What's with the cat/monkey?

I've been asked many time why is this blog called 1000th monkey, but the little blogger picture is of a black cat.

So let's tackle the monkey thing first.

You've heard of the old adage, '1000 monkeys given an infinite amount of time would eventually write the entire works of Shakespeare', right? Well, it's actually a mathematical probability theorem. Essentially, it boils down to something being so unlikely that it would probably never, ever happen, but it's still statistically possible.

Well, I'm dyslexic :)

When my third grade teacher used to make me stand up in front of the class and re-write my work on the board (totally humiliating and confidence-crushing, as you can imagine), the likelihood of being a writer seemed as impossible as a monkey randomly hitting keys and typing out Hamlet.

…but I worked my butt off. First, to not be humiliated. Next, to be adequate. Then, to be average, above average, and on and on until… I wanted to excel.

To succeed at something that is mathematically unlikely… well, I'm still working towards it, but when I look how far I've come, the 1000th monkey line isn't just a probability theorem, it's a statement of overcoming expectations through hard work, dedication, and believing in that infinitesimal possibility.

I am, unabashedly, an optimist who believes in hard work :)

Also, knowing I'm one of many monkeys (writers) out there… I get a sense of comradeship. When I have a bad-writing day, I know it's not only me struggling to get the words out of my head and onto the page. Similarly, if our collective tappings on the keyboard are what will eventually rewrite Hamlet, then there's no need for a sense of competition. All stories are important, not just the ones I like, or you like. Hating on other writers is bad for everyone.

Now for the black cat?

Black cats are unlucky, correct? In Western culture, the number 13 is unlucky, correct? Well, I was born on the 13th, and Berkeley is my fourth black cat.

When I was 6 or 7, we were at the vet with our dog who was dying of cancer, and I don't remember the segue, but the vet told me that, even though most people don't consider themselves superstitious, black cats and black dogs are the least likely to be adopted.

Ever since then, I've picked out a black cat when adopting.

A black cat can't help the colour it was born with, and I can't help that I'm dyslexic, no more than I could help being born on the 13th.

I could moan and groan and say, 'oh, I'm unlucky, and that's just the way it is'.

But I'm not going to :)

I don't believe in luck, I believe we either succeed or fail to position ourselves to take advantage of possibilities, and a lot of that is about attitude.

…also, with Berkeley, and his three previous incarnations, I chose them. Sometimes, things you can't accomplish on your own, you can do with just a small push from someone else.

And that's why I love the wonderfully giving, generous writing community, both online and in real life. I think it's super important to remember when we've been helped, and to give back whenever possible.

So for those of you who read through this entire explanation, that's why I'm referencing a monkey and have a little black cat as my blogger profile pic :)

…aren't you glad you asked?