There’s Birding, and then there’s the Black Bird

 This is where I am these days. Somewhat obsessed with birding, which is about spreadsheets and lists. I chased a life bird this weekend, or “twitched” as the Brits call it. A lark sparrow was reported in the next county north and I went two days in a row, first with Tony Lance, THE Robertson County birder, and then following his directions the next day, when I nearly ran over the pair. This is not my picture, or even the picture of the bird I saw, but it is a nice picture of what the little devil looks like.

 Also reading somewhat obsessively, hard to stop at midnight and then it’s hard to sleep.

And all this means, I’m avoiding writing, or rewriting for the sixteenth million time, The Snow Lion. It keeps getting better. But I have to struggle with the black bird whenever I work on it.

Speaking of which, I’m reading the latest biography of L.M. Montgomery, which doesn’t add much so far to the journals, which I have read and which are better than her novels, harrowing. She knew the black bird very very well.

2014 Reading List:

25. Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age, Bohumil Hrabal
20-24. The Comfort of Muddy Saturdays, The Lost Art of Gratitude, The Charming Quirks of Others, The Forgotten Affairs of Youth, The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds, Alexander McCall Smith
19. The Homesman, Glendon Swarthout
18. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
17. The Hollow Hills, Ransom Riggs
14-16, Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, Veronic Roth
8-13   44 Scotland Street, The Sunday Philosophy Club, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, The Right Attitude to Rain, The Careful Use of Compliments, Alexander McCall Smith
7. The Blythes Are Quoted, L.M. Montgomery
6. Moonkind, Sarah Prineas
5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tart
4. The Golden Day, Ursala Dubosarsky
2-3. The Haunted Hotel, The Queen of Hearts, Wilkie Collins
1. The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton

1-4. Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Rilla of Ingleside, LM Montgomery

3 thoughts on “There’s Birding, and then there’s the Black Bird

  1. I had no idea L.M. Montgomery was depressed. That is so sad. I've been such an Anne fan from childhood, and visited PEI and the house once, but I don't know much about her.

    Or maybe all writers are just depressed. Even the successful ones. Such a depressing thought.

    I hope you fight off the black bird. Although don't kick him away too far; he inspires such SCARY BIRDS in your work. 🙂


  2. She committed suicide. I never knew this until I read her journals a a few years ago. They are riveting. And she toiled over them to ensure her reputation and legacy would go down the way she wanted it to. Rewrote them several times, even slicing out pages and replacing them with sanitized versions. And still they are blunt, even shocking.


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