Most every morning I like to get out on my front deck and talk to my friends. They don’t say much back. Mostly they just sing at me.
I’m talking about birds, of course. Most likely the title of the blog would have tipped you off, I suspect – but being a writer there will always be a part of me that likes to pretend that you never saw that coming.
It’s that whole “fooled you, didn’t I” syndrome that old farts like me are all too often susceptible to.
I start with the blue jays. For them I just poke my nose out the side door and lay a handful of peanuts on the outside of the dining room window. Usually I am joined by my cat, Kismet, who likes to sit on the inside of the dining room window and thump her head against the glass trying to catch some of those birds – through the window glass. I used to feel bad about that. I used to worry that she was damaging her brain cells – but judging from the way that she nuzzles me every time I head for that door, I think she truly enjoys the experience.
Besides, cats don’t really have all that many brain cells. Most of her primary synapses deal with “Feed me”, “Pet me” and “Go away”.
After the blue jays are fed I take my basket of peanuts and stale bread and step out to the front deck.
Oh yes, I have a little basket that I carry under my arm. I look a little like a gone-to-seed bearded Snow White, that is if Snow White were crossed with a Yeti.
I lay a row of peanuts out for the crows along the deck railing. They really enjoy walking along that deck railing, trying to see how many peanuts they can poke into their beak before the drop one.
Then, I step out onto the front lawn and begin breaking up bread for the smaller birds. Sometimes they are already out there waiting for me. They sing to me. The tunes of the grackle and the starling are not particularly beautiful, but they are pleasingly unique. Basically, none of them know the tune and most of them are singing off-key and making up the words as they go.
Shoot, maybe grackles and starlings are really writers in disguise.
If they’re not out there they soon arrive by the twos and threes and before I finish scattering the bread I have an entire power-line full of feathered Steve-worshipers. Each of them singing in their own peculiar way – Steve is a god, Steve is a big hairy god.
Yes, I like that.
When I don’t think to feed them – when I am running late for work or it is too darned cold or I am feeling far too sorry for myself – they hang out there for a while and then they disappear.
They’ll depend upon me – but only up to a certain point. After that, their big hairy god’s big hairy feet begin to develop a peculiarly clay-ish aroma.
Readers are a little like birds that way. If you don’t feed them regularly they will forget you ever walked the earth. Not all of us are Harper Lee or even J.D. Salinger.
If you don’t get enough new stuff out there they will most likely find somebody else’s books to read.
The same goes for blogs or Twitters or websiting or Facebook updates or anything along the lines of social networking. Consistency is all-important. If you post with any sort of predictable frequency not only will your readership maintain itself – but it will grow.
Remember that Faberge Shampoo commercial? “And she told two friends and they told two friends and so on?”
Well, if you aren’t consistent in your updating – none of those friends will have anything to talk about.
So, that’s the lesson of the day.
Let’s keep those friends talking, shall we?
As for me, I’ve got some birds to feed.
But before I do that let me throw in a couple of random tangents.
Tangents are always cool.
They fill up empty space quite nicely.
For example, when your main character is about to go and kick the be-whumpkins out of a couple of random evil bozoes – it’s always helpful to have him thinking about how much be-whumpkin-kicking is like sledding down a hill.
I went to see the movie Tin-Tin: The Secret of The Unicorn. We watched it at Bayers Lake – because they’ve got the best movie treats in Halifax. We went to the 3D version, which was kind of cool.
I really enjoyed the experience. The motion-capture was brilliant. Watching this, I kept thinking to myself – I wish they’d make a Doc Savage movie with this technique. The sort of blending of cartoon and life would be perfect for a pulp hero like Doc Savage.
Don’t talk to me about Ron Ely. I try to pretend they never went there.
Jamie Bell was terrific as Tin-Tin but the real star of the show was Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock. His facial manipulation is brilliant. The man is made out of Indian rubber.
I wonder how many people caught Cary Elwes as the pilot of the plane?
yours in storytelling,