Sunday Stories: What’s That Noise?

What’s That Noise?

I kept hearing this loud squawking at dawn every morning and again after dark. I mean, really loud, and I couldn’t tell what bird was causing all the racket.

Finally, I recorded the screeching and tracked down our complex’s maintenance guy, Doug. He was a Florida native and knew all about our local wildlife.

“Doug, there is the loudest bird outside our place,” I said. “Even with the doors closed, I hear him. Listen to this.”

I played my recording, and Doug smiled. “Oh, that’s a limpkin.” (Listen to a limpkin for yourself.)

“A limpkin? Never heard of it.” I knew about egrets, herons, anhingas, ducks, pelicans, and other lake residents, but not this guy.

“Yeah, it’s a water bird, and you’re right. It makes a lot of noise,” Doug said. “They even used the limpkin’s call in old Tarzan movies because of that.”

As the good little student I am, I went home, looked up Mr. Limpkin, and read all about him. Sure enough, limpkins added to the soundtrack as Tarzan swung through the jungle.

At dawn the following day, when the squawking started again, I knew what to look for, and I found him—a two-foot-tall brown bird with white streaks and a long, curved beak used to pull apple snails from their shells.

So, what do limpkins have to do with writing?

Not much. I just felt like writing about this interesting creature when its squawking woke me up this morning.

But, I can find a few things to say, of course.

  • Write what you want, not what you think you should write.
  • Sometimes, our writing needs to be loud and attention-getting like the limpkin. At other times, our words should tiptoe across the page on the way to the next big moment.
  • Cultivate curiosity about the world around you, and it will impact your writing.

Remember, the only way to do this wrong is not to do it at all!

Until next time, happy writing.


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