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A Nest of Words: What Kind of Writer-Bird Are You?

A Nest of Words: What Kind of Writer-Bird Are You?

What type of writer-bird are you? Gayle Brandeis seems to be at totally different species of birds and their nest constructing methods and considers how our advantageous feathered associates’ artistic processes may intersect with our personal as writers.

Creativity abounds within the pure world. I really like studying concerning the wild methods creatures assemble their houses, the beautiful selection of supplies and methods they use, and thought it might be enjoyable to take a look at differing types of nest constructing and contemplate how our high quality feathered pals’ artistic processes may intersect with our personal as writers.

Have a look—what sort of writer-bird are you? How do you construct your personal nest of phrases?

Joe Schneid, Louisville, Kentucky [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) builds its nest out of ephemeral issues—dandelion down, thistle, spider silk, moss—crafting a thimble-sized house that’s each versatile and surprisingly robust.

In the event you’re a Ruby-throated Hummingbird as a author, you typically begin with a wisp of concept, a flash of inspiration—a picture, say, or a compelling phrase; should you hold constructing and constructing upon this, you’ll be able to craft a bit of writing that may maintain you, that may shock you, one that may stand up to the weather.

Specimen: Margaret Atwood

“When I’m writing a novel, what comes first is an image, scene, or voice. Something fairly small. Sometimes that seed is contained in a poem I’ve already written. The structure or design gets worked out in the course of the writing. I couldn’t write the other way round, with structure first. It would be too much like paint-by-numbers.” (Supply)

Specimen: Toni Morrison

“I am interested in the complexity, the vulnerability of an idea.” (Supply)

Shantanu Kuveskar [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Widespread Tailorbird

The Widespread Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) creates an intricate body first, stitching leaves along with its beak and silk thread, then constructing its nest inside the body it has constructed.

In case you are a Widespread Tailorbird as a author, you wish to know your construction earlier than you begin; you create an overview, a skeleton to hold your story, then flesh out all the small print as you go.

Specimen: Orhan Pamuk

“I’m a relatively disciplined writer who composes the whole book before beginning to execute and write it. Of course, you can’t hold – you cannot imagine a whole novel before you write it; there are limits to human memory and imagination. Lots of things come to your mind as you write a book, but again, I make a plan, chapter, know the plot.” ((Supply)

Specimen: Marlon James

“I plot meticulously. I have books and books and charts and charts. And then I promptly ignore all of it. Because I think what I really wanted was to get my head in order, and then I’ll write.” (Supply)

Elgollimoh [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

European Bee Eater

The European Bee Eater (Merops apiaster) digs a trench into the sand on a river financial institution. It drills with its invoice and digs with its ft, after which burrows itself into the earth.

In the event you’re a European Bee Eater as a author, your work is deeply grounded in place. Place holds you as a author, evokes you as a author, turns into an countless font of materials, turns into a personality in your work.

Specimen: William Faulkner

“I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.” (Supply: The Paris Evaluation Interviews, vol. II)

Specimen: Louise Erdrich

“Through the close study of a place, its people and character, its crops, products, paranoias, dialects and failures, we come closer to our own reality. It is difficult to impose a story and a plot on a place. But truly knowing a place provides the link between details and meaning. Location, whether it is to abandon it or draw it sharply, is where we start.” (Supply)

Charles J Sharp [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Sociable Weaver

The Sociable Weaver (Philetairus socius) nests in teams. They create an enormous compound, a co-housing complicated of nests that may accommodate as much as 100 sociable weaver households.

In case you’re a Sociable Weaver as a author, you like to work in group, to be half of a writing group, or a workshop, or be in collaboration with different artistic people. You are feeling remoted in solitude and get energized whenever you share your artistic course of with others.

Specimen: Lin-Manuel Miranda

“The fun for me in collaboration is, one, working with other people just makes you smarter; that’s proven.” (Supply)

Specimens: Organizations like VONA, Cave Canem, Kundiman, Canto Mundo and others supply retreats and conferences for writers from marginalized communities, constructing a collective, empowering nest that holds an enormous quantity of voices; see additionally organizations like Ladies Who Submit, a gaggle that brings ladies collectively to help each other as they ship their writing out into the world.

