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Words and a Bird

April 15, 2010

Not only am I seeing birds everywhere, but I’m also realizing that they’re turning up in the books I read. One of my favorite books about writing is Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Her book was a revelation when I first read it, about 10 years ago, and continues to inspire me. And I find myself rereading the chapter called “Shitty First Drafts” over and over and over again. Admittedly, her book is more about writing (or, the writing life) than about birds in and of themselves, but the concept of patience that lurks behind birdwatching is in fact the same concept of patience that needs to accompany the writer. Constantly.

So, one could say I’ve found the perfect hobby to hone my patience skills. “Just take it bird by bird,” Anne Lamott’s father had advised her brother, when he was procrastinating and getting all edgy over an assignment. What a sensible model for life!

I forgot to mention that I also heard a Winter Wren last week! Here’s the bird in question and it’s VERY loud and tiny!

I didn’t take that picture and that is not my hand. It must belong to one of the people who run this site.

OK, I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t hear the Winter Wren. I was told that it had sung, but I totally missed it. (Remember? it was my Saturday of missed birds, of heard-but-not-seen specimens, and of not-heard and not-seen birds.) I was too busy searching for the owl I didn’t end up seeing. It was the same day my binoculars refused to cooperate with me and the day I saw more twigs than birds. (Later that evening, I also tried to look around my house using my binoculars, but that kind of minutia got old pretty fast.) Yes, bird by bird.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Fireweed permalink
    April 16, 2010 2:38 pm

    I didn’t know Anne Lamott had a book about writing. Now I need to read it. I read another book of hers that I loved. It was hilarious. It was called “Grace (Eventually).” Actually, I cheated and listened to the audiobook but that made it all the more entertaining.

    Wrens are the cutest, sweetest little birds. People think they are dull and drab, but I love them!

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