Thank you for visiting Nine’s Catudio. I am Holly, Mom to the three catooges, and this is my little corner where I go when I am not busy cleaning the litter boxes and cat dishes or hairballs, putting away rolls of toilet paper and all that fun stuff any cat slave does on the daily basis.
Here I like to relax, let my writing talents out of the cage and my life outlook to present itself, as well as share my knowledge and experiences with the Catudio visitors.
Our tiny channel will be affected by the latest changes coming to YouTube on February 20, 2018. This video is intended for the support of other small channels who might have experienced the same shock after receiving the news.
The changes coming will demonetize all channels with less than 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of viewing time in the past 12 months.
In this video we will give you a brief history of our channel, our goals and will take an in-depth look at what the coming changes will mean to us, and to many other small channels. We will analyze some numbers and will try to put the whole experience into a perspective which will, hopefully, help some tiny channels to survive the turbulence.
This video is not monetized on purpose. To us (to me) it is more important to bring the message out there, and, hopefully, to build a new support system for the small content creators.
In this video I will analyze the numbers in the areas of viewing time, the correlation to income, and a few other things that have larger impact on small channels than on the established long time running channels.
In this video I will also try to share our (my) perspective and our (my) motivation to find the positive in the upcoming changes.
This channel has been the Partner since 2008. We never received any strikes on anything. I started it just as a channel for friends and clients. Most of the videos were private or unlisted. I was not branding or anything. I just wanted to share the video messages with whoever I thought would be interested in them.
Then one video, made public, in which a teenager is getting her first car for graduation by surprise, took off and generated a lot of views. That was the time of motivation. I started to publish videos reviewing the newest Ford cars. That went well, too. However, I would change their status to private or unlisted after a certain amount of time, just to keep the content up to date.
Then, in 2015, a ton of unfortunate events took place in my life. My Mother passed away, my business took an unexpected turn down, and my cat of 13 years died. Many colors disappeared from my world. For the next 2 years it was just a monotony of trying to rebuild, to survive, to pay the bills.
There was so much useful content that I could have put out there, but restricted by some policies regulating my business (Government contractor) I was not able to share that valuable information.
Parallel to all of the events, I always had a soft heart for animals, cats in particular. I have been with cats all of my life. I have studied them, I have learned a lot about them.
When two years ago I moved to a tiny community, all of sudden this passion of mine took a new, and a very strong turn.
I did not realize, that the stray cat problem is not only the problem of Europe. Regardless of many ways the authorities try to control the cat population in my country and in my Province, there are large rural areas, where there is absolutely no by-laws regulating this issue.
In September 2017, a tiny stray kitten showed up at my door in the middle of nowhere. Facing a strong dilemma rather to take the kitten in, or to try and re-home him, I shot a phone video of him and posted an honest video. I shared that video in cat groups on Facebook. Suddenly, the people were right there, watching, commenting, subscribing.
The reason why I posted that video, was because I have used this tool before and did successfully re-homed a few strays. I did not leave any of those videos on the Channel, as I thought it would be unfair to the new owner. Plus, the videos did serve their purpose – to spread the message, and to get a new home for the cat.
After a very short period of time, we decided to keep the kitten. With that decision also came an idea to start a web community to contribute to solving the problems of strays here. We started making videos. We got more views and subscribers in the last 90 days, than we did in a lifetime.
The idea behind all that was to help support our growing group of rescued cats (as you know, we have three catooges right now) and all those strays that live around. Our location, unfortunately, seems to be perfect for people dumping their unwanted cats on the highway. The fact that this is a farming remote community does not help, either. We volunteered to spay and neuter as much as we could. That all costs money. Yes, we could continue pulling that money out of our thin pockets. But instead we came here to generate the funds necessary.
We shoot our videos with a phone camera, we process them on the old, dying PC. Yes, we could only dream of generating enough to upgrade the equipment and to make the content that we know can! Become popular.
Videos that we make are being watched all over the world, not just here. We try to make a unique content, putting time and effort into those videos. Our subscribers support us. People comment on our videos in a very positive way, encouraging us to continue what we have just started.
However, in the eyes of the YouTube, we are just not good enough for now. This video was made to find positive in the changes. Not to come up with an ultimatum or childishly delete the channel, but to see if there is something that can actually encourage us and similar to our channels to do what we grown to love doing.
