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Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Stefanie Worth

Birds in the Basement

One day last fall I trekked down to my basement office for a good night’s write and found. . . get this. . .a dead bird under my desk.

Oh, yeah. I was instantly creeped out.

My mind immediately searched for myths, superstitions and old wives tales about birds. I knew the sayings were out there, but I couldn’t recall the substance of a single one, save for a deep sense of, “this probably doesn’t bode well.” It shook me so much that I, the Miss Independent New Millennium Do-It-Aller, called my husband down to dispose of the bird. He did it, but not without teasing me about it first.

I took a deep breath, said a few prayers and then set about disinfecting the tiny circular area around the bird spot. We later scoured the basement for an entryway and found absolutely nothing. Weird.

The next morning, as I was leaving to take my daughter to school, my cat got to meowing like crazy and up from the basement flew a very flustered bird. We spent the next 15 minutes chasing it out of the house. The next day, there were two birds flying around the house. We searched again and came to the conclusion that somehow (after all these years in this house) the birds must’ve gotten misdirected and flown into the chimney that now connects to the furnace. Eeek.

Unfortunately, though, the theory was confirmed when the cat got crazy again and led me to a tiny bird body that had apparently come down the chimney, through the connector pipe to the furnace and slide out. Unfortunately, the furnace must’ve been on when it made its trip.

That was the last bird. And since then, I’ve settled down (mentally) over the whole ordeal. But, you know me: I write supernatural stories; reality-based tales with otherworldy twists. They are threaded with essence, spirit and unspoken occurrences.

In reality, I don’t believe that black cats should be blamed for bad days, or that purses left on the floor make you broke nearly as often as overspending does. And except for those creepy crows carrying the West Nile Virus, I don’t think that wayward winged creatures herald death – like the blurb I found about dead birds in a house purported.

Yet, if my mind wasn’t willing to explore these realms, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The Sixth Sense, Hancock, Blade, Anne Rice, Tananarive Due and Dean Koontz would hold no interest for me. But they do. And that’s why writing what I write is so much fun for me. It’s all about the “what it?”

My characters claim skills and abilities the rest of us may not have, but I also empower them to overcome their circumstances and themselves. My supernatural heroines learn to control their actions and their powers and become better people because of their gifts. Then the tale wraps up and we all move on to my next flight of fancy.

For the immediate time being my eyes and imagination are on the lookout for more birds in the basement, or whatever source of inspiration might pass my way today.

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