Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WHAT DO YOU WATCH WHEN YOU'RE WORKING ON YOUR COMPUTER? By Rolynn Anderson


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

9 comments:

andreadowning.com said...

Lovely post, Rolynn. Unfortunately, when I sit at my dining table typing away and look up and see wildlife, I get rather distracted: deer grazing on my hydrangeas, I have to go chase away. Next door's geese or fighting hens (very beautiful multi-colored chickens) browsing around my yard where they're not supposed to be. Another neighbor's cat come for a visit and whinging to be let in. And a chipmunk, settled and happy, peeling nuts and munching away---leaving the shells for me to clear up! I do like the wild turkeys, however--they eat ticks and other undesirables...

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Since we moved across country from California to Wisconsin I am in heaven when I sit at my desk. There is a huge picture window that overlooks a huge law that is bordered by first a row of pine, birch, maples and various shrubs. At this time of the year, the fall colors just about hypnotize me. The best part of this picture is the Tomahawk River that runs the length of our property and on the other side of our variety of trees. I sent a photo to my bosses and they now expect it to be a great inspiration to my muse. It does and I know how truly blessed I am. The river is never ending in changes and hosts a lot of different kinds of birds and wildlife. My favorite so far was seeing eagles circling the water. How could a writer not be inspired with such a view. :)

Susan Macatee said...

I live in the city, but I have a long window on my left side that faces my back patio. From the window I can see our tree. Birds and squirrels are always in and around it. And beyond our driveway is our local dog park. Groups of dogs often frolic in my line of sight. And there's a lot of greenery beyond until the leaves fall.

Jana Richards said...

I'm afraid my view from my desk is pretty uninspiring - I get to look at the wall of my office. But I make up for it by having pictures of my family, my favorite books, and all my writing paraphernalia in my sight line.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Andi, I can see why your novels are full of tension...when you write you see trouble :-)

Paisley, your view is amazing! Seems worthy of a watercolor!

Susan, your patio view sounds wonderful...busy setting, like mine.

Jana, you've got 'people' cheering you on. Great!

Ashantay said...

Enjoyed your post! Thanks for the word picture -

Judy Ann Davis said...

Rolynn,
Enjoyed your post. I actually sit in two places--at the dining room table where I can see the backyard and wildlife and in a small office in the basement where I can stare at my new nineteen-inch computer screen without any distractions... and wish I were upstairs on the laptop. :-)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Ashantay!

Judy Ann, I can see you like activity as you write, as well!

Mona Risk said...

Great post, Rolynn. When I sit on my computer in my office on the 22nd floor, I have a gorgeous view of Fort Lauderdale, the blue of the canals, the red of the houses' roofs, the green of the palm trees. A soothing and inspiring view.