We have till February 20, 2018 to generate the required. Will we? Probably, not. But we will use this time to challenge our abilities and to let the whole world onto our own challenge. We will also use this time to find out rather we do have the ability to speak loud enough so that the viewers out there will hear. Basically, this is the challenge of creativity, motivation and spreading the message. We encourage other small channels affected by this latest Policy changes to join us.
At the end, if people do not need to watch what you have made, they will not. It is just that simple.
Below is one of our replies to our darling fans, who watched our video
What really makes me upset is that this is all happening after 10 years of the loyal partnership. The original email sent had the wording of “bad actors”. This hurts very much – being generalized like that. Basically, my channel was included in this labelling together with channels that were being monetized for simply using somebody else’s content or posting disgusting videos or all kinds of abuse and so on. The problem with those channels was that anyone can create as many channels as they want. And it is something that was overlooked by the YouTube itself – by allowing anyone to be monetized.
Why? Because the YouTube never reviewed the videos using the actual humans. It was all left to algorithms, bots, etc. Now that they realized that their platform is being used and abused and is loosing major advertisers such as Coca Cola, they do need the actual human review. By raising the mark this high, they hope to eliminate the extra work. But Coca Cola walked away because a MAJOR channel allowed some racial slur. It was not a small channel.
I absolutely AGREE with you, that by doing this, they will lose a LOT OF FRESH and UNIQUE. The established channels are all in their niches, and all they can do is to continue with what they grew with. Some of them are the professional YouTubers. so they call themselves. Due to many reasons these smart, forward thinking people ended up at some time making YouTube their job.
When I signed up for YouTube back in 2008, and through the years, I was not aware that I should either become a full time YouTuber, or insist on people subscribing to the channel. I am a laid back person. I do prefer to get what I can, not beg for it. I never violated any policies, and I only posted the original content which was liked and, as the practice now shows, actually drew some very bright minds like yours.
I will be making videos. I am working on the one this morning. Not in a desperate attempt to reach enough subscribers or views. I simply would not be able to… I will just have to move the videos to my website and work towards the website being noticed. I just recently started the newsletter. There are people subscribing… So, I will have my small army that I will share the videos with. Will, probably, give more efforts to the affiliate marketing.
I just do not want to leave my videos HERE for free. Because THIS IS UNFAIR.
The worst part – THERE IS NO ONE to write to, or to discuss this with. There is not a human being behind the contact info they provide.
SORRY FOR THE LONG RANT. I am still very upset, though I am working to find positive. Thank you for being our fan!
Saturday was a good day. I did not have to go to work. That meant no driving the old. dying van. That meant no precious cents burnt on gas. They were important, those cents. They helped a lot.
I had long forgotten how to count in dollars. Ever since I’d decided to escape and live on my own, raising my little daughter, I made friends with cents.
15 cents would buy a treat for my baby. Once a week, but a treat. One treat, but a treat. 69 cents would buy us a burger at the local fast food joint. Tiny, but a burger. We would split it, and felt so full after.
Every time I needed to count something in dollars, I would get scared. Because there was never enough.
That Saturday was great – the weather amidst angry January gave us a little break. The Sun was generously licking the bright snow ice cream off the mountains. The thermometer smiled as it told me we could go for a walk in the park. That was going to be one great day!
When the days were very cold, I would read all of our few books to my daughter and we would watch her favorite cartoon for about a thousand times. There is not much entertainment around when you are friends with just cents.
That was a terrible winter. I really struggled. I tried hard. I worked, but the pay was miserable and no one would hire me, since I did not have much previous work experience. I had no family. I was making 15 dollars per month more than the minimum which could have qualified me for the wealth fare. I never collected a penny of child support from my daughter’s father. Because he did not want to do anything with her when she was born. So, we set a deal – I never ask him for a penny, he never gets to see our baby.
I remember going the whole week without food for myself. I had a tray of frozen chicken, and I would make a chicken soup for my daughter. Chicken soup has so many nutrients! And I would survive by tasting a few spoons when it was cooked. I stayed so tiny. But I did everything I could to give my daughter everything a child needs.
Walks were great, though! When we went for a walk, we sometimes found a few cents on the ground. We also found some useful appliances which people had left in their back alleys for some one like us to pick up. Sometimes our walks were real life savers.
