HORTON THE HOUSECAT

Horton the Housecat

I once wrote an epic poem whose protagonist was one of my mother’s cats. To allay my boredom during downtime at work I began to pair parts of the poem with thumbnail sketches. The project was longer than a comic strip but shorter than a graphic novel. I had a friend at the time who was literary agent and she told me that if I submitted the work to her as a manuscript that she would try to sell it to a publisher as a children’s book.

Before events ever got that far, I had to change the name of the cat: Horton was already taken by an elephant. Then, I was told the cat had to be fat. Then, I was told Horton’s family needed a father. Then, I had to change the text from metered, rhyming poetry to prose. Then, I had to hand over the illustration duties to somebody who had a track record as a commercial artist. Then, I no longer recognized the product. After half a dozen editors pronounced the product dead on arrival, it did not bother me in the slightest when the agent pulled the plug on the project. I no longer viewed the book as being my own.


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