred spirits I met at the writing table that weekend. For me, it was a perfect setting for making powerful connections – with my writing, with other participants, and with myself.”