Procrastination in the Time of Quarantine

Procrastination quote: “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” —Mark TwainIn honor of the ongoing stay-at-home order in my state (now extended to May 15!), I bring you procrastination at its finest. And by that, I mean Kate’s List of Best Birds (now updated).

Kate’s List of Best Birds

#1: The Urutaú (Nyctibius griseus, aka Kakuy or Common Potoo)

Topping our list since 2018, this cross between an owl and a hand puppet finds its home throughout Central and South America. It doesn’t build a nest, but simply picks a post or upright trunk and lays an egg. Its finest feature is the self-satisfaction it displays when it tips its head skyward and pretends to be a piece of wood. While it doesn’t have the same spine-rattling moan as its cousin, the Great Potoo, its throaty little whistle is enchanting in its own right.

#2: The King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)

This beautiful scavenger silently judges you from a distance. Noted for his bright face and dignified plumage, he recently auditioned for the role of Hades in Disney’s upcoming live remake of Hercules. You may feel an unsettling desire to hug him, but resist the urge: his beak and talons can tear through human flesh. Like the Urutaú, he lives in Central and South America.

#3: The mockingbird who sings outside my window at night (Songus beautificus)

In a surprise upset, this humble singer rises to the third spot on our list. For the past week he has chirped his feathery heart out for hours on end, surrounded by darkness and an overwhelming desire for a mate. There’s something magical about birdsong at night, and since only the bachelor birds perform these little concertos, I’ll enjoy his musical etudes while I can.

#4 The Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

I mean, “superb” is right there in the name. This Australian native brings new meaning to the practice of mimicry as he struts around his rainforest. His tail feathers, when raised upright, resemble a Greek lyre, but he can also extend them over his head like a useless umbrella. He is currently in contract negotiations with Lucasfilm to provide sound effects for the next wave of Star Wars titles. Well done, little bird.

#5 The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

These unassuming gentlebirds inhabit much of North America, including my local riparian preserve. Smaller in size than their cousin, the Great Egret, they present a delightful, dignified form that includes bright yellow feet and a long neck that disappears when they tuck it close. Almost hunted to extinction in the 1800s they now thrive thanks to protections enacted on their behalf. This fortuitous conservation has enabled them to continue their long-running cosplay contest to see who can best impersonate an albino Frédéric Chopin.

Honorable mentions:

Not All Procrastination

For the record I’ve also added 30K words to my current work-in-progress. That number should be higher, but I’m writing in 1st person POV, which I hate and which requires me to comb over a scene multiple, multiple times to make sure it’s not just talking heads and hand movements.

Hence, procrastination.

Did I mention I hate 1st person? I do. I can’t even stay present in my own brain for more than 5 minutes, let alone a fictional character’s. But, this story wouldn’t be the same in 3rd, so.

Anyway, which feathered friend tops your List of Best Birds?

(If it’s a shoebill, you can show yourself the door, and take that nightmare fuel with you.)

2 Responses to Procrastination in the Time of Quarantine
  1. Jillee says:

    I wish I liked birds more but they freak me out a bit. Last year I saw my cat suddenly perk up while looking at something behind me and turns out a bird was in my room. How it got in I have no idea, but needless to say I’ve been especially put off by birds since. (It pooped on one of my books, which is unforgivable.)

    Personally I need to use this time to finish a manuscript. I keep getting stuck even though I pretty much know what’s going to happen. (The joys of being a perfectionist.) Also hate first person too so I usually write third.

    And because I recently re-read Namesake (it got me out of a reading slump), I must shamelessly ask: is the current WIP the sequel?

    Also just re-read Inge! I think I had only ever read it once but I enjoyed it so much. I have some Scandinavian ancestry myself so it’s interesting to read books inspired by that culture.

    Apologies for the mini-essay length comment. 😀

    • kstradling says:

      Don’t apologize! Mini-essays are welcome here!

      I like birds in the wild, but not in the house. My cat has brought them in a time or two, which is always chaotic, but even caged birds make me melancholy. I just want them to have sky and space. (And I don’t want to clean up after them, obvs.)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Inge and Namesake on repeat readings. That’s one of the best compliments I can get, so thank you. My current WIP is Namesake’s sequel. Or, well, it’s Book 3 because the sequel ballooned out too much to fit into one book. The Book 2 draft is finished and resting. Once Book 3 is done, I think I’ll say farewell to 1st person for the foreseeable future.

      Also, it sounds like we’re comrades-at-arms on the perfectionist front. Good luck with your manuscript!