Monthly Archives: November 2015

Na No No Vember


Historically speaking I’ve always hated November. Everything seems to go poof and all at once it’s dark, cold, and generally cheerless. But NaNoWriMo came to the rescue. It gave me a reason to live in November! All I can say now is TGIO. I won, as they keep reminding me, by the mere fact of having written 50,000 words that will one day, with editing, be a novel. A short novel, to be sure. I do marvel at how they came up with 50,000 words, which if you are quick at mental arithmetic you will know requires 1667 words per day for 30 days. It just so happens that 50k is a magic number, at least for me, and I’ve now done it five times, so I can say that it has repeatable results. Is this statistically valid? Well it’s probably as good as most political polls these days.

Every time, as November wears on it always seems that the story I’m working on gets wrapped up around that magic number of 50k. Most novels are longer; that is my observation, but I presume they took longer to write. I’d heard that there are authors that write 200 words a day. And some that write a huge book in a month, a short one in a week. I guess these are the exceptions, based entirely on unfounded suppositions!

But my point is that having such a project, and it is all consuming, during this otherwise awful month makes November a little brighter, a little lighter, and a lot less depressing. Salutations to all of you who have tried, succeeded or failed. Rest assured that your book will probably not be read by more than five people, but so what? As the NaNoWriMo Pep talks constantly remind us, writing a book is an achievement to be proud of. Who knows why, but that’s what they say. I find it fun, especially now that it’s over.

On to more interesting things, like ducks.

On the 29th I was out for another walk around the pond. I have to admit that November has had more than its fair share of sun this year, so it wasn’t quite as detestable as some years. I was snapping away at birds, as you can see here:

Canada Geese

Canada Geese, eh

some sort of Wren

Bewick’s Wren afaik

my friend Flicker

my friend Flicker

Tommy Towhee

Tommy Towhee

Mildred, Gus and Corporal Cormorant

Gus, Mildred and Corporal Cormorant

Murray the Hooded Merganser

Murray the Hooded Merganser

Nothing rare or terribly exciting here, just the usual crowd. Until I spotted something that was definitely different:

what the??

what the??

It began to swim my way, and I shot a lot of pictures.

what is this?

what is this?

Not something we see every day. In fact we never see this. I didn’t know what it was, except I bet it was a duck. It is a duck. It’s a Muscovy Duck in fact. A Barbary Duck even. But where it came from I have no clue. Maybe it flew in from Mexico, where it occurs in the wild, or escaped from a farm? I doubt I’ll ever see it again, but who can say. Maybe it will stay here for a while, in which case I’ll be posting more pictures.

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck

Let's call it Juan - we live on the Juan de Fuca Strait

Let’s call it Juan – we live on the Juan de Fuca Strait. Or is she Juanita?


Filed under Birds, Books and Short Stories, NaNoWriMo, Photography

Lunchtime for Old Men

1-cafe table

The room was almost empty
I sat down on my chair
Gazing into space
I saw her sitting there

The kitchen had my order
My lunch was on its way
I flipped my lucky quarter
And then I heard her say

“The room was almost empty
I sat down on this chair
Then I saw him enter
He’s sitting over there”

She flipped her lucky dollar
It landed by her plate
Just then our eyes met briefly
As someone yelled out “eight”

I rose to get my order
But something in her eyes
Evoked a distant memory
And then I realized

She was the girl I’d lost
When I was twenty one
We’d had a brief affair
One summer in the sun

I walked up to the counter
My heart began to pound
I thought “at last I’ve found her”
And then I turned around

The room was almost empty
And at the corner chair
I smiled in expectation
But there was no one there

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Filed under Photography, Poetry

Blasted Weather



Windstorms rip the sky
Tearing at clouds
Which, torn
Release the deluge

Once living leaves drift silently
When naked branches quiver
A rotting carpet soon to join
Above them bare trees shiver

Fields of flowers
With nectar sweet
Are now asleep
Their peace they keep

The bee retreats
Within the hive
The shivering mass
Will keep alive

Before the blast
The birds are few
In the bush
They hide from view

But on the tree tops
Can be seen
The golden buds
A future green


Filed under Photography, Poetry, Uncategorized

Avian Nursery Rhyme

Owl and a Cooper"s Hawk

Owl and a Cooper’s Hawk

My Little Raptor

Two brown raptors
Perched on a tree
Looking for a mouse
Quiet as can be
One flew away
The other went to sleep
Two brown raptors
Which one shall I keep?


Filed under Birds, Photography, Poetry

21,413 Words

By Typewriter

Week two and almost halfway there
Halfway pulling a tale from nowhere
Half baked plans with dubious inspiration
Now is the winter of our fermentation

Later to be baked boiled and spiced
Offered on a plate, sliced
Made tasty perhaps if not edible
With a slice of words incredible

The Photo Corner: The Flight Theme

All this seen in less than one hour:1-15-11


Filed under Birds, Photography, Poetry, Typewriters

In Memoriam

Overhead this morning – a reminder of the dark days of a previous generation. Salute to you who fell, and those who lived and suffered. Yet the fighting never ceases. Why is the world so full of insanity?


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Write, Walk, Write; Imagine World Peace

Nanowrimo word count, day 10: 15000 +/-

Nathanguitars NaNoWriMo Studio

Nathanguitars NaNoWriMo Studio

Bizarre coincidence department: I drafted the plot for this month’s novel two weeks ago. Not to give away much, but I swear this is true; I postulated scientists had figured out a way to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. If you’re not yet aware of the science news this week, some doctors here in Canada have just done that. If I could only use this power to do good in the world. Imagine no loud mufflers, no tattooed nose pierced clerks… and world peace!

But to think creatively one must prepare the body for the grueling task of sitting for hours, and this I do by regular swimming and a daily walk around the lake. It is the season for spotting birds, especially since there are so many fewer leaves on trees. I am diligently carrying my camera and telephoto lens, too. Here’s what I saw yesterday.

Coot doing yoga

Coot doing yoga

Hairy Woodpecker pecking

Hairy Woodpecker pecking

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee spotting

And now for something really good:

 The Falcon

The Falcon

If I’m not mistaken this is no mere accipiter, but a falcon, such as Kings and Princes are wont to own, and even take on the plane these days…

gliding - wings wide open

gliding – wings wide open

up high and far away

up high and far away

Correct me if I’m wrong about this “falcon”, please.

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Filed under Birds, NaNoWriMo, Photography