Shared Stories: Bird Watching

Posted on 29 January 2013

I’m reviving my long-neglected “Shared Stories” category to occasionally share some writing published online that I’ve enjoyed. Today’s selection is “Bird Watching with James Dickey” by Nin Andrews, a short-short nonfiction piece published in Brevity. You can read the entire piece in all its 415-word glory there, but here’s the opening:

My father disliked poetry, and my mother didn’t care for poets. Why? I asked my mother. She said she’d always admired James Dickey, since way back when, as if that explained everything.

Dickey? I asked.

James Dickey, my father said, rolling his eyes. The man who wrote a poem about falling out of an airplane.

What’s wrong with that? I asked.

For crying out loud, he said. Your mother was so excited about James Dickey. That’s why we had a big party for him when he was visiting the university. Everyone came. Members of the English department and literary folks from town. There was the usual drinking and carrying on. But you know your mother isn’t interested in a drink or a crowd. She didn’t hang around.

Read the rest here — Bird Watching with James Dickey — and then turn to Nin Andrews’ comments about her essay. Spoiler alert: William Faulkner falls off a horse.

Are you interested in a drink or a crowd?

Photo: joni-el


5 responses to Shared Stories: Bird Watching

  • Teri says:

    Hmmm. I have an aversion to noise. (interesting, considering I’m fairly loud) But lots of talking and noise and lights and crowds make me want to shut down. I made a secret New Years Resolution to spend less time in large groups or crowds. So far, so good. I haven’t even been been to my book club since October. I’m just saying “no” to groups and large gatherings, for the most part, and vowing to spend more time one-on-one. It’s been a pleasure.

  • Josey says:

    awww…i love that piece. and that it’s nonfiction. something about it being an actual event in time and space the connects marital betrayal to poetic aversions. that is rich.
    thank you for sharing!

  • Catherine says:

    Great piece. I can do drink and a crowd rarely. But I’ll usually end up leaning against a post in a one-on-one about something kooky.

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