Friday, April 9, 2010

A Robin's Mirror Image

I have to share this little blip that happened to me yesterday. Some of you may think it's a tad on the sickly side, while others just might see some wisdom in it. Yup, 'cause I'm a flowing stream of motherly wisdom knee-deep in kid mucus, laundry, and teenage stench.  

But seriously, I want to give a dead bird some respect!

While my husband and a couple of my kids were rough-housing in a rousing game of basketball in the driveway--they are all hockey our other two kids roughly scattered over our lawn and through our backwoods with the reg's of the neighborhood obviously desiring a trip to the emergency room, I chose to find that quiet place inside my head. So I moseyed out on the porch to christen the warm weather and sit on our swing for the first time this spring to find...Ah-hun...a DEAD robin sprawled out on the seat. Oowey!! Gross! And it was huge. 

Of course living with four guys--sure, the youngest is 6 yrs old but so what?--you're thinking their hunter instincts kicked in and they swooped together, fighting over who got to slamdunk the withering carcass thru-dah-hooop. WRONG! Not one of them, including my husband, would touch it. Great. Takes a woman to do everything. 

But here's the thing: later, a nature show came on TV and ironically it was about robins. (Do birds speak from the dead? I swear I think I saw his/her ghostly beak flaring at the cowardly males sitting on the couch.)

Apparently, when a robin sees it's reflection in a window it thinks it's another bird. So, to deter any prowler from invading their territory--which technically was my PORCH--they flutter their wings and gently bump into the window claiming/marking their domain. You know, kind of like a dog peeing around the property or a King gorilla beating his chest. Only this robin might have taken it a tad too seriously???

Yeah, so it got me thinking. How do we as writers mirror each other? In what ways is it good? Have you been so intrigued by someone else's writing that you just needed to figure it out and use it for your own growth as a writer? 

Prey tell!!


  1. Great post Sheri, thanks for making me think. I think as writers we emulate each other more often than we know. I've never copied another writer's idea/metaphor/voice on purpose but I know I am influenced by everything I've ever read.

    There is a great scene in the otherwise good but not great film "Flash of Genius". In it Greg Kinnear is arguing his case against Ford and he uses Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities as an example.

    Without going into great detail what he basically says is that Dickens did not invent any of the single words: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." But what he did do was put them together in a way that had never been done before and now is one of the most well known passages in English Literature.

    Just my two cents.

    Shameless promotion:

    I have an awesome guest post today on my blog by Cole Gibsen.

    This one is pure query/submission gold folks in which she shares the ACTUAL query that landed her an agent and the correspondence that ensued.

    Please stop by to read, comment and follow.


  2. My point exactly, Matthew. The Dickens' example is perfect. And yeah, I was just heading over to check out your guest blog. (Another sick kid at home today. Blah...messes with ME schedule.)

    Thanks for the comment and insight.

  3. Oooohhh thought provoking so early *Cough*
    I think Matthew said it. I'm sure inspired by the way my heroes write, and don't TRY to write like them, but I'm sure somehow they've burrowed into my subconscious and made me a better writer.

  4. I definitely think we all try to emulate those writers we admire the most. It is my goal to be the next Ursula LeGuin, to write great literary fantasy. A lofty goal, I know, but if you don't aspire to be better than you are then you never will be. And as my son says, "Practice makes pretty good."

  5. I think we do it instinctively, whether we realize it or not. I'll admit I would give anything to be able to write like Kathi Appelt did in The Underneath! :-)

  6. I think we pretty much taught ourselves to write based on imitating writers that we love. Granted we have a voice that's uniquely our own, but we never ever would have been able to start writing if we hadn't been readers first.

  7. You know, I think that's one way we all find our unique voices, by emulating others. If feels suspiciously like a parent-child relationship.

  8. Great post! I do this all the time. I think every writer I know, published or pre-published has something in their writing for me to admire and strive to do better. :)

  9. In my most recent manuscripts, I've tried to mirror the elements that most intrigued and fascinated me as a YA reader -- hauntings, family secrets, damsels in distress, wicked guardians, murders, hidden passages, mysteries that appeared to be heading for one solution, then veered off to a totally unexpected (but logical) different conclusion. I have tried to write some historical/paranormal/mysteries that I would have wanted to read as a teenager.

    Now I just have to hope that my editors think there are other readers out there like me!

  10. Thanks Angela. Great to see you over here! Dianne, I hear you & I'm sure you've got a great thing. Positive thoughts. ";-)

  11. Thanks for overlooking my 'intriguing' problem. Fixed it. Dang dry eye.


!SPLAT Your Awesomeness! I love to hear from you!


Related Posts with Thumbnails