Berrien C. Henderson, Author of The Nest Building Habits of Children Inclined to Ornithomancy and Other Such Auguries
by Ellen B. Wright
Tell me a little about The Nest Building Habits of Children Inclined to Ornithomancy and Other Such Auguries. What was the first image or phrase or impetus that made you sit down and spin it out?
Many of my stories simply begin with that ubiquitous, “What if?” “What if in contemporary society there was a subculture of ornithomancers?” So, yeah, it’s high on the weird radar, but that’s right up my alley. The answer really came in the first sentence: “By the time I was four, my father began teaching me the subtleties of reading crow flight — most other birds, too.” Now, that particular sentence came to me while writing a totally unrelated short story. The idea, the image of a father and son, the fragmented memoir of the nameless narrator all gelled so fast for me that I had to stop mid-stream on that other story to write “The Nest Building Habits of Children Inclined to Ornithomancy and Other Such Auguries.” And the sucker spun me out.
Where do you get your ideas?
Finding the fantastic in the everyday. I want to see one of the Fey Folk in the shadows of a few acres of planted pines. See Celtic triptychs swirled in the dust of a dirt road. Watch some crows light in the trees across the road from my property and wonder… The ideas mostly come as images. Sometimes a snippet of dialogue. Again, in this particular story’s genesis, a first sentence. The ones that start with a last sentence are the most fun to me, though.