I opened the fridge and reached for the milk carton. It almost slipped out of my hand, because it was nearly empty. I looked inside. There was just enough for a glass. I had to decide – was I going to boil an egg for my daughter for breakfast, and then give her the glass of milk, or was I going to make some pancakes, but then she would have to have tea with them. She hated eggs and she loved milk. She loved pancakes and hated tea. I decided to go with an egg. On the Walk Day, she can deal with an egg.
While holding the milk, I was trying to get an egg out of the carton, but it was stuck in there for some reason. Without looking, I put the milk on the counter besides the fridge to free my other hand. All I heard was a quiet thump and I felt a splash on my bare feet. The milk was gone. I closed the fridge and slowly slid down his white empty belly to the floor.
“What have I done? The pay day is not for another week… There are so few cents left in the tin!” – the crazy dance of thoughts preoccupied me for a moment. I felt tears starting to roll down my face. Next thing, I burst into real tears and started to cry very loudly. All my misfortunes caught up with me. I felt trapped and helpless. My crying woke my daughter up and I heard her tiny steps on the stairs. I stopped crying immediately, and with the heart bleeding, wiped off my tears.
– “Mama, are you OK”, – huge steel grey eyes were looking at me with concern.
– “Of course, baby! I just pinched my finger on the fridge door”. I was trying to hide the spilled milk by keeping the fridge door open, – “Why don’t you go get me the orange tin from my bedroom? I need to go get some milk for our breakfast”.
Her tiny feet produced a little drum roll as she rushed upstairs. Very quickly, I wiped the milk off the floor. Soon I heard the real orchestra coming down the stairs, as her drumsticks of tiny legs were joined by the cymbals of cents jumping inside the tin. The music of cents. I will never forget it.
I had no choice. I had to go get another carton. I knew I would come up with something next week to survive till the payday. I always did. May be, go without dinner again. Not that hard.
I went to the store next door. The owner of the store was very nice to me, he knew how hard the things were. He would let me sometimes take an item or two in credit. But I felt so miserable when I had to do that. In my home country I had a Degree. I just never had money to complete all the necessary courses to have it transferred. The poverty and misfortune did not break me. I still had my pride. It hurt when the cents were thrown at it. Looking back, for the whole two years my pride was hurt. Surprisingly, it survived.
Another way to find some extra cents was to look closely at the rows of treats below the counter. When paying, people will drop some and never pick them up. I think I was the only one I knew who had to make friends with cents.
I went to the back of the store to pick up the precious milk. Right near the fridge door, there was a lottery ticket laying on the ground. Not signed. For the Saturday’s big lottery draw. Without thinking, I picked it up quickly and hid it in my pocket. Then I looked around to see if anyone saw me stealing. I felt terrible, my heart was pounding. There was no one in the store, and the owner was busy at the counter , sorting candy.
I went to pay for milk and it felt like the ticket was going to burn a hole in my pocket.
I never even dreamt about buying a lottery ticket. That was an unaffordable luxury. Though, I dreamt about winning big. So that I could stop being friends with cents. And then, just like that, I had a ticket. I did not care at the time if it was a winning ticket. It was a chance…
After breakfast, we set off to the park. I felt very upbeat, I was literally, flying. I do not know why the Hope made me so happy. But it did. Very soon I did not feel guilt for picking up somebody else’s ticket. At the park, while my daughter was raiding the playground, I sat on the bench and pulled out my ticket. The numbers printed shocked me.
4 – My Mother’s Birthday. 14 – My daughter’s Birthday. 18 – my Birthday. 19 – my Dad’s Birthday. 33 – my lucky number. I had it on every shirt and jersey in many kinds of sports I played. 48 – the number of the apartment, where I used to live with my parents. The last place where I was ever care free.
I started to shake even more. The numeric coincidence made me very excited. I could almost feel the win. The draw was later on tonight and all I could think of was to watch the balls with my numbers to fall out of the machine.
I do not know how long we were in the park, but when my daughter came to me, asking if we could go home, I knew it was a very long time. My toes were absolutely numb in my light shoes with two pairs of socks in them. My bottom was freezing after sitting still for so long on a cold bench. But I did not care. We raced each other home, with me suddenly discovering some tremendous energy.
We slowed down to a walk near our building. There was an old lady on the pathway. making small steps in the circle, her head hanging very low, as she was looking for something. I could not help but notice, as we approached her, how Sun was reflecting off her cheeks. The old lady was crying.
– “Ma’am, is every OK?”, – I asked her.
