My Year with Birds

It's been one year and two weeks since I first sat down at this desk as a full-time writer. First chose to stare out this window through tendrils of ivy and say, "YES," to a risk I just barely had the guts to take.

In time, I'd hang a bird-feeder -- a memory that life is more than just the worlds I was trying to build out of the scattered bits floating around in my head. And yesterday, I took this picture of my friend the cardinal, who seemed to look at me and say, "Hello. I see you. I know that you can see me, too, but I am not afraid."

That, I suppose, is what I have been trying to say all year:

Is what I was trying to say when I wrote, edited, and re-edited the stories in my book... when I arranged them, packaged them, and thrust them out into the world. Is what I was trying to say when I wrote three new feature-length screenplays, and started in on a fourth. Seven screenplays total! What was I thinking?!? How dare I think this wasn't a fool's errand. A pipe dream. A lark.

And yet here I am, seven screenplays in. With four short films in various stages of pre-production with four different directors (if I can call myself a director). Here I am with oh-so-many new photographs, poems, essays, and even paintings to my name.

Here I am, with a whopping total of a couple hundred bucks of this-year income, and a whole new crop of fears:

Fear that our second attempt at crowd-funding my LOCKER 212 is bound to fail.
Fear that I will never find someone to represent and sell one of my feature-lengths.
Fear that I will always scrabble my way somewhat-alone through life, in a small house in the woods.
Fear the song I recorded last week and sent to my "real-musician" friend was silly, and he'd laugh.
Fear that I'm essentially a hobbyist -- will always be "just" a hobbyist.


But my real-musician friend actually likes the song, and this morning asks me to send the lyrics.
And people -- even people who aren't my mom -- say kind things about my book in reviews.
And others love my screenplays.
And I -- this conflagration of flesh and bone, of angelic sprite and all the insecurity and fear that one man can muster -- find hope and joy and beauty in the midst of all of it. Find peace in turmoil, solidarity in loneliness.

It has been (and continues to be) a Good Year.

I have taken a stupid, ridiculous risk. I have gambled on myself and I have not won, but lived. Because as cheesy and overwrought as it is to say it, life is not a destination, but something much more wonderful.

Life is Now. Life is being a father, a brother, a son... a Maker.

So this morning -- this Father's Day -- I look out my window at more cardinals, and at the little red-headed brown-birds that have come to eat and raise their young in the vines that wrap my home. My friends. My fellow-fliers. I watch them come, I watch them go. Raising their own families and living their own lives.

Sometimes they are afraid. But always, they fly.


  1. Congratulations on being brave enough to opt out of others' expectations and opt in to your own dreams. It's scary out here, but it beats the hell out of doing something that makes you dread getting up in the morning.

    Happy Father's Day!


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