Meet the Cats!

Dream Foundry Secretary Cislyn Smith and Content Manager Jen Grogan sat down recently with Cislyn’s cats, who have recently had a day in the sun rewarding (or getting rewarded by?) Dream Foundry Kickstarter backers with pictures and fussing.

Humans: First of all, would you like to each introduce yourselves to our readers?

Bubbles: Hello, I’m Bubbles. I’m the oldest kitty in the house, at a stately seven years old. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Sometimes I bite my tail for fun, but then it hurts? It’s very confusing. Most things are confusing. Cuddles are good though! Except when I’m confused. My main job with the Dream Foundry is to look suspiciously at things and question whether they’re really done. Because if they’re done that means someone might move, and that’s obviously wrong, because I’m right here, in the lap! Or nearby, and easily startled. So, is that realllllly done? I didn’t think so.

Blizzara: Hi! I’m Blizzara! You can also call me Blizzy, and I will definitely answer to that, right after I’m done romping around and leaping and climbing things. Or purring. I do a lot of purring. Do you know how great belly rubs are? They’re amazing! I’m four years old, and I am big and bouncy. My sister looks the same as me, but she’s smaller? Sometimes I think I’m small too, but somehow she fits places that I don’t. The Dream Foundry forums are my favorite thing because you can bounce enthusiastically about all kinds of things there and also take things apart (like themes in fiction and podcasts and stuff) but for some reason I haven’t managed to finish registering. Maybe I need an email first? I dunno.

Blizzara, aka Blizzy.

Bonus: Greetings humans, cats, robots, and other entities. I am Bonus. I’m basically in charge at the Dream Foundry—you can tell by the way humans subserviently pour me water from a cup to drink whenever I ask. I don’t even need to ask nicely. It is my job to help develop long-term strategies and plans—like the Dream Foundry five-year plan. I also enjoy staring meaningfully at policies and bylaws. I spend a great deal of time helping Cislyn write or edit or fuss spreadsheets by sleeping across her wrists while she is typing (so she can never move, of course). Sometimes I help with craft projects by biting yarn, but that is different.

Bonus, the cat in charge.

Humans: You’ve all had a great behind-the-scenes view of the Dream Foundry from the beginning—what was your take on it when the project first started?

Blizzara: I thought it was great! More people were in the house and talking about things and that meant more attention and playing.

Bonus: It’s been a year now since plans were hatched and schemes officially schemed and paperwork was filed. When this first started I was unsure if it would take off—a lot of nonprofit ventures don’t make it, after all. I’m pleased with the success the Dream Foundry has had. It definitely means more fussing and treats for me, since I am, as I mentioned, basically in charge.

Bubbles: Wait, it’s already started? I’m confused.

Bonus being adorable.

Humans: And now, what do you think of the results from the Kickstarter? Is it meeting your expectations, or is more fussing necessary?

Blizzara: ALWAYS MORE FUSSING. Please? Please more fussing? Also, these T-shirts are REALLY comfy. More people should get them. I promise not to shed on all of them. Maybe not even any of them! Just this one.

Blizzara enjoying our Dream Foundry t-shirts.

Bonus: Meeting our base funding goals in the first week was very good! I think with more fussing, though, we could manage some stretch goals and do more fun things. More fussing is definitely called for.

Bubbles: I have no idea what’s going on, but yes, stop whatever you’re doing, and fuss me right now.

Humans: It’s often said that many famous writers (T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Patricia Highsmith, Ursula K. Le Guin) are or were cat lovers—why do you think that is?

Blizzara: Cats are great for creators. We’re inspiring! And fuzzy. Maybe mostly fuzzy.

Bonus: The benefit of feline intervention for the creative process cannot be understated. Our purrs are soothing, easing anxiety and imposter syndrome and helping the subconscious to churn ideas more quickly. Our gazes are inscrutable, causing humans to mentally meander in creative ways as they wonder what we are thinking. Our food bowls are empty (even when there are a few pathetic crumbs, that counts as empty), and the erstwhile creative must meet deadlines and continue to produce to feed us. We are soft and fluffy, whilst imagining ourselves to be mighty predators, a situation that many humans can empathize with. Also, most cats don’t constantly beg for attention—long periods of quiet are good for focus, I hear.