– “I lost it… I did… Old horse I am…”, – the woman had a very clear, like a mountain creek, voice. That voice went so well with the crispy sparkling snow and the Sun which by then began to be tired of working so hard the whole day.
– “You lost what? Can we help you look for it?”
– “We will never find it. Someone took it. People do not return the stuff like that. It was a ticket. A lottery ticket. Every Saturday for over 20 years I play the same set of numbers. Those are special numbers!”
I felt a terrible shiver crawling up my spine. I suddenly felt hot, very hot, my cheeks burning the air. I waited for the lady to continue, unable to move, unable to say anything.
– “I was four years old when my Dad was killed in the War. I was fourteen when my Mom passed away from all that hard work she had to do by herself on our farm. I had to take care of my three siblings, all younger than me. I was eighteen when I met my wonderful Frank. He took care of all of us and loved me like no one ever would. I was nineteen when we were blessed with Isabelle, our only daughter. I was thirty three when my Frankie was killed in a car accident. I was forty eight when my little granddaughter was born”, – the tears started to choke her again and the woman stopped talking.
I slowly slipped the hand into my pocket. The ticket was there. With the numbers 4, 14, 18 , 19, 33 and 48. My lucky numbers. The numbers that told a story of one’s life.
– “My daughter moved South and I haven’t seen her in so long. Her husband does not like me. He is rich and his family is all so snobbish. He fell for my daughter’s beauty and that’s all he wanted from our family. I want to see my granddaughter. But I do not even know where they live now. Last card they sent for Christmas was three years ago while there were on vacation. You see, if I win, I can hire somebody to find them for me. I can buy a plane ticket. I can buy them expensive presents. Her husband will see how rich I am and will stop hiding my daughter from me!”
I realized that I was standing there, hugging the old lady and tears were streaming down my face. My daughter leaned against my leg and was hugging me at my hip. She did not know what was going on, and looked scared.
“Baby, go open the house, I will be right there”, – I gave her the key.
The old woman was studying my face now. She followed my daughter with her eyes and said: – “I thought it was your sister! You look so young! I hope she will never forget about you!”
– “Your daughter did not forget about you, I am sure. And you will see her. I know that. You will.”
I hesitated for a minute, then pulled my hand out of the pocket.
– “I found your ticket. You will see your daughter”.
The woman starred at the piece of paper in disbelief. She just stood there, motionless. I had to grab her hand and put the ticket in her palm. Then I abruptly pulled my other hand off her shoulder and started walking towards the house.
– “Wait, wait! If I win, I can share! I do not need it all! Just to be with my daughter. Wait!” – the woman’s voice was breaking up in the air, as I was walking faster and faster. “Can you at least come have tea with me? My name is Lydia Cents!”
I was friends with Cents now.
I hurried around the corner and ran quickly to the door. I did not want her to see where I live. I did not want the world to see where I lived.
At six o’clock I turned on the TV and chose one of the 3 available channels. I could not afford the cable, of course. The TV was given to us by the previous tenants. They wanted to buy a new one for their new home.
The pretty lady in a glitzy outfit stepped close to the rotating machine with balls. The camera focused on a little ramp, awaiting for the balls to come out. They did. 33, 19, 4, 48, 18, 14.
I turned off the TV. went upstairs and fell on my bed. I was not crying, I was not feeling anything. I was just laying there, quiet, helpless, exhausted. Being so close to the end of the hardship, yet so far away. I saw a little house under a big tree, with my daughter flying up high on the swings. I saw a nice sports car in front of the house. I saw a tidy office of my practice. I saw my Mom and Dad, sitting around the dining table with me again. I saw so many things that I knew will now be just a dream.
I stayed in bed the whole Sunday. I could not move. I felt terrible. On Sundays me and my daughter would go for brunch to the local community center. We made some friends there. The parents of a little girl stopped by at 11, and took my daughter with them. I did not get up. I could not. I did not feel my legs, or any part of the body. I was made of air. Very sad air.
On Monday I did scrape myself off the bed to go to work. When I got there, my boss called me in. He was smiling. I thought at first that my application for the winter kids camp was approved. It was hard to get into that camp.
My boss pointed out to the chair. That was the first. He never asked me to sit down, and barely ever looked at me.
– “Katherine, I was reviewing some profiles here to see if anybody could fit to take the new position of the shift supervisor that just became available.”
I felt my heart beating really fast. The shift supervisors get the lunch allowance and the pay is a lot of cents more! I will not have to worry measuring each cup of milk!
