you have ever read my bio on my books or my
Website, you would have undoubtedly read a certain line that might have
made you scratch your head. Along with all the usual info about where I
went to school, how many children I have, it also says that I have a
parakeet who thinks she’s a chicken. Perhaps you scoffed at this, what
with me being a writer and prone to gross hyperbole, but, my friends,
this is true.
her in the picture with one of the many eggs she has laid. It all
started about a year and a half ago when I looked inside her cage and
noticed she was acting a little strange, squawking like she was trying
to tell me something. I thought she was sick, but upon a closer look, I
noticed the first egg. Of course, there is nothing viable in the egg,
what with no daddy bird around, at least that I know of, unless there
is some Don Juan bird sneaking in at night. But the likelihood of that
is silly. So my bird is producing these eggs all by herself.
I went to the pet store later
that day and talked to the bird lady.
She explained that this is really quite normal, that it is just for a
season and she’ll stop after a couple of months. She then loaded me
down with extra treats and vitamins, explaining that this time in a
bird’s life is hard on her little body. I cleaned out her cage extra
well, hung the vitamin bar in her cage, gave her a pep talk, and
thought that would be that.
Not my bird. She started laying
one egg after the other, sometimes one a week, sometimes three.
really is pretty pathetic. She is so proud of herself. She lays her egg
and as soon as I walk into the room she jumps up on her perch and tells
me all about it. Then she jumps down onto the floor of her cage and
sits on the egg like any good, proud mama bird. She cuddles her egg and
gently tucks it under her wing until I reach my big old fat hand in
there, snatch it out, and toss it into the garbage. Yikes. But, I have
no choice. It’s just not a ready for prime-time egg. It used to make me
sad, but after the fifteenth time, it became routine to toss the eggs.
And she hasn’t stopped laying.
What the pet store lady said
would be a few weeks has turned into
several months. Leave it to me to have an overachieving bird. Imagine
that, she’s laid all of these eggs and none of them has produced a
chick for her to care for.
Well, being a writer and all, I
decided to draw the obvious writer
analogy between writing and nonviable egg laying. It happens.
it feels like I’ve laid
approximately seven million nonviable eggs over the past few years.
Word by word, egg by egg I’ve persisted pretty much every day, writing
words that I loved and tucked under my wing and cared for until some
giant fickle finger of fate came along and flicked it away. My eggs,
like Bird’s, did not have anything inside that was ready for prime
time. Oh, the shell was there, they looked nice, even sounded nice, but
the guts, the truth, the heart of the matter was missing. But I didn’t
stop producing. I had too. Just like Bird. She can’t help it right now.
They’re inside of her, she has to get them out. Okay, that’s gross but
you get the concept.
Nonviable egg laying is a lot
writing. You put your words out there, they get rejected, but you keep
laying more because one day, one wonderful day, an editor is going to
come along and see your potential. Then she’ll take you and your egg
under her wing and care for you and it, nurturing,
working really, really hard to produce a beautiful new bird that will
soar to the top of best-seller lists, maybe.
And, oh, just
like the bird lady gave me extra vitamins and treats for Bird, treat
yourself from time to time, take your vitamins and keep laying your
Prayers of Agnes
Sparrow has been selected as one of the top five Christian
Inspirational titles of 2009 by Library Journal.