Writing Your Novel: How the bird outside my window teaches us a lesson in writing and life…

Every morning when I wake, I trudge to the bathroom to empty my bladder. It is a daily activity most of us take for granted.

The house Anne and I live in was built with a standard window in the bathroom was positioned low enough to allow an unobstructed and fully-detailed vista into the bathroom, right over the tank of the toilet. If left without a treatment or a blind, the aperture would allow an unobstructed glimpse at my daily urinary activity. Since the neighbor’s house sits quite close and several of its windows are situated in fortuitous positions, if someone next door were up and about and looking out at just the opportune time, their day and their appetite for breakfast would be ruined.

So Anne, the woman of my dreams and the person with whom I am planning on spending the rest of my days, has, with the imagination of Martha Stewart and the practicality of Bob Villa, placed a loose stained glass window, a keepsake from a former home, on the sill, blocking the lower half of the window. When I’m standing there in the morning filling the bowl and reveling in relief, still somewhere between sleep and total consciousness, I am able to look over the stained glass and out onto the world. Most days I check the skies as I mentally check off all the tasks that must be tackled in the next eighteen hours. Pages that need to be written…bills to paid…dogs to be fed…emails to be sent…

One morning several weeks ago, I noticed a bird sitting on the nearest downspout of the neighbor’s house. I’m not an ornithologist so you have to trust me. It was a bird. It had the two required wings and chicken-like feet.  It was a robin or an oriole or something close. The bird had several tendrils of material in his talons. The lots in our neighborhood are wooded; it looked to be detritus of the forest.

The creature attempted to get the long, stringy stuff to stay put on the downspout. “Cool, she’s trying to build a nest,” I thought. I could see why this perch was ideal as a nesting place. It was up high and under the eaves out of the sun and the elements. Perfect for starting a new family.

After multiple tries to position the stringy stuff, the material dropped to the ground and the bird flew off. Over the next several days I noticed, the bird doing the same thing. A new batch of stringy, branchy, woody material was flown to the downspout. And this determined bird would work at trying to get a nest started. But each time, it wouldn’t stay put and would fall harmlessly into the flower bed below. After about a week of witnessing the failures, I said, “I guess it’s not meant to be.”

Two weeks later, about a week ago, I awoke early; walked to the bathroom, looked down at the toilet and made sure my aim was true.  As my stream began to flow, I glanced out the window as the light was gaining hold of the day. “Son of a bitch!” I proclaimed out loud. “She did it!”

Sitting on the angled portion of the downspout under the eaves was a perfectly formed circular nest. I was ecstatic for the little creature. She had persevered.

The bird’s persistence had paid off. She was unrelenting in her determination. I harkened me back to the trials I encountered in getting my first book published. These tribulations and lessons I will relay to you in the coming weeks.

If you are to be a writer, get started. Sit down and write!

©copyright 2015 David Perry

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