– “By the sounds of your past, you do not qualify for this position”. He got out of his chair and was standing there, towering above me, drilling me with his very cold blue eyes.
I heard the sound of cents in my tin. I told myself that I should had stoped hoping. I could had been a millionaire already, only if I would had gotten up off that park bench earlier and went home before Lydia Cents crawled out there to look for her ticket! Only if I would had less heart and honesty! My heart sank. I could barely hear what else he was saying. Through the thick cotton of disappointment his voice was barely touching my brain. I had a Law Degree! But I had to move right after my graduation, to flee the unlawful society back home, to save my daughter from having to live in the scarily unfair world.
– “… and it did appear to me that you are overqualified. Furthermore, I spoke to your immediate supervisor and she informed me of your hard working habits, extreme dedication and the constant very useful suggestions to improve the productivity and safety. She had also told me that a few times you had helped your colleagues with a very valuable advise, worthy of a seasoned lawyer. Katherine, are you listening?”, – he was standing right beside my chair, smiling. His eyes were so warm now, like the Summer sky.
– “I am sorry. I thought I was being fired. I am sorry.”
– “Fired? You? I just told you that we are interested in getting you a position in our main office. I do not know why how your qualifications were overlooked!”
– “Oh, sir, they were not overlooked. I can not practice in this country until I complete certain requalification courses. I will one day. I simply do not have money for it. My daughter just turned 7, and I am a single parent. I have no family here. Could you please let me take that supervisor’s position? It will help me a lot. I promise, I will work hard and I will save money to take the necessary courses and programs”.
– “I am very well aware of what you need. I have already looked into that. The lady that interviewed you, to whom you told your story, is my sister. So, I have a plan for you. We will pay for your courses and upgrades. All I am asking in return is to work for us for two years after. You will have your own office. We also provide our top corporate staff with vehicles, many allowances and benefits. When is the earliest course you can take?”
– “It is actually, in one week. I very seriously doubt it that I can get in. They are always full and require to register at least 6 months in advance. But I can try.”
– “Try”, – he looked me deep in the eye and handed me an envelope, – “This is for you and your daughter while you keep trying”.
I peeked inside and all I saw was a bunch of the brown bills. Hundreds… That was probably my four month’s pay in there, may be more. I can buy my daughter that pretty dress she liked so much for Easter!
I could not help it, and started to cry. I cried like a little girl, sobbing, mashing my tears all over my face. I cried and I cried, and all he did, was holding the tissue box. – “That’s enough. Tears do not go well with such pretty face like yours. You will be OK”.
I rushed to the Law Society’s office. I flew in there, crushing the air on my way. The unapproachable, very polished receptionist looked at me, in my dirt cheap jacket and sneakers, with a look of amusement.
– “How can I help you?” – “Look, I know, the registration for the Course is closed, but is there any chance they can make a one time exception? Just this time? I have the money to pay for it now! Please!”
She smirked, and said: “Well, isn’t that a coincidence! One of the registrants dropped out just this morning. I was going to call the people who were turned down. But you are here, so it saves me some work. Plus, I really need to leave the work early. Here is the application. Bring it back with the proof of everything tomorrow.”
I shoved the big yellow envelope under my jacket, as it was beginning to snow, jumped into my rusted out van and drove home.
My daughter was soon dropped off by her friend’s mom. I grabbed her and started to dance around our empty living room, that made a pretty good ball room, because there was no furniture in it, except the old tv sitting on some cardboard boxes and the armchair. also left for me by the previous tenants.
My daughter started to laugh, not knowing what was going on. It has been a long while since she saw me this happy. We danced and laughed, and danced again. I had already long forgotten about being a one day millionaire. I felt like I just won a million dollars all over again!
Five years went by.
We lived in a nice house, in an upscale neighborhood. I drove the latest car. My daughter was taking fencing and dancing and all kinds of classes. We shopped in designer stores. I was one of the corporate CEO’s, in charge of all legal matters of the huge company I worked for. Nothing I kept from our horrible, hungry past. Except a small tin, with a few coins inside of it. Seventy five cents, to be precise. That’s how much money I had that Monday before going to work.
I never added a cent to those three coins. I preserved and protected the tin like it was a magic wand. I carried it in my purse when we moved. We moved twice. Almost immediately, my company moved me to the better apartment which was very close to work. Second time we moved when I was able to put money down on my own, beautiful house.
