Monday, August 9, 2010

The Call of a Raven

Birds fascinate me. When I was 5, I patiently snuck up on a small brown songbird, probably a sparrow. I wanted to hold it. I got close enough to run my finger down it's back as it flew off. I don't think I have the patience to do that today. Instead that same trait has manifested itself in my creative process, questing to get things just right even if it means rewriting a piece over and over as I experiment and work towards the perfect combination of elements and structure I’m after.

The other day, while walking, I heard a Raven's gravely voice muttering in a tree somewhere near. It took me about 4 minutes to find him, feather's fluffed, chattering into the branch with a myriad of sounds rather than the regular crawk, crawk they usually make. In fact, one of the neat things about Ravens is that they do have the ability to learn to talk.

The talking raven, Rufus, belongs to a boy named Ben. Ben's searching for his best friend, Wren, whose disappeared under strange circumstances. Awaking in the middle of the night to a noise, he is drawn to the window of his room only to see the bright light a the middle of the meadow wink out. He shivers, fumbling to light the lantern and don his boots. The raven's circling the middle of the meadow distraughtly. Ben runs through knee deep snow torn by the tracks of a caribou herd to where the birds cries pierce the air, arriving at ring devoid of snow and an abrupt ending to the tracks. It's happened again.

The story of Ben and his raven is part of a young adult book which I've not fully written because my ideas are still forming. The book originally began as a short fantasy story I was writing for my children and has since evolved into much more. The story is made up of many distinct pieces and will be told in sections strung together around a staff belonging to a small boy. I have about 3 sections currently done and am still working out the structure.

Note: The photos are of a crow, not a raven, and were both taken in Haines, Alaska - Summer 2007. 


  1. Oh, please go on!
    Jen, of The Lee Dunes, stumbles on a talking parrot, by the way. :D His name is Ran...

  2. Okay, who's Jen of The Lee Dunes?

    Of course I'll go on... this is a book I feel has a lot of potential. I'll send you some if you like.

  3. Yes I like! :D

    Jen (Jenifer Brandeis) is the girl from my "coffee" post. The one who starts the café. The Lee Dunes are the part of the coast where she comes on land (swimming, she was pushed out of a boat) and lives during the story. And it is my working title for the novel as well.

  4. Thanks! Although delightful may not be quite the right word. Because, as I said, all the characters are exiled convicts... And although the place names may sound a bit idyllic, the whole continent is so far unexplored territory! Apart from a few creepy legends...