12 February 2009

Robins: Cure for Writer's Block

Gerald Warner recounts with nostalgia a wintry day three decades ago:
More than thirty years ago, I was living in a house beside a wood which consequently was rich in birdlife. One winter we had a blizzard-status snowfall similar to the present conditions. I was sitting on a grey afternoon working on a book (writer's euphemism for staring despairingly at a blank page - in those days a book was a foolscap and fountain-pen job) and glanced out of the window for inspiration.

Perched on a cherry tree heavily coated with snow was a robin, staring at me through the window. In that moment I realised I could make the historic breakthrough in English letters of which I had always dreamed: to the canon of pencil-sharpening, watch-adjusting, paper shuffling and coffee making with which writers have traditionally postponed the evil moment of putting words on paper, I could add a genuine innovation: feeding a hungry robin.
The rest.