I’ve read about WHEN, during the day, you are most productive on the computer, and I’ve learned which ones of you listen to music while you work, but I’ve don’t know what you SEE while you're on the computer. I’ll tell you about my VIEW, then you tell me yours.
For three hours in the morning, I write, sitting at my desk facing a window into my fruit orchard (ten trees). I look directly at a big orange tree and a struggling grapefruit; plum and apricot trees to my right. I stock two bird feeders with sunflower seeds, which brings the finches, twenty at a time. Towhees, Oregon juncos, swallows and pigeons root around on the ground for food, and a troop of thirty quail march through at around 8:30 a.m., snacking on leftovers. A brown bunny with a white tail, has joined this morning crew; favorite food: fallen apricot tree leaves. A devoted pair of white doves show up, to forage and flirt. Hummingbirds hover over the purple flowers of my Mexican Sage bush, pulling nectar from the blossoms. These birds and bunnies coexist; quarrels about position and power occur within species but not across species. The bunny is as big as the quail, but they ignore each other. Exceptions: when the scrub jay muscles in, other birds move aside to let the jay have access to both bird feeders, even if he’s too big to stand on the structures for long. A bigger kerfuffle occurs when a red tail hawk swoops down. Every bird and bunny disappears, hiding until both the hawk and his shadow are gone.
You may wonder, with all this activity, how I get any writing done. Oddly enough, I enjoy writing and observing at the same time. In fact as the birds fly in and out, fighting for position on the bird feeders, their activity energizes me to keep writing. When I see how busy they are at the job of finding food, I get busy putting words on the page. The conflict and one-upmanship in the orchard reminds me of the tension I must include in every single scene. Once in a while, all the animals disappear for minutes at a time…that relief of tension exists in nature as well as in my books. Where did they all go for no apparent reason? On occasion, a distracted bird will hit my window, scaring me and the bird. My heart skips a beat as does the poor finch’s. He’ll stand on the concrete sidewalk, waiting for his head to clear and I’ll hold my breath, in sympathy. When he flies away, I'm relieved. And yes, once, before my eyes, a scrub jay downed a finch and pierced the finch’s belly with his beak, killing him. The surprise. The horror! The stuff of my novels.
So I ask you. What do you watch when you work at your desk, and how does what you see affect your work?
By the way, birds play a big part in my soon-to-be-released novel, FEAR LAND. While you wait for that story, here’s LIE CATCHERS, a double mystery, spiked with romance: http://amzn.com/B00HJDS1LG
My Website: http://rolynnanderson.com/