Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.


August 2015

Hello, Dani.

Here’s what’s fun about writing.

First, the concept of my work in progress, the log line, if you will.

Trevor Larson is a promising young singer-songwriter until an accident leaves him unable to play, and as he finds a new direction for his life, he is plagued by poor decisions as he clings to his dream of being a musician.

I painstakingly outlined the story from beginning to end in three acts. I developed the main and secondary characters in detail and the roles they would play in the story.  I created chapter summaries. As I began working on the story, I’ve made minor changes to everything along the way.

Around Chapter 8 or 9, I introduced a few tertiary characters who served a purpose, but were supposed to go away. Most of them did. But Dani insisted on showing up again in Chapter 10.  And Chapter 11.  And she’s still there in Chapter 12.  She went from tertiary to secondary a long time ago.

The fun part is that she is developing a very interesting relationship with Trevor.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  But there’s a chemistry between the two that’s undeniable.  Good old-fashioned girl meets boy.

Just like Trevor’s life, this story is taking an unexpected path.  This is why I like to write.

I’m time traveling.

This must be what it was like back then.

When windows were always open.

We’ve been without air conditioning for a few days now.

I’m sitting in my room trying to write with the window open.

Every car that goes by grabs my attention.

Across the street, kids are playing.

A train blows its whistle and heads for the tunnel.

The cicadas buzz in their pulsing rhythm.

A cool breeze blows across my feet.

My keyboard is different, but it’s a keyboard.

This must be what it was like back then.

Exempli gratia.

mountains for web

They say

that millions of years ago the earth was flat and covered by the oceans.

Then the tectonic plates moved and collided and crinkled and pushed up mountains.

Rivulets of rain water formed a brook, then a stream, then a river,
taking with it small particles of the mountain,

until now we have
craggy peaks and deep, dark valleys.

They say.

There were no witnesses.

The evidence is circumstantial but compelling.

Exempli gratia: southern West Virginia.

copyright joseph e bird, 2015

Southern West Virginia, Part 1

Clear Fork for web

Southern West Virginia: Hard as the rocks from which its hewn, beautiful as the natural forces that soothe.

I’m working on a piece of creative non-fiction about southern West Virginia.  It’s a different world. More on that another day.

I was in the area yesterday working on a project. Here’s what I encountered.

Above: Clear Fork Creek, deep in Raleigh County.
Below: A railroad trestle far above the road.  It may be part of a future recreational rail trail.
Bottom: A barn clinging to life in the town of Artie.

Trestle for web

Barn at Artie for web

copyright joseph e bird, 2015

Another random paragraph.

He awoke early on Wednesday morning.

He stood in the bathroom assessing himself in the mirror. It had been a very long time since had cared about such things. It had been at least three months since he had had a real haircut and he had quit shaving a month ago. No one at his office cared what he looked like, as long as the work got done. As he had taken to spending more time in the mountains, his appearance had gradually evolved into that of a typical trail monkey. He wore expensive hiking boots, nylon trail pants, and more often than not, cotton flannel shirts.

It was too late to cut his hair. He pulled it back and held it so that it was tight against his head. It made the right side of his face look better, but exposed more scarring on the left side. What he needed was a hairstyle somewhere between his scraggly, homeless look and the buttoned-down lawyer cut. Besides, the only way he could pull off that look now was to bind his hair in the back with a rubber band. And despite everything he had been through, he was not and never would be a pony tail guy.


copyright joseph e bird, 2015

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