The Owl and the Story

A great horned owl visited our house in Colorado over the past couple of weeks. He would arrive at sunrise and spend the day high above in a pine tree near the rear fence, facing the winter sun as it crosses the sky, with a view of Cheyenne Mountain to the west. Not wanting to disturb him, I snapped this hazy picture from my doorway. As you can see, much of him is hidden and his face is a mystery. What does this have to do with writers and their stories? Like the owl, sometimes the inkling of a story alights, unexpected. And like the photograph, much is concealed. Where did this owl come from? Is the nearby mountain his hunting ground? Why did he visit and will he come back? I don’t know. Much like story ideas. As Neil Gaiman once said: “I don’t know myself where the ideas really come from, what makes them come, or whether one day they’ll stop.” I certainly hope Gaiman’s ideas don’t stop. Or mine. As to the owl, I named him after that other great hunter who nightly crosses our winter skies. And like new story ideas, I hope my Orion returns. #thewritinglife

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