Kalyanvarma [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Nice Hornbill

The Nice Hornbill (Buceros bicornis), then again, settles alone inside an deserted woodpecker gap or pure cavity it finds in a tree. Earlier than it lays its eggs, it seals itself contained in the nest behind a wall of mud (and, typically, poop).

In case you are a Nice Hornbill as a author, you want solitude to write down. Isolation doesn’t hassle you—it nourishes you. You’re your personal greatest firm and wish to shut out the world if you write by no matter means essential.

Specimen: Virginia Woolf

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” (“A Room of One’s Own”)

Specimen: Jonathan Franzen

“On Franzen’s desk sit a pair of earplugs that he wears when he writes, over which he places noise-cancelling headphones that pipe “pink noise” – white noise at decrease frequency. His pc has had its card eliminated, so he can’t be tempted by pc video games. The ethernet port has been bodily sealed, so he can’t hook up with the web. Whereas writing The Corrections, he even wore a blindfold as he touch-typed.” (Supply)

Lip Kee Yap from Singapore, Republic of Singapore [CC BY-SA 2.0], by way of Wikimedia Commons

Edible-Nest Swiftlet

The Edible-Nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus) makes its nest utterly out of its personal saliva, constructing layer upon layer of its personal sticky secretions on the partitions of darkish sea caves.

In case you are an Edible-nest Swiftlet as a author, you write instantly from your personal expertise, constructing tales from your personal physique, from the deepest caves of your life, your self.

Specimen: Khadijah Queen

“In writing the body pours onto the page for me; it is what I inhabit in thought and in physicality, top of mind and in the forefront of experience.” (Supply)

Specimen: Lydia Yuknavitch

“…I wrote story after story. There was no inside out. There were words and there was my body, and I could see through my own skin. I wrote my guts out. Until it was a book. Until my very skin made screamsong.” (The Chronology of Water, p. 184)

Joseph C Boone [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Satin Bowerbird

The Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) decorates its nest with all kinds of objects, something that catches their fancy—spoons, cash, consuming straws, bits of foil, shells, flowers, even a glass eye, have all been noticed within the bowers of a bowerbird—making every nest a singular creation.

In case you are a Satin Bowerbird as a author, you discover inspiration far and wide. You’re a broad, voracious reader and have an insatiable starvation to study concerning the world; your work displays a synthesis of all of your obsessions, all of your influences, all the numerous phenomena that spark your curiosity.

Specimen: Patricia Smith

(When requested the place her poems and tales come from) “Every damned where. Honestly. Snippets of conversation, news clippings, the past, the present, “My Strange Obsession,” the longer term, buried harm, Honey Boo Boo, unleashed pleasure, and so on., and so on., and so on. The trick is to know that every thing, regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant, incorporates a narrative. As quickly as I open my eyes each morning, I’ve to slender them towards the onslaught of concepts hurtling in my path. I’m typically hampered by an unimaginable unhappiness, understanding I’ll by no means have the ability to write every part that evokes me.” (Supply)

Specimen: Carmen Maria Machado

“I consider myself a little scavenger. I go around and take elements from different genres that can serve my needs. I build it all together in a little trash-nest, and that’s my story!” (Supply)

Which nest feels most like house to you? It’s probably you related with multiple—as people, we’re fortunately not restricted to at least one fashion of creation; typically one undertaking would require a sure sort of nest constructing whereas the subsequent calls for an entire totally different method (and of course each challenge can maintain a mess of approaches. All the author specimens listed above might match into a spread of nests.). I flit most strongly between Ruby-Throated Hummingbird/Edible Nest Swiftlet/Satin Bowerbird nests in my very own writing life, though I see bits of my course of mirrored in all of these buildings (besides, maybe, the Widespread Tailorbird—I’ve by no means been a plotter, though I’m open to giving this strategy a attempt.) I really like figuring out we will discover widespread floor in our creativity with the creatures round us, love how writing can join us not simply to different people, however to the broader pure world if we pay shut sufficient consideration. So, right here’s to spreading our wings. Right here’s to constructing writerly nests that may greatest maintain and carry our music.

Gayle Brandeis is writer of the craft e-book Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Ladies Who Write (HarperOne) and a number of other novels, together with The Guide of Lifeless Birds (HarperCollins), winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction. Her most up-to-date e-book is the memoir The Artwork of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mom’s Suicide (Beacon Press). You’ll find out extra at



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