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Writer’s Block? Nevermore!

A black raven on a fence post.

I finished off 2023 at my favorite writing retreat: a trip back home. I returned to my hometown of Peoria, IL, where I was born and raised. It’s where my first creative endeavors were encouraged and nourished. Even though I have no desire to live in central Illinois again, it is an excellent place to visit, reawaken memories, and refresh my muse. 

When I’m home in Tucson, there are many distractions: reptiles to interact with, horses to ride, people to communicate with. Nestled in my cousin Rick’s house, I can concentrate on the words I must write. In Illinois, my writer’s block is nevermore.

Just Like Poe

My maternal grandmother’s surname was Poe, and I am delighted to know I am related to the famous writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. I like to think that perhaps a few of his writing genes might have been passed down to me. At home, to encourage my writing, I have a portrait of a raven created by a local artist, reminiscent of the raven made famous by Edgar.

A framed painting of a raven.

I picked it up at the 4th Avenue Street Fair (look for me there next March, booth #764). I have it placed so that when I feel my mind wandering, a glance will remind me to focus and get to my work! I have sleeping dogs beside me, like at home, but I don’t have a raven to motivate me. 

A poodle mix and boxer cuddle on an ottoman.

Louis and Oreo, my canine cousins

A small tan dog naps on a couch.

My Max

What I do have is a parrot named Paco. I call him Paco Taco. Paco has the gift of gab, which gives me someone to talk to when solitude is too much.

A bright green parrot stands on a perch.

Paco, Amazon Yellow-nape Parrot

To help me channel the spirit of my cousin Edgar, I’ve been trying to teach Paco to say ‘nevermore.’ You may recall that the raven in the acclaimed poem “The Raven” says ‘nevermore.’ I’m convinced my muse would enjoy the stimulation of a bird uttering it to me. So far, Paco has not rewarded my efforts, although he is an excellent conversationalist. I suspect that when I say goodbye at the end of my visit, I’ll call out, “I’ll be back soon!” and he’ll reply, “Nevermore!”

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