Every time I had to drive close to where we lived when we were so poor, I would drive a few extra blocks, just to avoid being so close to the place where I was so unhappy. I donated generously to the charities, and volunteered at shelters. I was not afraid of dealing with the poverty. I was afraid to deal with my Past again.
That Saturday was very different. It was a beautiful July’s night. My daughter had just left for the music camp with her class. It was the first time I had ever been away from my daughter for more than a day. I felt very lonely and did not know what to do with myself. The gym closed early on the weekends, and all of my friends were already away on vacations, or had some clubbing plans.
Suddenly, I felt the urge to drive back to our old apartment. I wanted to walk in the park where me and my daughter spent so many hours, running and playing away from the brutal reality we lived in.
I started my shiny car and put the top down. I looked at myself in the mirror. A beautiful woman was looking back at me. A very successful and powerful woman I ran back into the house and grabbed my precious tin. I wanted it to come with me into the Past.
The area did not change much. Some houses were freshly painted, and the trees grew taller. Our old apartment had really nice curtains in it, and the bright pink children’s bike on the balcony. The bike made me smile. It meant that whoever lived there now, was way better off than we were when we lived there.
I walked to the park. They put some benches along the path now. On the third one, there was sitting a petite, dark haired woman. When I approached the bench, she got up, jumped in front of me, startling me.
I stopped, and she said: “She knew you would come back one day! She told me to sit here and wait for you, and to give you this”. Then she handed me a small blue envelope. The envelope caught my attention for a brief moment, and when I lifted my eyes again, the woman was gone. I turned around, looked – no sign of her. Like she never existed.
I sat down and opened the envelope. There was a plain piece of paper in it. I pulled it out, trying to see if there was anything on the other side. Suddenly, I heard the voice, which sounded like a mountain creek in the spring. As I was listening to it, the letters would appear on the paper and disappear at the sentence end.
This is what the piece of paper told me: “Dear stranger. I knew that I would never see you again, since it’s the rule us, angels, have – never go back to the person you blessed with magic. We are not allowed to accept the praise from people.
But I needed to say a few things to you. You were my last project. Yes, us, angels, retire too. We move on to training the new angels. Because very soon we run out of people whom we can not see again, so that they can not praise us.
You gave me back the ticket that could have turned your life around in one night. But you gave it to me, because you have such a wonderful heart.
I followed you back then for quite a while. I knocked that carton of milk off the counter, so that you would leave the house and go to the store that day. Then I left the ticket on the floor. Then I ran into you and you gave me the ticket. Later on that night I was the one spinning the drum with the lottery balls.
I was kneeling by your bed the following day, as I was fearing you would get so sad, you would lose your mind. I was holding you in my arms as you slept that night. I lightly tickled you with my wings the following morning, as you were so upset, you forgot to set the alarm.
I put your file on top of your boss’s desk. And I made him read it.
Everything else you did yourself, because as soon as your boss read your file, I had to leave the Earth for good. Our retirement comes at the precise hour, at the precise minute.
All of the success that came to you – it is all yours.
You might want to wonder, what happened to the ticket? I kept it. It changes the date every year, so, it will forever be good. It is in this envelope. You are free to take it.
But, please, cash it only if you really need it. If you think someone else needs it more, just leave it. I know, you walked away from this fortune once. I also know, it will be much harder the second time around. But think – do you really need it?”
The paper went silent abruptly. I sat there for a while, hoping it will talk again, but it did not and I looked inside the envelope. Now there was a ticket inside. I looked at the numbers. 4, 14, 18, 19, 33, 48. Just like five years ago.
I sat on that bench for a long time. I was not thinking. I knew what I was going to do. I was just sitting there, remembering every detail of the painful Past. I saw it all again so clearly. But for the life of me, I could not remember how Lydia Cents looked like.
I got up and went to my car. I found the pen in the glove compartment and wrote on the envelope: “Lydia Cents” and dropped it into the mailbox near that corner store where I found the magic a few years ago.
I wanted to drive off without looking back. I wanted to put this amazing story behind, as of to preserve it from any doubtful thoughts in the future. But, for some reason, I decided to hold on to the tin.
I picked it up, but it was so heavy and there was no cents music coming from it. I opened the lid, and all I saw were bills inside. Crisp, brown bills. Hundreds. I took a few to look at them closer, but the tin got immediately filled up again. No matter how many bills I took out, the tin was full again.
