Write Like a Bird

In 1854 Henry Thoreau wrote, “There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged.”

The little bus in the photo is my home. It was a school bus with 19 seats when I bought it two years ago. I removed most of the seats and have slowly and cheaply built a beautiful little home for myself in there. It’s not finished. Like the two novels I’m writing.
It’s cost me very little to get to where it’s at, but taken plenty of thinking, a lot of frustration, quite some profanity, and been an absolute joy. Like the two novels I’m writing.
It has no shower yet, but I can shower at beaches or in rivers. Which is wonderful. I collect free electricity from the sun and stay in free campgrounds like the beautiful one in the photo, which is at Thora, NSW, Australia. That’s Thora, not Thoreau, but I think he’d have approved.

Unable to write lately, I got out of the city a few days ago, and last night I wrote again. I feel like a bird who just got his voice back.
Do you think maybe Henry was right ?


8 thoughts on “Write Like a Bird

  1. The book I’m writing begins with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Every spirit builds itself a house.”

    I confess that I’ve never been so unhappy as in this past year, at a job with full-time pay and part-time work. I fill the idle time with blog chats and sneaky under-the-desk writing, but the reality is that I crave hard work and feel sick when I don’t have it. We’ll be moving in May and I refuse to settle for a house with no garden or a job with no work.

    Henry was right. You’re living the life.

    • “Every spirit builds itself a house.” That is awesome. And so true. If you begin with a truth like that, your obligation becomes to write a book true enough to live up to that one. Having now read a couple of your short stories, I have no doubt that you can, and will. And I will certainly want to read it. You’re right not to settle. Even a small amount of misery breeds a lot. And you’ve helped me realise something too. I’m not working hard enough. Because of increased back pain I can’t do much physically lately, and because of increased painkillers I think less well, which contributed to not writing much. But I realise (that’s realize in your language hey) that I’m better off writing a lot of lesser quality stuff and throwing it away, maybe keeping some ideas, than just not doing it, because the work will make me happy even if the quality of it doesn’t. Thank you. P.S I love the idea of “sneaky under-the-desk writing” when they expect you to sit there and make like an ornament…

      Sent from my Harry iPants

  2. Thanks for that, it’s kind of you. I always cringe a little when someone reads my stories, as I’m sure you can imagine. I used to be such a good girl!

    Anyway, I’m glad that you’ve rediscovered the joy of work and word count. I toss out huge chunks of work anyway, even while in my right mind, but there is usually some nugget worth salvaging. I think you should write as much as you can and save every bit of it, so that when you’re feeling better you will have a trove of raw material to work with.

    I’d love to see the inside of the bus, by the way. How did you manage it, with all the trouble your back is giving you?

  3. I was never a good girl…
    It may well turn out that I am currently writing crud, but I’m enjoying it anyway.
    And I feel really free to write crud now. Nobody will sneak up behind me and snatch up my ipad and publish what I’m writing.
    I haven’t had to do much else in the past two years besides build my home in the bus, and I just do a bit at a time. Also, my back was only this bad the last year.
    I’ve been meaning to do a short video of the bus for a while now and put it on youtube, I’ll let you know when it’s done.

  4. I’m curious. Where is Thora? I’m an ex-Sydney gal stuck in Italy and I hear those pines. Pines? I agree with the home-building, so that the home has a pulse. I’ve done as much as I could here, though we are planted in the earth. It’s lovely, isolated, incomplete. Where do you travel to mostly?

  5. Thora is so beautiful, it’s just down the mountain from Dorrigo, before you get to Bellingen. Mostly I only travel between Sydney and South East Queensland, as my kids still need me around a bit. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.
    But there are so many achingly beautiful places just in that area, especially if you go the inland roads one direction and the coast roads the other.
    Lovely, isolated, incomplete sounds wonderful.
    I tried to see your blog, but it seems you’ve shut down…
    What part of Sydney were you from ?

    • Grew up in the west, went to uni then took off. Had an unhealthy Paris obsession and never came back. Would love to though, and my kids though tourists mostly are smitten with the place. Your corner of the world sounds full of beauty.
      Dunno what’s going on with the blog. Must find some expertise.

      • I grew up around Castle Hill, lived near Richmond until I was divorced.
        Now I’m kind of a gypsy, but my kids are in Sydney, also my girlfriend, so I venture to the edge of the city, near Hornsby…
        Not sure how long since you’ve been here, but it’s not what it was.
        But parts of it are still beautiful. And much of what’s around it…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s