Bubbles: Wait, don’t get up. I’m not done sitting here! Come back and make the tippy typing noises some more!

Bubbles looking very dignified.

Humans: What about other areas of the speculative arts? Do you think of yourselves as writing-specific, or are you willing to snuggle up with artists, filmmakers, or game developers, too?

Blizzara: I snuggle all makers and dreamers and nifty humans. Except that one guy who sometimes brings pizza. I don’t like him. Everybody else, though, yeah.

Bonus: I feel that cat-kind has much to offer many creative purrsuits. Our willingness to play with most things can be an inspiration to game developers. We are inherently photogenic, which aids in visual arts. Our insistence on not letting you rise from where you are sitting (lest you disturb us, which is obviously a terrible crime) means that editors must cast another eye to their works and make sure all is well. Basically, we’re great. And I, of course, am the greatest.

Blizzara helping out at the computer.

Bubbles: Oh, oh, I know this one! I’m helping! With stuff! All the stuffs. Any stuff. Words and pictures and anything you like.

Humans: Do you have any more special appurrances or work with the Dream Foundry planned for the future? I notice that, as of today, there have never been any feline contributors to the site—is that something you want remedied soon, or are you happy sticking with social media?

Blizzara and Bonus napping.

Blizzara and Bonus: We’re too busy napping to want to do too many more appurrances, honestly. Social media works just fine for us!

Bubbles: Let’s paws for a second and consider: What if more cuddles? All the cuddles. I’ll happily do more work (wait, what is “work” again?) for cuddles.

Humans: Let’s get real—wet food or dry food?

Blizzara: Why not both?

Bonus: Because wet food is icky, that’s why. Dry food, all the way.

Bubbles: Yes. Wait. What was the question?

Bubbles has serious thoughts.

Note from Cislyn: All three cats are on different prescription diets. Life gets interesting around dinner time. We have robot feeders, which read the different microchips of the cats and only open for the correct kitty, because we are living in the future and it can be pretty great.

Humans: Favorite toys or games?

Blizzara: I like it when people play peekaboo with me on the tall climber thing, or when they wave a wand toy, or when Bubbles moves and I pounce on her, or those crinkly toy things, or… I like things.

Bonus: There is a particular length of red ribbon, worn with my tooth marks from the many times I have vanquished it, seized from atop a gift presented to some other, less worthy entity. That ribbon is the best toy in the entire world. Other acceptable toys include Blizzara’s tail (but only if I have the high ground), the pink-and-white wand toy, or anything I have to think about for a while before figuring out.

Bonus and her ribbon.

Bubbles: Are the other cats playing with a thing? Maybe I should try that, too! Wait, how does this work?

Humans: Okay, we’d better let you all get back to your fun. Thanks so much for helping out with our Kickstarter campaign (which finished today at 182% of funding and 92 backers!), and we (or at least Jen, since she doesn’t live with you) hope to see you all again very soon!


Do you have a furry, scaly, feathered, or chitinous friend who assists you with your speculative art? Let us know, and share pictures on our forum!

Cislyn Smith

Cislyn Smith is the secretary of the Dream Foundry and a poet and short story writer who calls Madison, Wisconsin home. Her wordy work has appeared in Flash Fiction Online, Strange Horizons, and Diabolical Plots. She has been known to crochet tentacles, write stories at odd hours, play ridiculous numbers of games, make lots of lists, and study stone dead languages. She is occasionally dismayed by the lack of secret passages in her house. She lives with the amazingly photogenic kitties that appear in the Dream Foundry newsletter, and also some nice humans.

In addition to her Twitter, she can be found online on Mastodon and on Patreon.

Jen Grogan

Jen Grogan is a writer, editor, web content specialist, and nonprofit administrator based out of Seattle, where she lives with her husband, two loud but adorable cats, and too many books. She’s written for Women Write About Comics and a few other online venues, but has not yet convinced herself to call any of her fiction manuscripts complete. As an editor, she encourages others to do as she says, not as she does. In her free time she enjoys knitting, hiking, calligraphy, leading school tours for the Seattle Art Museum, and traveling to find new places to hike and new museums to visit. You can find her online at jengrogan.com.