Since publishing Puffy & Blue: The Chronicles of Nine Lives Together, I have started to compile a FAQ on the book due to interest in exactly who is Puffy? Who is Blue? And who is on the cover of the book?
Is that Puffy on the cover of Puffy & Blue?
No. The pictures of Puffy are too old, small and/or yellowed to work for the cover of my book. The wonderfully gifted Lisa Rodgers of Shoot Y’all Photography took photos of her cat Bear. My youngest daughter Caiden stood in for me. Those are her blue booted feet in the photograph.
The answer can be found in Chapter 1 of Puffy & Blue.
You may wonder. Who is Puffy? Who is Blue? There are no spoiler alerts in this short introduction to Puffy and Blue. I was given the nickname Blue in 1985 when I took on the habit of wearing bright blue boots, blue eyeliner, blue eye shadow and blue mascara. The bright blue boots were in rebellion to becoming an unwilling resident of San Antonio, Texas. I wore boots, but in order to show my stark contrast to Texans I wore bright blue suede boots. I adorned my eyes with bright blue eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara because it was the 1980’s, I was a girl and I lived in Texas. Any of those three reasons qualify as good excuse, and I am clinging to all three of them.
At the time I was working at a grocery store. I had a uniform to wear, but I always accented it with my blue boots in order to outwardly be a nonconformist even when in uniform. During those years I did everything to blatantly and subtly not conform to the world around me. My whole life I had resisted nicknames. I loved my name, why trade it for something less than Kayla. But in San Antonio the nickname fit me in more ways than one. I wore blue on the outside, but I was deeply blue and sad on the inside.
Now my cat Puffy was given her name when we adopted her. She looked like a puff of smoke. At home we already had a black cat named Smokey, beside him she looked like tiny puff of him. This story is really about the twenty-one years of my life that contained Puffy’s life. It is about me, my family, our travels and our pets. It is about Puffy and the things she taught me along the way. Puffy defined and hemmed-in my childhood. She was part of my family before I ever went to pre-school and she was there just before I graduated college.
Puffy and I travelled the world together. We encountered everything from tarantulas, armadillos, hedge hogs, lizards, scorpions, field mice, squirrels, birds, and rabbits as well as the two pets that lived with Puffy and me. Puffy took care of the pets just as much as I did, sometimes even more. Puffy was an adventuresome cat. Our lives were lived out on three different continents.
Puffy’s native language was Japanese, but she quickly learned my native language English. However, I am convinced she never learned to speak German when we moved there. Together Puffy and I lived in Tachikawa, Japan; San Mateo, California; Desoto, Texas; Munich, Germany; Duncanville, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; Nieder Roden, Germany and finally Portland, Oregon. My entire childhood was hemmed in by her life.
Is Puffy & Blue a children’s book?
No. Puffy & Blue is not a children’s book. It is suitable material for teenagers, but was written to an adult audience. It is my life story and my life was messy at times.
I don’t like cats. Will I still like this book?
Yes. Puffy & Blue is my true life story. People who love a good story, adventure and a redeeming story will fall in love with Puffy & Blue.
I do like cats. Will I like this book?
Yes. Puffy plays an important role as she guides me through life. I thought I was raising her and she thought she was raising me. In the end we raised each other.
I like dogs. Is there at least a dog in the story?
Yes. You will love the stories of our dog Tora that are threaded throughout the story.
No. My dad worked for AAFES, which is a civilian job in the Department of Defense. We lived on many military bases. Our nomad experience was much like the life of military brats and other Third Culture Kids.
You had some horrific things happen. How do you not see yourself as a victim?
It is true that Puffy & Blue recounts some terrible instances of being a victim of crime. I did wear a badge of victimhood for many years, but my life was redeemed and the recounting of those stories is now painless. I told them so that others could know that whether you are a victim of molestation, rape, violent attack or other crime, you can and will survive. You may even thrive – just as I have.
Did Puffy really live to be 21 years old?
Spoiler alert. She died a few days short of her 21st birthday. I was 23 years old when she died.
Did Puffy have blue eyes? Does Bear still have blue eyes?
No to both questions. Bear now has the same greenish yellow eyes as Puffy had. They both had blue eyes as kittens.
I knew you during these years. Will I be in the book? Will I know the story before I start?
I did not use names in the book except in a few rare occasions. If you knew our family you will love reading this book. You will see my mom and dad come to life on the pages. And get to know the great protective and loving spirit of my brother. Many stories will be familiar, but a great deal will be a surprise. I wasn’t open about what I was going through over those years and only revealed them as I wrote this book.
Do you have questions I should add to my FAQ?