I knew that the magic was now to stay in my life. Suddenly I realized that I had never even noticed what was on that tin. My daughter brought it home one day, said she had found it on the street. The tin had very pretty colors on it, and an attached lid. I kept it by my bed, feeding it with the little cents I had back then.
I looked at the tin and saw beautiful roses and a gorgeous woman in a pretty hat, smiling. The sign above her pretty portrait said “Enjoy The Heavenly Chocolates From Lydia Cents And Co.”.
A few days ago my dear friend Penny had yet another disappointment in her job search. It has been a while since she started to look for work, and her frustration level is now quite high.
Penny is a very talented photographer and is a very interesting person. So, I suggested she started a blog and shared some of her beautiful work with the World. She was taken a little aback by this proposal and objected by saying that she has no clue about blogging and would not know what to blog about, etc. I told her that all she has to do is just start by sharing the pictures and telling the stories behind them. I interested her with the idea somewhat and she decided to think about it. I promised to help her if she ever considers going that way.
That incident made me think that maybe, I could help someone else like Penny to start creating their web presence by showcasing their skills. To help someone not to concentrate of self-doubt or worry about not being able to define a “niche”. This is how the idea for this article came to me.
HOW NINE’S CATUDIO™ WAS BORN
I am very Thankful that one September evening little kitten Nine showed up at my door. It was a much needed boost of refreshment into the monotony of my life. This little kitten helped me understand what I really want to do. And that is create and share my creativity and direct it all towards one good goal.
Many times did I start blogs before and as many times I quit after a week or so. All of the thoughts, pictures and other stuff would just hang around my PC and almost never would see the Internet World. I lacked the goal.
The goal is important, not the niche
I understand now that I was too demanding of myself to find that “perfect niche” to attract people and to build my own web community. I also understand now that it is not niche that is so important, but what the creator really wants to achieve. The goal is important. That is a niche on its own self.
Finding a new goal to achieve is becoming harder if one had experienced and have already achieved a lot. It is possible to get tired of “achieving” and start craving the leveled existence, however, it is also very hard to get rid of the annoyance of the expectations which our family, friends and society overall impose on us.
What I also found, since some life experiences are so extraordinary for some people, and have been generously poured on some, yet avoided others, it is really not necessary to wait for your niche to form. Just present what you have, give it a try. At worst, you will just move on to something else. At the best, you will continue to improve the presentation of whatever that is that you are trying to share with the World.
Care about self-validation, not the recognition from everyone else
In other words – don not care so much about recognition, care about self validation. Do it your way and there always be someone who would be looking for what you have.
No matter what I could say here, it is only up to you to find the motivation to create something that you have been nurturing in your mind for a while. But what I can encourage you to do – is to try. Start somewhere. Write a line, draw a shape, press a few keys on the keyboard, take a video of your cat’s antics, – whatever it is that you want to share with the World, – try to let it out of the dreams and into the reality.
Be on a lookout for the creativity “triggers” . Turn every event that had an impact on your life in any way into such trigger. See how far beyond the simple event you can extend your experience and may be, share some useful material with others. There could be a million of “triggers” out there – from a break-up to winning the lottery. Whatever it is that motivates you to act, will motivate you to expand on that experience.
So, how did I end up with Nine’s Catudio™?
On one warm September evening I was winterizing my little garden, as the forecast called for the sudden cold front. We live in Alberta, Canada, and our climate is strange, and very unpredictable. It can snow in August here, and be very warm in January.
It was a long and tiring day and I sat down to rest and also read the texts from my fiancée that I missed. He was away for work that week. As I was getting my phone out of my pocket, I heard a piercing meowing cutting the otherwise absolute quietness of our little village.
We do have a few feral cats around here as we are surrounded by farmers, and a few occasional strays. I feed them by buying the discounted meat at the store in town. Sometimes I treat them to a can of real cat food. I just can’t let any cat starve. They occasionally bring kittens. The kittens are usually adopted very quickly. There is always a need of a cat on the farm.
Occasionally, they will have cat fights or make a lot of noise during their mating season. But usually they all quietly carried on with their business. The desperate meowing startled me. It was coming from the road that led out of the village to the highway. It was strange, because that was the only direction where there were no farms. The neighbors who lived that way had the dogs only.
I got out of the chair and tried to see where the sound was coming from. It was the beginning of September and the nights crawled in much faster, so it was already pretty dark by the time I start looking for the kitten. I knew it was a kitten. I have saved so many cats in my life, and had a few myself. Only a desperate, hungry kitten would scream like this.
