Chad Norman holds Simona while sitting in their green office chair they've shared many hours in over the years. Submitted photo

TRURO – A local poet is using his talent to help a charity that’s brought joy to his life over the past 12 years.

Chad Norman’s latest book, Simona: A Celebration of the S.P.C.A., will see a portion of its proceeds go toward the Colchester SPCA.

When Norman and his wife moved into their Truro home in the autumn of 2008, they knew it would include a pet. With the SPCA being nearby, the couple decided to rescue a cat. It was April 2009 when they met Simona and her sister, Ramona, and decided to bring the former home.

“It wasn’t long after bringing her home that we started noticing a few things about Simona,” said Norman.

Doing some work around the house saw a number of tradespeople coming and going.

“In most cases, they were men and in a lot of cases, those men were wearing work boots. We noticed she was quite frightened and would run off and hide,” he said. Another instance saw Simona hide when she heard the brakes of an oil truck making a delivery.

“We put a few things together in that at her former home, there must’ve been a man there with work boots, who drove a truck,” said Norman. “We believe she suffered some cruelty and some physical violence as there is an impression of a scar on her nose. I had been trying to understand how people can be like that toward pets.”

It was when Norman was thinking about Simona’s background that he began putting words to paper. While Simona has become more familiar and comfortable, Norman says she’s never really gotten over her fear or trauma, “especially when she hears a man’s voice.”

Despite her past, Simona has become quite the character.

“We’ve had nothing but joy, laughter and entertainment from her. She keeps us aware that things happen to make people do things that are hurtful,” said the author.

Chad Norman’s cat, Simona, is the subject of his most recently published book, which celebrates and supports the Colchester SPCA. Submitted photo

He says the cover photo really says it all.

“Her eye staring out says a lot, but the one hidden says a lot, too,” he said. “It tells the story that she, as a cat, still suffers but she can still be comfortable enough to seek a spot under the tree at Christmas and be at peace in her presence.”

Throughout their years together, Norman and Simona have become particularly close thanks to back shift leaving days where it was just the two of them. Simona would often sit next to Norman in a large office chair, including those times he was writing about his muse—she on the right; Norman on the left. It became such a frequent thing that the chair now “tilts over to the left,” he says.

The poet even wrote a piece for the Colchester SPCA titled The Human’s Chair.

Simona came together over a span of seven years, with completion in the spring of 2016.

“I submitted manuscripts of Simona to 10 different presses in Canada and the (United) States, and all rejected it,” said Norman. “It wasn’t until I got an invitation, of all places India, from a press there that Simona was published.”

With close to 20 books being published throughout his career, Norman says this was the second time he had a press approach him requesting a manuscript be submitted.

“It brought me to a point of total confusion and exhaustion,” he said, adding the press found him through the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia. “I thought this was the perfect time for Simona. I sent them the manuscript and they took it immediately. The relationship with this press is one of the best I’ve had with all my books so far.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of NovelTea Bookstore Café in a fire five months ago, Norman has yet to be able to get the book out to readers in a public space. Instead, those wanting a copy of the book are able to email him at namronskichacha@gmail.com or find his personal page on Facebook and send a message.

“I’m signing copies when people want them, I’m mailing them out, or some people want to meet somewhere,” he said, adding he’s also left them in his mailbox for customers.

From what he’s sold so far, Norman will soon be making a donation to the Colchester SPCA.