Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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JANUARY 31, 2013 9:21AM

She comes to me

Rate: 17 Flag

At times like this, she comes to me,

the woman I could have been.

Somehow I know her only big question

would be about loneliness. 

While I have so many,

like belongings in a cheap, messy bag

I know she wouldn’t have,

like longish hairs on a crumpled pillowcase

(her hair would always be smoothed and pulled back).


I woke up this morning to two work situations that make me know more than ever that I need to make some different choices. And when faced with those choices, I wished I'd made them long ago - and some others.  I often see this other me, and she seems like she's got so much figured out, so much more room to breathe, even though I know I'm very lucky for what I have.

I haven't wanted to post anything until the situation with Hermes the cat got resolved.  But unfortunately, that situation hasn't been resolved, either.  So I'm going to post about him here again, in the hopes that maybe his photo and description will find the right reader this time - someone who wants to, and can, take him into their life, or someone who could spread the word to the right person. My sincere thanks and immense gratitude go out to those of you who've already helped in so many ways.


 My brother and I are desperately trying to find a new home for his cat Hermes, who he can't take with him when he moves.  

 Hermes is a 2 year-old white long-hair male cat.  He is neutered, up-to-date on all shots, and has his front paws declawed. He's very playful and has a lot of love to give. He would do best in a woman/women-only home, because he tends to attack men.  He can live with other cats, but sometimes starts fights with them.  Nothing serious, but still, it could create a stressful environment for other cats. He's been around a large dog and a pet bird before and there were no problems with them, but this was only for a short time, while he was being pet-sat.  It would probably be best for him to be the only pet in a home.  Especially the only cat.  Hermes is currently in the Metro-Atlanta area.  Ideally, we'd love to find a new home for him somewhere nearby.   Please help.

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Sorry, Alysa. I haven't heard from our pet shop owner. I will remind him, but I am not encouraged. R
aw, he's gorgeous! I hope you find someone.
Alysa, work on the issues in the first part of your post. You cannot make other people or animals happy, unless you are happy.
There's only so much you can do for Hermes. Although, there are lots of things you can do for yourself.
I hope both of you find the peace and serenity you deserve.
Loneliness is a big question. If you don't have that one, you're probably better off than your other you.

Good luck with Hermes. Things work out in surprising ways most times.
Alysa, please don't be to tough on yourself.

I was that decisive "man I could have been" until I was about 43 YO. Things changed and life is different now, I don't think I was happier then.

Hermes - You continue to do what you can do. That is all it is fair to ask of yourself. No one, no matter how decisive and high-achieving, can guarantee success in all life's adventures. That is for the gods, not us.

However things end up, you will have done your best.
like your poem. so sorry you have to find a new home for beautiful hermes, and that i can't help. wishing you all the best in your search.
He's a beautiful fellow. The eyes - one gold, one blue - are arresting. Good luck with him. I can't imagine you won't find him a good home.

And, btw, your poem is intriguing. You capture perfectly the duality of the real us v. the ideal us.
Hi guys, Sorry I couldn't comment earlier and that I've been MIA these past few days - I've been fighting off a nasty sinus infection that's kept me more or less bedridden, and then I got up and just got some bad news about work. It's been hard, and I appreciate you all stopping by, and your support.

Gerald, thank you so much for having asked your local pet shop owner about Hermes - whatever the outcome, I hope you know how much I appreciate it.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and kindness and insights. If you can, please spread the word about Hermes.

Thanks again to you all!
Love the poem. I'm sorry things are a bit rough lately. Seems like things go wrong in clumps sometimes, doesn't it? Hermes is a handsome feline. I'll post him on the neighborhood listserv to see if there are any takers, but most of my neighbors have multiple pets. I'll let you know if there are any takers. I didn't realize he was here in the Atlanta area.

"One comes to a dead end and one must renew oneself." - Van Gogh
Sorry to hear the kitty cat story still doesn't have a happy ending. These things have a way of sorting themselves out though. Hang tough.
Dive off the woulda-shoulda-coulda bridge my friend, and swim for new shores. Hermes will be fine. I have a good feeling.