I started to call into the night in the sweetest voice. Over the years spent with cats, I developed a certain way of talking to them, depending on the circumstances (you can read my “Voice Training” articleshere). When I was a kid, I used to make bets with friends that I could make any cat come to me. We lived in the Old Country back then and the stray cats were a very common thing there. With time I perfected this skill to the point where I hardly ever met a cat who would refuse coming when I call them.
At the same time my phone screen lit with yet another message from my fiancée. I looked at the time. It was almost 9 pm. And that’s when I saw Nine…
I almost stepped on him, as the bright phone screen blinded me in the darkness of the evening. The tiny baby cat was sitting right by my feet, studying me with his huge eyes. I was able to see his face in the light of the phone screen. The poor little thing was very stressed and dehydrated (his third eyelid was covering half of his eyes). Not having time for the sentiments, I rushed into the house and brought the can of turkey meat and a dish with water.
Nine fell to that food and did not stop until the whole can was gone. The size of that can was the size of Nine. Beats me where it all fitted in him.
With full tummy Nine, practically, collapsed by the water dish. I wrapped him up in a warm blanket and sat on the porch stairs, admiring the little miracle traveler and not knowing what to do next. We already had the older Catooges, Sky and Junior. The big boys could seriously harm the baby. But our house was too small to properly isolate him. But there is no way I could leave him on the street… The million thoughts were pacing through my mind that night.
I will skip the rest of the story now, as you can read more or watch the videohere, and, running ahead, say that Nine is the third of the Catooges now. But it was not right away that we took him in. My first motion was – to find him a new home! I was so successful at re-homing the strays before – I knew I would not fail if I tried.
The first thing I did was to take as many pictures as I could and shoot as many video moments as I could. From my previous experiences of re-homing, I knew that a good pleading for help video or a well illustrated post on Facebook page were very helpful when it came to finding a home for the cats that I rescued.
The little guy was so cute and despite the starvation and dehydration, so playful, he quickly gained popularity among my wide array of Facebook friends. I took it a step further and published a compilation on my YouTube channel. The video story of little Nine quickly drew the attention of viewers.
It seems like what I just described took a long time. No. It took me three days. Three days to discover that I did not want little Nine to go. I wanted him here, with us. I deleted the videos with pleas for adoption and removed the initial Facebook post. Instead, I started to make videos for the channel, and take pictures for Nine’s page.
In about a week I realized that I finally knew the way how to allow my piling creative ideas to find a chance to live. The experience of Nine finding me triggered my life long wish of creating my own community dedicated to stray cats. But more! It expanded beyond the kitten finding me event and brought me to realization I finally found my motivation, my new goal, – my niche in the current moment of life.
Turn the Goal into the Niche
Cats are my long life passion, my biggest point of interest, my most captivating source of entertainment, my deepest level of adoration. So, the goal was born quickly – to build this site and get recognized for all I can do and all I can know. Does not matter that there a millions of sites out there with the same mission as mine. THIS WAS MY GOAL. And it was up to me to turn this goal into the niche and expand beyond one life event into something that can now last the lifetime and exist for the benefit of the visitors.
There was an abundance of “triggers” in my life that could have brought me to this point sooner. But many of them I tried to ignore, forget, dismiss, for they were painful or seemed so odd to others… The abusive, horrible childhood; the unexpected, unfair, premature death of my husband; trying to adapt to the new country on my own in my teenage years; None of corner stone events of my life expanded beyond themselves. But a tiny kitten showing up at my doorstep became that much needed event to stop caring about what others think and start creating.
Trying is not scary
In conclusion: as I mentioned in the beginning of this article: do not worry if you can’t define your niche for the blog or a website at this time. Examine every event, – past or present and see if you could identify any potential “triggers” that exist within those events. Once the “trigger” is chosen, expand beyond the event by creating what you can, not what the rest of the world is expecting from you. Even if your new blog is not successful, or your website is something that is not working out how you wanted it to work, – you will still learn something valuable out of the expansion of your experience. And one day, when the right “trigger” comes along, you will know what to do.
It will just simply come to you. I know. It happened to me.
Good Luck and remember – the first step is trying. Please, if you have any comments or would like to get more information on how to get started with a creative content on the Internet, including the web tips and tricks, do not hesitate to contact me.