singing fun fun fun

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from John Scalzi, reminding me that my Unicorn Pegasus Kitten fanfic is due on Saturday … I'm going to skip the part about how I began to hyperventilate at the thought of actually turning something in to John that people are going to read and OH MY GOD THEY'RE ALL GOING TO LAUGH AT ME AND —

Um. Let's just say that I've been working on it nonstop, so I don't blow the deadline, and I have what Anne calls "Writer brain."

(Witness: "You have writer brain." "Why do you say that?" "Because you just put the cereal in the refrigerator and the almond milk in the pantry." "Oh.")

Anyway, earlier this morning, I was typing as fast as my fingers could keep up with my brain, when my computer did this thing where the screen fritzes once, twice, then looks like something out of Videodrome, then locks up. (This has happened infrequently for a few months, and because I missed my Applecare renewal by one day, I don't have it so … I'm stuck with this until I can afford a replacement. #firstworldproblem.)

Luckily, I'd just saved, so I didn't lose any work. I stood up, sighed, and reset the machine. While it rebooted, I walked across my office and looked out the window just as a hummingbird flew around the side of my house and began taking nectar from of the flowers in the lavender bush beneath my office window.

The window was open, so I could hear the beat of its wings and its tiny voice when it chirped. It darted around the bush, and the sun turned the green feathers on its back almost iridescent. I think I caught a flash of bright red on its breast while BNL's Brian Wilson played on my Sonos.

It was an incredibly peaceful moment, and it calmed my frenzied mind. Though I hadn't planned to take a break from my work, I was glad I did. If I'd been working, I wouldn't have seen or heard it, and I was grateful to be in exactly the right place and time to have that moment.

59 thoughts on “singing fun fun fun”

  1. Darn. When I saw this on twitter I thought you were going to comment on the San Francisco Giants’ Brian Wilson and his orange shoes.

  2. I’m having a mellow day too, just out bumming around, went and sat at the park and just ate a burger…letting my brain re-boot after Woot/Comicon, glad you found your moment too!

  3. Man, I can’t even hear a hummingbird’s wings when its a mere foot in front of me. I guess thats why Im supposed to wear these hearing aide things.

  4. This I like, Sir.
    I’ve been living in New York City for nearly three years (please note that as I type this, I am surrounded by moving boxes and the movers are coming to take it all away in about a week)and have found it very difficult to find those wonderfully mind quieting moments.
    I do recall one day in January when I was in transit my “office” (the Warren St. Dog Run in TriBeCa) with my “client” Jessie (the sweetest of dogs, RIP)trying to avoid throngs of people in wading through the latest snowfall. Amid the crowds and screams of school children, I heard a sound from out of my childhood in Vermont. I stopped in my tracks and looked about until I discovered the source. A ruby coloured Cardinal was sitting in a tree by the schoolyard, singing his wee heart out.
    I looked over to Jessie to see her waiting patiently for me, ears cocked, glossy black coat dotted with snowflakes that had begun to fall, like a night sky or a reverse Dalmatian.
    Moments like those I lived for on my daily walks with Jessie. It made my job less work and more joy.
    Now she’s gone (only two months but it still hurts) and I’m on my way out of the City for good.

  5. I also honed in on the Almond Milk. We love almond milk in my house.
    Also, fear not. If *I* can submit something for the Unicorn Pegasus Kitten fanfic, then surely you can. Pipe down, Voice of Self Doubt! We need some fanfic from Wil!

  6. Ok, I have to admit that I clicked the link expecting a Carnac the Magnificent joke. About halfway through I realized there wouldn’t be one. Good thing, too, because it allowed me to enjoy this little story.
    And, as I sat hear wracking my brain trying to come up with a witty Carnac joke, @ABINextGen knocked it out of the park.

  7. Don’t be worried about your fanfic, Wil. I’m really curious to see what you came up with! Did you guys have to abide by the same 400-2000 word limits we did?

  8. Interesting fact: hummingbird brains account for 4% of their body weight, where-as human brains only account for an average of 2% of our body weight.
    Clearly this means that hummingbirds are evil geniuses.

  9. Yep. That's actually what's killing me. This thing wants to spiral out into its own epic, and we just can't have that.

  10. I can’t believe no one has said this yet: Dare to suck, Wil Wheaton!
    My “full stop man glad I took the break from writing” moments almost always involve my kids. Gods bless them for pulling me out now and again.

  11. I love those moments. Most of mine deal with my cat using my laptop as a pillow while I do stuff on it. When a cat decides to grace you with his presence, you know you’re not doing anything /too/ wrong.
    Also: I love almond milk. I’m a lactard, so it’s an added bonus that I can actually digest it. I love using Ibarra to make hot chocolate. The almond flavor really lends itself to the chocolate. An extra splash of vanilla extract doesn’t go awry either. =)

  12. You’re so zen. Thanks for sharing your zen moments with us.
    I am looking forward to reading your fanfic. On day one, my mind had some lovely ideas and I even made notes. After that, though, it crawled under the couch and refused to come out so there was no writing to be had. *sigh*

  13. Wil Wheaton’s World: “I was grateful to be in exactly the right place and time to have that moment.”
    My World: “And that’s when the swarm of hornets flew in and attacked me.”
    Happy Birthday, Wil!

