Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pterodactyls, Bird-Insect Matings, and Imagination

People often ask me how I come up with stories. I have thought about it, and perhaps the most important thing is to be able to imagine. People say that when one grows up, the power to imagine goes away. That isn’t always true. I don’t know if one has to cultivate imagination, or if it comes to some. Maybe it is that imagination isn’t the issue. It may be the ability to see alternate worlds.

Once as I walked around my garden in March, the azaleas were in full bloom. It is a wonderful Mississippi sight. I stood still so that the hummingbirds flew madly about me, drinking the nectar of the cup shaped blossoms. Suddenly I saw a hummingbird that was different. Instead of a long, thin beak, it had a thread-like protuberance that curled at the end. Instead of feathers, it had an odd sort of fur. I watched it as it flew with the other hummingbirds. It hovered, as they did, and it was then that I noticed that unlike the hummingbirds, it had not two legs, but six or so. I stared speechless for a long time, then I called my friend.

“Yes, I saw it up close. It had to be a cross between an insect and a bird. Uh…yeah, but that’s what I saw. Maybe it is one of those creatures we simply haven’t discovered yet…No, damn it! It’s only ten o’clock. I haven’t been drinking. I saw what I saw. Fine, well, I just thought you’d like to know.” That was my side of the call.

That wasn’t the last creature I saw that was weird. One day. While walking deep in the woods, I heard a horrible screech. From the ground, a strange creature reared up, flapping leathery wings. It was fleshy and had a beak too big for its size. It was indeed, a young Pterodactyl, although my friend swore that it had to be a nestling buzzard. He is no fun at all, but again, I saw what I saw.

When I write, I figure I can use these experiences. At least nobody will say I’m crazy, since after all, it is supposed to be fiction. But dear readers, now you know that the truth is stranger than fiction. Next time I might tell you about the foxfire left by aliens (I did see their hovering ship).

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