Why I Wrote a Novel About a Tree That Sings: Part Two
In Part One of this series, I wrote about how my affection for trees and the idea of plants making vibrations inspired me to write Song of the Tree Hollow. Today I’ll address the other piece of the puzzle: the sudden experience of my cat dying and coming back to life.
Maddie had had a urinary tract infection for months. The vet had tried a couple different antibiotics as we waited through the fall of 2017 for the infection to clear. It didn’t. It got worse, so worse that one day in November she began throwing up her food and refusing to drink. So we took her to the emergency animal hospital. They wanted to keep her overnight to give her fluids and run tests. It killed me to leave her but we dragged ourselves away from our frail, long-haired calico and went home. An hour or so later, just as we were sitting down to eat, the doctor called to say Maddie had had a heart attack and died. But the vet team had revived her. I’ll never forget the doctor’s voice, strained, breathless, almost wild. She was worried. The doctor was worried. That made me worried! She asked us to come in right away. Maddie might have another heart attack within 48 hours and die, permanently.
A Cat Medical Emergency
I drove fast and recklessly, crying, almost missing red lights, my husband urging me to calm down and not crash. He let me drive because I had to be in control. When we got to the hospital, we went in the exam room and saw our little cat, somehow wet, laying listless on the table. She was on a towel with an oxygen mask around her face. Her breathing was weak, her mane, matted. As I described in the book, she looked like a cat that had fallen in a toilet.
It turned out she’d passed a blood clot through her system, hence the heart attack. I stroked her cold forehead and told her I was there and everything would be fine. Her eyes did this strange sort of pulsing, where the line inside the green part wiggled and danced. Later, I had to drag myself away and go home, hoping as I went to bed without her that she didn’t die.
The good news is she didn’t. She not only survived and didn’t have another heart attack, she got the antibiotic she needed. She came home, ate voraciously, gained weight, and now, a year later, is back to her chirpy, cheery, albeit old, self. Yay!
A Moment in the Afterlife
As life returned to normal, I couldn’t stop thinking about the experience. I wondered whether Maddie had had an out of body, or as my husband calls it, an out of kitty experience. The kind where a person floats by the ceiling and sees their body on the operating table or in the crashed car. I actually know a few people who’ve been through it. They are fully convinced they died. It’s fascinating.
So, I wondered if Maddie, or a cat, had that experience, what would it be like? Would she have met up with a fellow ghost animal? Or person? What if a ghost person gave her a message to give to her living family? And what if the message was that the natural world was disturbed by the ghost’s death? The ghost’s death hadn’t been as simple and straightforward as everyone had thought. Maybe there had even been foul play. Thus, the plot of Song of the Tree Hollow was born.
Sophie and the Tree Hollow
I began writing about a cat named Sophie and a near-death experience. When Sophie returned home from the hospital, she often slipped out of the house and led her cat mommy, my protagonist, into a nearby ravine. But she didn’t just lead her to the ravine, she led her to one particular cedar tree. A tree with a hollow at its base. Whenever the protagonist touched this tree, she felt an eerie vibration. And that vibration led to a melody, a melody she was familiar with but couldn’t place.
That melody, or song, became integral to the story. And music, overall, became the centerpiece, its heart. But I don’t want to ruin it for readers. If you’re interested and want to read the book, it’s free through this Sunday, November 18th, on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please leave me a review. It helps keep the book visible for customers. Thanks!