  14. I don’t know if my experience with the fanfic was like anyone else’s, but I spent a couple of weeks writing it and went through three edits (one beer and sun-fuelled) and still managed to sit bolt upright in bed at three in the morning and shout “dammit, that paragraph didn’t fit!”, after I’d subbed it. So believe me, I for one am in no position to laugh at anyone else’s story (unless I’m meant to, of course).
    I’ve said before, given your narrative non-fiction collections and Ficly entries, I’m really looking forward to reading your fiction work. May the rest of the days between now and the deadline be filled with all the hummingbirds you need.

  15. Very nice–hummingbirds are awesome and I can’t wait to find out what you did with your UPK story. Have a great birthday tomorrow–it’s my son’s eighth birthday as well, and perhaps we will celebrate by watching some ST:TNG.

  16. Wil, I hope that you realize you are living in the “Golden Age of Wil Weaton” and we all hope that things keep getting better and better for you. If you could start a singing career you would hold the world in the palm of your hands. I think the hummingbird was a sign.

  17. Wil, not sure you like being told you mis-typed, but this line – “began taking nectar from of the flowers” is missing a word. I think you can figure it out.. not trying to be nitpicky, just something I noticed.

  18. Wil, I hate to say it.. but I think a solution to your problem may be Ubuntu.
    I’m also going through writer brain at the moment – the final project of my masters is due this friday (well not really, but I have family here from NZ and… I’m going to GENCON and playing Battletech for four days straight….)
    Anyways. I know what you’re going through – I’m having major issues with my paper :S

  19. I must second, third or fourth the almond milk…one of the few leftovers from my days as a vegan. I’m sorry to say I rejoined the Dark Side some years ago, but I do catch myself waving at the tofu hot dogs in the supermarket now and then like they are lost and not quite forgotten old friends.
    Speaking of hummingbirds…aren’t they the only bird that can fly backwards as well as up and down? I’m surprised there isn’t an Evil Hummingbird of Death in DnD that has the ability to drain your life and an AC of -10 due to it’s amazing ability to fly around like they do…?
    Yikes…I think that writer brain is contagious or something…:0

  20. Hehe, I sometimes swap things and I’m not even a writer.
    This was another of those glimpses into your life that are just random things that can happen any day but the way your bring them across make them really entertaining.
    Thanks for brightening my day once again.

  21. Knew that we shared a birthday, didn’t know that we shared it with NASA (memories of being a NASA geek at space camp in the 80’s). SWEET! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  22. We are lucky to have a hummingbird nest in our back yard. They are magical little darlings aren’t they, we can usually hear them singing when the cicadas are not so loud. “sigh”
    Bring your laptop in to the Apple Store, it may be a known issue. :)

  23. Yep, nature is pretty awesome. Happy Birthday. Hope you have the best day ever! I also look forward to reading your story. I will be celebrating the specisl day with Standby me and some star trek, then re-watch All the Rage. I might also watch Toy Soldiers but not sure I want to see you get shot on your B-day. Hope you have a great day.

  24. Maybe this post should have been called “Revenge of the PC” 😉
    Forgot that its your birthday! That makes 5 birthdays I can think of between the 26th and 31st.
    Growing up everyone I knew had birthdays in January February, or March (maybe a couple of May’s 😉

  25. My husbands laptop was having the same kind of problem and apple fixed it last week for free. Worth checking with the geniuses.
    And I love hummingbirds! I got a feeder for my birthday a couple weeks ago and I will take a break and sit in my kiddie pool in the yard and sometimes see them feeding on my wildflowers or the feeder. So cool!!

  26. My mother the novelist (published since 1982 and twelve books to her credit!) was verily amused with Writer BrainTM. Reminded me to put a request on the shopping list for ingredients to Deadline Stew…a longtime staple in this household.

    love reading your blog posts Wil, can’t think of one that didn’t cause me to smile or chuckle. keep up the excellent work.

  28. Happy birthday to you and me and ccobos’s son and NASA and Chewygizmo75 and Tim Gunn and Benito Mussolini. It’s a great day!
    Hope this year is light on gdmf bulldozers.

  29. This reminds me so much of my favorite Henry Miller quote that I’m going to post it here:
    When you find you can go neither backward nor forward, when you discover that you are no longer able to stand, sit, or lie down, when your children have died of malnutrition and your aged parents have been sent to the poorhouse or the gas chamber, when you realize that you can neither write nor not write, when you are convinced that all exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird. The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were too busy searching elsewhere to realize it. The worst is not death but being blind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous.

  30. A very cool moment with the Humming Birds. I totally understand about having the Writers Brain. Mine causes me to loose track of a conversation as the suddenly brilliant solution appears when I am far from my desk.
    BTW I found one solution in my current spec novel was to imagine Wil Wheaton playing the part of Raj Stein, after I did that the character’s voice just fell into place. You’ll be happy to know that means in my head you’re playing lots of scenes with Brent again.

  31. I love how life throws these moments at us. You really want to be pissed about whatever went wrong, but then the awesome shines on it, and you end up all “Dawwwww”.
    Keep up the awesome, Wil. It’s always a pleasure to read your stuff. Oh, and Happy Birthday!

  32. Happy Birthday Wil!
    Almond Milk to make your chai, anyone?
    Writer Brain is rather painful to experience. Hilarious to watch. I should get paid for how entertaining I am.
    And mega thanks for not letting yesterday’s format remain. I don’t know in what Universe that belonged but it sure wasn’t this one. Not that I am opposed to change. But change without purpose/reason/warning is a bit much to take. Plus it was too sterile and not really the you that we know. Just saying.

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