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We Talk to Catster Writer Angie Bailey About Her Cat Humor Book "Whiskerslist"

Is it possible to love Angie Bailey more? Yes! Especially when she talks about her craft and the art of dealing with negative comments.

 |  Oct 2nd 2013  |   6 Contributions


Did you join us last week for our Google Hangout with Angie Bailey? It was the first time we'd ever tried anything like it and, personally, I think it went pretty all right!

If you missed it, that's okay! Since this first hangout went pretty well, we'll probably try more of these in the future. I'm thinking that since dog people have dog parks, we should do the Internet equivalent of a cat park where everyone hangs out online with their cats. I think that would be awesome -- are you into it?

Anyway, I'm so grateful Angie Bailey was willing to spend an hour talking with me and smoothing out all the technical wrinkles. We discovered that in talking about cats and the Internet and Craigslist, we were actually talking about ourselves.

In case you don't know who Angie Bailey is, allow me to improve your life in one fell swoop! We here at Catster are totally excited that Angie recently released a book called whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a colorful tome of Craigslist-style ads placed by cats. Adorable! Angie is also responsible for keeping things fun and humorous around here on Catster, as well as the genius behind Texts from Mittens, which you've probably seen, like, all over the Internet by now.

In collecting material for whiskerslist, Angie Bailey created a meta Craigslist, asking for photo submissions from her Catladyland audience, drawing us all into her absurd and wonderful sense of humor. She was amazed by the flood of enthusiasm she received in response, especially for things like a "photo of a cat in a glass bowl." However, the process wasn't always so enthusiastic. Angie admits there were a couple moments when she wasn't sure if she should trust her instincts. As someone who confesses to a penchant for people-pleasing, Angie took a proactive approach to her book, checking in with the Cat Writer's Association -- of which she is a member -- in order to make sure she was operating within reasonable limits.

Her proactive instincts proved that her gut feeling was right and that her sensibilities are more than reasonable. While whiskerslist is not a kid's book, Angie did aim to create something her teenage children could read, choosing not to delve into some of the stranger aspects of Craigslist or the more bizarre corners of comedy. However, Angie is grateful for the editing process and the helpful criticism of her kids, which allowed her the distance she needed in order to determine when a whiskerslist entry just fell flat, making the book a tighter collection of pure humor.

Angie confesses to meowing at her cat, Phoebe.

But not all criticism is created equal, especially when dealing with the Internet. The day before our hangout, Angie's Texts from Mittens received the exposure it deserves when BuzzFeed picked up the series, propelling it to other Internet taste-making sites like Refinery29. The popularity of Texts from Mittens generated a bit of vitrol, which, unfortunately, has come to be expected from the world wide web. Angie and Keith Bowers -- who you may know as the Cat Dandy -- both spoke to dealing with trolls, whom the writers both agree are people who are unhappy about everything. While it's easy to get caught up in the few negative comments, Angie and Keith try to take a Zen approach, focusing on the positive and trying to understand the whole context -- including the motivations of people behind the comments -- rather than escalating the battle.

So here's one more positive comment to add to the heap: After speaking with Angie, I am even more in awe of her prowess as a writer and a humorist. I could never generate material at her level of output, and she does so with grace and a warm smile. Check out the whole hangout below, read all of Angie's amazing posts, and stay tuned for both more hangouts and more humor from the one and only Angie Bailey. You can order whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds here -- it would make a perfect holiday gift for a cat lover!

(Did I mention there are some very special kitty appearances in the video?!)

Check out more posts by Angie on Catster:

About Liz Acosta: Catster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Catster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

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