You may wish to reword the 'ad' to something more ++ in his favor as well. You have the one Bell sent ~ I'd adopt *that* cat. Flaws are best dressed in nice outfits with happy hats and a smile. I'll repost in my area as well today. Sending a ((hug)) to you today.
I wish I could tell you that you'd outgrow those "what if I were the alternate universe me" questions but, well...I still haven't. Maybe you will. But creative sorts tend to have mixed blessing imaginations. Of course, your work situation has been less than ideal for quite a while, so I do hope that better opportunities will open up (my keyboard to God's ears - for both of us!)
I'm so sorry you haven't found the right home for beautiful Hermes yet! I do wish I could just say "we'll take him" but I think Alice would be traumatized if we brought in anything other than a female kitten of her own breed (for which we are still searching; it would be easy if we wanted to go to a breeder but we are determined to honor the memory of rescued Trixie by making the next member of our feline family a rescue kitten, too.)
SIGH. Blessings and hopes for all humans and felines who are searching...
Rated, like the other post about Hermes so it can stay in the feed long enough for someone to find him a home. R
yes, the woman I could've been comes to me too. come to think of it, she USED to, but she might have given up by now.
Sorry about Hermes, I hope he finds someone.
"I think Alice would be traumatized if we brought in anything other than a female kitten of her own breed" ~ Eva T, I hope you don't really mean this.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting these past few days, guys. I’ve been laid up with a sinus infection/sore throat that developed into a debilitating stomach situation when I had a bad reaction to the antibiotics the doctor prescribed me. I really appreciate your comments and support about Hermes, and my own issues.

Lezlie – Thank you so much for offering to spread the word about Hermes. My brother lives in Atlanta, but will be moving to the Metro New York area. It would be easier for him – and easier on Hermes – if they could find him a home in the Atlanta area. Again, thank you so much for spreading the word.

cheshyre – Thank you for this very insightful quote from my favorite artist, to boot!

nilesite – Thank you. I hope things will work out for Hermes, too. Thanks to the help of friends – including OS friends – we do have some hope.

Abby – Thank you – and rest assured, that wonderful text you speak of is currently featured in several ads we and others have posted on various internet sites and forums. Since I’d written at length about Hermes and his situation here, I decided to go for the informative paragraph – but I am thinking that if things don’t change, Hermes might just get a special photo spread with those fantastic words – attributed to their writer, of course!

Eva – First of all, thank you for your kind words about my work situation. I hope things will change for the better, too. And that things will get better for you, as well. Secondly, no worries at all about your not taking in Hermes – I completely understand that he wouldn’t be a good fit! I admire so much that you guys are choosing to adopt a shelter cat. I would say, though, why do you think the cat must be the same breed as Alice? I understand if you don’t want, say, a large breed cat or one with long hair, but if it’s a short hair, you don’t think it would be okay? Whatever you guys decide, I wish you luck, and, as I wrote in a comment on your latest post, I think it’s wonderful that when you go to this upcoming cat adoption event, even if you don’t find the right cat, you will make a donation to a shelter. Bravo!

Trudge – You are, and continue to be, so awesome. Thank you so much for your support!

caroline – I don’t know if that woman we should have/could have been not coming anymore, is a good thing, or not. Thank you for making me think about that….And thanks for your good wishes for Hermes.

Abby – I was wondering about that, too. I’m curious to know what Eva thinks about this, why she has come to this conclusion. As I wrote above, I can understand maybe not wanting to get a cat from a breed that’s drastically different in size or appearance, since her cat Trixie was Alice’s sister, and they’re the only cats each knew. But I don’t know, if the cat is moderate-sized short hair of pretty much any breed, I’m not sure there would be much of a difference. I hope Eva will write about this – either as a response here, or maybe on her own blog. But most of all, I hope she, Lady Lucia, and Alice, find a new cat to add to their family and to love and be loved by.
Sent you a note (in case OS did not notify you).
I often see this other me, and she seems like she's got so much figured out, so much more room to breathe, even though I know I'm very lucky for what I have.

yes you are and yet but you got a goddamn cat to worry about.

as for this chick you mention,
"the woman I could have been.

Somehow I know her only big question

would be about loneliness.

While I have so many," etc.

lonely is the answer and the curse. what the hell would you do without your preference for solitude?

you are projecting on this cat. it is, alyssa, just a cat. you are a soul
cheshyre - I got your message and wrote you back, in case you don't get the notification.

James - It's great to see you here! Thanks for your kind words - though I have to say, I believe the cat is also a soul, that we're worth the same. That's not an opinion everyone has, but it's why I can't stop thinking about him and hoping with all my heart that things will turn out okay.