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How Agatha Christie’s “Kittens” Game Helped Prepare Her to Write Her Famous Mysteries.

When people ask about career change, or also, how to get more fun in life, I often find myself telling people: “What you did as a child is probably something you’d enjoy as an adult, for work and for play.”

I’m fascinated by how a person’s play as a child can prefigure their adult life. For instance, a friend who played with her three dollhouses well into her teens is now an interior designer.

I was reminded of this when I read Agatha Christie’s fascinating Autobiography.

In recalling her childhood days, Christie noted of her nurse that “Perhaps because she was an old woman and rheumatic, my games were played around and beside, but not wholly with, Nursie. They were all make-believe.”

Christie would sit near her nurse,  and play games with “The Kittens.”

“Nursie was too wise ever to talk to me about them, or to try to join in the murmurings of conversation going on round her feet. Probably she was thankful that I could amuse myself so easily.”

Many years later, while Christie was recovering from the flu, her mother suggested that she might try writing a story.

Christie got the idea to write a detective story when she was working in a medical dispensary. She started to think about how the murder would be committed, and by whom, and why.

As the story started to take shape, she began to form her characters, and then, she recounts, “I took all three [characters] off the tram with me to work upon–and walked up Barton Road muttering to myself just as in the days of the Kittens.”

Much later in the book, reflecting on the process of writing, she says, “Oh well, I suppose it is just the same as when I was four years old talking to the kittens. I am still talking to the kittens, in fact.”

For me, this story has three lessons:

  1. We never know what’s a “waste of time,” for ourselves or for other people.
  2. What we did as a child is probably something we’d enjoy as an adult, for work or play.
  3. People do best what comes naturally.

Do you agree with some or all of these conclusions?

The post How Agatha Christie’s “Kittens” Game Helped Prepare Her to Write Her Famous Mysteries. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.



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