I’m sitting by a fire on my deck. No, the deck isn’t burning. The fire is nicely contained in a chimnea from Lowe’s, and while it’s an attractive bit of kiln work it isn’t doing a very good job of keeping me warm. It’s dusk, and for some reason there are thousands of cedar waxwings, house sparrows, cowbirds, and starlings flying over me, heading north as if they have somewhere important to be. A bird council, maybe, or a worm and seed buffet.
About a hundred yards away my son Aedan is standing at the base of an old dead white oak trying to snap a picture of a kestrel perched on a high branch. He keeps a journal of bird sightings and always records the time of day, and after a week or so he realized the kestrel shows up every day between 4 and 4:45 p.m. So you see, it’s not so far-fetched that the birds flying over are keeping an appointment.
The things I’m describing are part of the reason I’m writing the Wingfeather Saga. I love to play music. I hope I never have to stop. I enjoy everything from the creative process to the traveling to the concerts themselves, except for one significant thing: leaving my family and my home. It’s true I have some wanderlust. Jamie will tell you I get antsy after a few weeks at home and itch to hit the road for a day or two with the family or the band. But as soon as I’m gone I miss the rhythm of home life. I miss the changes in the color of morning at the Warren. I miss the fluctuation in my children’s moods from giddy to melancholy and everything in between. I miss reading together. I miss a regular quiet time in the morning (it’s really hard for me to keep up with it on the road, when every day is different).
So several years ago I started writing these books not just because I love telling stories, but because I hoped it would lead to more time at home. I hoped it would lead to conversations with my children about Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli Igiby and their search for a place of rest. I hoped I would sink into the routine of my family life in a way that I can’t when every several days I have to pack my bag and catch a plane (which I’m really thankful to be able to do). Well, guess what? I don’t have a single tour date this month. That doesn’t mean I have a month off, mind you. It does mean I’m setting my alarm for the same time every morning. It means I can help Jamie and the kids around the house a little more. It means I can be at church every Sunday. As for work, it means I can climb the hill behind the house every day and light up my imagination, here where my imagination is well-fed. It means I can keep an eye out for that kestrel every afternoon.
Thank you, dear readers, for your letters of encouragement and your many comments after concerts. I aim to try and tell you a great story, and your support of the Wingfeather books is allowing me to give it my best. I’m on chapter 15 of The Monster in the Hollows, and will be Tweeting updates every day, should you care to follow my progress. If all goes as planned, the book will release in mid- to late-April.